How to Make Sure Your Staff Can Deliver Great Customer Service
Customer service can make or break a business. No matter how wonderful your product or service may be, you won’t succeed in the long run if your customers are unhappy with the way they’re treated. Your staff members are the public face of your company. When you train staff to deliver great customer service, you’re backing up your product with human interactions that will keep customers coming back.
Crucial Skills for Good Customer Service
Good customer service is more than just giving the customer a quick answer. It takes plenty of flexibility and skill. An ideal customer service provider will have all of the following characteristics:
-Strong and consistent work ethic
-Great communication skills
-Flexibility under pressure
-Ability to adapt to circumstances
-Thick skin in difficult situations
Every employee who works with customers should make an effort to build these skills. In a small company or a family-owned business, all of the employees may have regular contact with customers. They can create a more successful workplace environment by learning to deliver great customer service.
Have a Plan Before the Phone Rings
Quality customer service starts before the phone rings. (In today’s business environment, customer service issues are just as likely to arise via email, an online form or even a text message, but let’s stick with the good old-fashioned image of a phone call for now.) Before the customer even comes into contact with you, have a plan in mind. Decide what your priorities are, and think about the possible ways in which you might be able to help customers resolve their issues.
Start making your plan by asking yourself these questions:
-Who will deal with the customer’s problem
-Do you have the tools you need to resolve commonly occurring customer service issues
-If not, how quickly can you delegate to someone else who has the tools
-Are you willing to make the customer your first priority until the problem is resolved
Make the Customer Your First Priority
An important principle for the business that wants to deliver great customer service is to make the customer’s issue the first priority. When someone calls with a complaint or a concern, you should be willing to drop whatever you’re doing and address the problem. Of course there are occasionally real emergencies when this isn’t a practical thing to do, but the normal rule should always be to put the customer first. Many customer service issues are urgent, delicate or time-sensitive. By keeping the customer or client waiting, you may make the problem even more difficult to solve.
Accepting an interruption can be hard during a busy time, but it almost always leads to less work in the end. By teaching your staff to prioritize the customer’s needs over their own, you can help them decrease the amount of stress they experience in the long run.
Don’t ïPass the Buckï Unless Necessary
Another principle of good customer service is efficiency. Don’t make the customer state his or her complaint multiple times to multiple people. Phone trees, email systems and other channels of communication should be arranged to get the customer directly to a person who can answer the question or solve the problem.
When each member of your staff has the training and the knowledge to address common issues without a referral or callback, you save time for everyone. The ïone-callï rule can give you a crucial edge in the quest to deliver great customer service every time. ïPassing the buckï can cause frustration for all the people involved in a customer service issue. Sometimes it’s necessary to direct a customer to a specific person who is qualified to answer a specialized question, but the direct approach is best in many cases.
Work on Improving Each Customer Interaction
Good interactions with customers can take a lot of work. Even employees with excellent people skills can find themselves overwhelmed by difficult clients or complex customer service situations. By paying attention to what happens during a customer service call, you can help make the process easier.
Communication between clients and staff is also an important piece of the puzzle. Every customer service interaction should include a way for the client to follow up. This can take place via email or a web survey. Honest feedback is a great way to improve your track record and deliver great customer service.
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