A late response to an email inquiry, a lack of product knowledge of a store employee, putting customers on hold for long, can result in losing a potential customer. The economic crisis we are in today does not allow us to lose a single customer regardless of their purchasing power. Negative buying experiences are linked with shoddy customer care, most of the time.
Good customer service is the essence of any business. It is the one factor that can take it to heights or shake it to the ground. Many companies claim to put their customers first although a company offering good customer service is rare to find these days. You can do as much marketing as you want to and well marketing does bring you customers but retaining them, depends largely on customer service.
The core of good customer service is forming a bond with customers – we have a saying in Advertising that customers never invest money in products or services, they always do in emotions and that is what we should sell. Borrowing the words of Charles Revson, cosmetics magnate and founder of Revlon, “In the factory, we make cosmetics. In the store, we sell hope.”
To form an emotional bond with your customers, you must always remember that your worth will always be judged by what you do and not what you say when it comes to customer services. Customer service representatives are the company’s ambassadors in the true sense and can be credited as the front line soldiers if we talk military.
It has been noted that customers tend to discuss their negative experience on social media eight times more than a positive experience. Therefore, it is important to understand that when the competition is this fierce, experience is everything.
A provider with an incomparable customer service unit always stands out. Let’s take the telecom industry as an example here. Telecom is over brimming with the amount of competition offering great products and services but customer service has perhaps become the crucial, deciding factor. For instance, you can explore localcabledeals.com to find out amazing customer support for any ISP you want to talk to.
Here are the golden rules of great customer service that best companies follow for continued revenue generation and customer retention.
TAKE PHONE CALLS THE RIGHT WAY
The first rule you need to know about good customer service is answering your business phone with poise and knowledge. Make sure that your customers do not have to wait for long to talk to a customer rep or are put on long holds. Maintain professionalism and focus on training that helps you and your staff become proficient in handling phone calls.
NO HASTY PROMISES
Make it your life principle to never rush into promising anything without giving it a proper thought. It becomes even more important during customer interaction. Many customer reps make promises to get out of tough situations and to relax the customers but you should never make promises that you cannot keep.
Rushing through situations is as bad as it sounds and if you try to diffuse a situation without understanding it fully, it may backfire. If you are invested in resolving customer issues, let the customer talk and listen intently, respond appropriately while letting him/her vent, and then look forward to resolving the issue.
INVEST IN EMPLOYEE TRAINING
For managers and business owners, it is very important to realize how much help employee training can provide for business growth. Your employees are your biggest assets and investing in their skills would be in your favor, ultimately. You grow when your employees grow and therefore, you should hold staff training sessions ensuring that they know what you expect and how customer service can be bettered.
GO THE EXTRA MILE
Be helpful to your customers regardless of their stature and purchasing power. If a customer asks for your help to find something, don’t just tell him/her where they can find it but lead the customer to the item. This will develop trust in your service and the extra effort you just put in will benefit your company in the long run.
PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE IS A NECESSITY
Accurate product knowledge and the right understanding to convey it results in winning the confidence and trust of your customers. You should be aware of your company’s products, services, and policies to educate the customers properly. This can also be covered through employee training.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS
Every company has a target market with designed demographics and behaviors. You need to learn your customers to anticipate their needs and wants. Listening to customer complaints and taking feedback generally helps you figure their buying habits as well.
Customers make an impression of the company by every interaction they have with it, be it an email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting. A smile goes a long way, even on call. Courtesy and patience are the two base elements of good customer service. Always use soft phrases like thank you for choosing u, we are delighted to have you as a customer, sorry to keep you waiting, and it has been a pleasure helping you.
YOUR PRIME FOCUS SHOULD BE THE CUSTOMER AND NOT THE SALE
Sales personnel generally go for profits instead of customers and that is a bad practice. You need to remember that retaining a customer’s business is more valuable than closing a sale. Research advocates that attracting a new customer costs six times more than retaining an existing customer.
CUSTOMER ISSUES ARE BASIC OPPORTUNITIES
Nobody wants people yelling in their face and it is certainly easy to let annoyed customers go away but should we do that? Never. Customer service recovery is of the key elements in customer retention and by following the HEARD method, you can get loyalty out of upset customers.
H – Hear, E – Empathize, A – Apologize, R – Resolve, D – Diagnose
MAKE IT EASY FOR THE CUSTOMERS
A study reveals that the priority of any customer’s loyalty is reduced effort which means the lesser the need to work to get something, the more loyal they are. You should make your customer’s lives easy by working according to their needs and preferences to earn their loyalty.
SOME MORE TIPS
We have put together a few basic tips that a customer rep should know for better customer service.
- Always commit to quality service
- Never disagree with a customer
- Keep your response time short
- Give your customers the benefit of doubt
- Communicate properly and in a clear manner
- Use the name of your customers
- Be professional at all times
- Be calm when working under pressure
- Be confident and maintain a positive attitude
- Read the customer and negotiate
- Be empathetic
- Throw in a little extra
- Take feedback seriously
A customer experience report of 2011 assembled by Oracle suggests that almost 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. It is important for companies and professionals to recognize the importance of customer service. We hope that the points covered in this article will help you better your customer support unit.