From running a multibillion-dollar company to running a quarter-acre backyard farm for commercial purposes, the subject of customer service as a necessary tool for success in business cannot be overemphasized. Having outstanding success in customer satisfaction has become a landmark for millions of businesses, whether multinational or local.
The whole intent of customer service
Customer service is important to the growth and profitability of any company. The whole intent of Customer Service goes beyond providing quality service, to becoming the foremost in customers’ thoughts. This can be achieved by showing extra care such as being friendly, flexible and ensuring that the customer is very satisfied with the service provided. Doing this ensures continued success, increased profits, general employee satisfaction, and fulfillment as well as customer satisfaction. Excellent customer service results in consumer satisfaction, returning customers and business growth while poor customer service results in a lack of returning customers and plummeting business.
Three Key Factors in Customer Service You Can’t Do Without
- Expand your definition of service
Customer service should not only be seen as an exchange or trade but also be a way to solve problems that brings satisfaction and happiness to customers.
- Understanding customer needs
This involves knowing what customers need and helping them have a better understanding of your services. Customers usually would want to pay for a quality service, but they would also love to be cared for, understood and provided for. The skill of customer service is to have the ability to find out what the customer wants and provide that.
- Develop a customer friendly approach
The “The customer is always right” approach is vital to having successful customer service. This means that we see customers as the most important part of our job. Two main tasks of successful customer service relations are to communicate effectively and develop relationships.
Win more customers by exhibiting these qualities
Customers consciously or unconsciously grade customer services received based on several qualities. Among them, these 5 are vital to succeed in customer satisfaction:
- Friendliness – ability to be courteous and polite
- Empathy – ability to understand the customer’s frustration or challenge with the service/product
- Fairness – ability to give adequate attention to the customer and be fair to their needs
- Control – Ability to make the customer feel their suggestions are welcome and have an influence on the outcome of decisions made regarding their complaints/challenge
- Information – ability to be detailed in response to customer questions.
Additionally, successful customer service requires that Customer Service Executives have in-depth knowledge of products and services to provide answers to whatever questions customers might ask. Managers and supervisors must learn to empower their employees by giving feedback on products and services, updates and the like; after all, good information is equally good service.
Helpful Customer Service Techniques
- Make a good impression on customers by developing a rapport within the first 30 seconds of interaction
- Create positive impressions by being thoughtful towards the needs of the customer, using a pleasant tone and using the customer’s name in a conversation and quickly solving the customer’s problem.
- Avoid creating negative impressions by making the customer wait unnecessarily, not saying please or thank you, and speaking in a condescending tone.
- Be prompt in responding to customer queries. Emails should be answered within 24 hours. Another great way to find out about your competitor’s response to clients would be to send emails and gauge their response rate.
- Avoid phrases that anger customers like: “I don’t know”, “it’s not my fault”, “calm down, that’s not my job” – these tell the customer you’re not on top of your game.
Tips for handling difficult/unsatisfied customers
- Express remorse
- Don’t argue or lose self-control
- Point out facts in the issue
- Admit the problem
- Suggest alternative solutions
- Follow up on solutions
- Give the customer a way out, especially when they are wrong
- Don’t question the customer’s correctness
Some techniques in problem-solving
- Listen without interruption
- Don’t argue or be aggressive
- Thank the customer for drawing attention to the issue and helping to solve it
- Express full understanding
- Ask necessary questions to get complete information and a completed picture of the situation
- Find out exactly what the customer needs you to do for them
- Explain what you can do and gently add what you can’t
- Discuss all options in details and decide on what option to go for
- Immediately undertake what was discussed
- Check results to make sure the customer is completely satisfied
Winning the heart of the customer should be the focus of every business seeking to grow and attain success. Letting your customers know you are really concerned about the wellbeing of their business as much as yours is also one way by which you can get customers to review your products and services for free.
These tips above are in no way exhaustive but are key to ensuring that there is a constant inflow of new customers, existing customers are retained and happy ultimately leading to a win-win situation for both the customer and the business.