Today’s savvy customers not only want excellent service, they often expect it. Customer service was the main quality focus of growth and improvement for companies in the last few decades, which is why many now expect it. Companies can lose customers over bad customer service and may retain customers who feel treated respectfully. How well customer service works depends greatly on the attitude and training of company human resources, even those not in the service areas. Below are a few ways everyone can improve their customer service skills and attitudes.
- Always smile when speaking with the customer, whether in person or on the phone. Smiling lifts your attitude and the positive ness can be heard in your voice.
- Greet customers by saying hello, giving them your name, and asking them how you can help.
- Whenever possible, be empathetic. Let the customer know you understand their feelings and want to be of help in solving their problem.
- Be sure to ask for their name so you can call them by it when responding. This makes the conversation seem more one-on-one friendly rather than combative. If you are on the phone, get their phone number too in case you become disconnected or need to do research. With their phone number, you can call them back if necessary.
- If you must put a phone customer on hold or your computers are down, let them know how long the hold or downtime might be. If it will be more than a couple of minutes, you should give them the option of holding or having you calling them back when you have completed your research or when the computers come back up. The customer may choose to call you back, but never tell them that is what they must do. Be sure to call them back in the stated timeframe even if it is only to say you still do not have an answer. Lack of communication is often more frustrating for a customer than having to wait a little longer for results.
- If the customer is angry or determined to complain, stay calm and don’t take their criticism personally. Ask questions so you can get to the root of the problem or issue. However, do consider their criticism as suggestions for future improvement of your company processes and services.
- If you do not have an answer for the customer, do not make something up. Instead find someone who can give you the correct answer. Customers don’t like being lied to or patronized.
- Find the best way to resolve the problem and satisfy your customer without having to go through multiple levels of approval or breaking any rules. Multiple levels of approval only slow the process down and do not help the customer, so avoid them whenever possible. However, if you must get an approval, let the customer know the process and how long it may take and exactly when they can expect a result. You can often go the extra mile for the customer without breaking any rules or going against written policies.
- Once the customer’s problem is resolved, ask if you can be of any help with anything else. Be sure to thank the customer before saying goodbye.
- Always remember the golden rule is the best rule of thumb for customer service “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
These are simple ideas to improve customer service skills and attitudes in employees. It is important to always remember that customers today expect excellent customer service and will go where they can find it. Companies lose customers over bad service. So offer great service instead to help retain customers.