TIP 1) Have empathy
Customers will always have questions and you must show empathy towards them and be able to answer them and provide a high level of service no matter how simple the question might be.
TIP 2) Keep improving your customer service techniques
Every customer encounter will not be the same. Keep your skills up-to-date so that you are able to handle any unexpected surprise and assist any challenges that a client may have.
TIP 3) Do your customers understand you?
Miscommunication can be awful for your company, so it is very important that your customers understand what you are telling them. Imagine a situation where your client thought he was getting a discount of 15% when actually they were getting 15% more at the same price. This small miscommunication could lead the customer not buying the item at all.
TIP 4: Go the extra mile.
Your customers will appreciate you more if they feel that you are going the extra mile to solve the issue that they have. This could mean simply taking the time to listen to them and fully understand the issue that they have. You’ll be surprised at how many people just need someone to talk to.
TIP 5: If you don’t know, don’t say you do.
There will be many times in your career where you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer to and the worst thing that you could do is tell the customer you understand the issue when you don’t have a cooking clue what they are talking about. Your clients rely on your advice and so don’t be afraid to tell your customers you don’t know the answer to their specific issue but also use this as an opportunity to use Tip #4 by offering to go and find out how to solve the issue.
TIP 6: Be prepared for unhappy customers.
In any customer orientated service you need to be prepared for the unhappiest of unhappy customers. The customer may not always be right but their happiness is always the company’s goal because a happy customer generally means more sales. You need to be able to swallow your pride and control your emotions whilst the customer is having their moment. If they are being completely unreasonable, don’t lose your temper, politely explain your side of the story to them and explain what you are able to do for them and if all else fails don’t be afraid to politely end the conversation or call your manager if needed.
TIP 7: Pay Attention to what’s going on around you.
Negative customer experiences are an opportunity for you to improve that customer’s viewpoint of your company but a missed negative customer experience can destroy your company’s relationship with that customer. Pay close attention to what is going on around you and keep an eye out for clients who look like they need assistance.
TIP 8: Show interest in your customers
Building relationships with your customers are one of the fasted ways to secure repeat business for your company. Ask question to build common ground and discover if you have any shared interest. By showing more interest in them and not just wanting the sale is an easy way to add value to their shopping experience.
TIP 9: Listening, Listen, LISTEN.
Making sure you understand the customer’s problem is key to solving their issue. Listen to what they are saying and don’t be afraid to ask questions related to their issue to help you better understand them. You can, for example, repeat the problem to them to gauge that you both are understanding the same problem by saying something like “I’m really sorry that you are experiencing the issue with the remote not switching off your T.V. and I can understand why this is a problem.” This will show the customer that you have listened to them and also care about their problem.
TIP 10: If it’s your fault, admit it.
We are not always going to be able to get it right all the time so if you have made a mistake the best thing to do is admit the mistake to the customer as well as having a solution to the mistake that you have caused. By doing so you will be able to take control of the situation as well as build a level of trust and your customer will be able to rely on you to be open and honest with them. Always keep in mind that you might lose the customer because of the mistake. So learn from the mistakes you’ve made and ensure not to do the same in the future.
TIP 11: Follow-Up even if the problem is already solved.
Just because the problem was solved doesn’t mean that you forget about it and move on with your day. Following up with your customer will help you ensure that the issue is completely resolved and that they are happy with the service they received. Following up with your customers even after the fact will let your customers know you care.
TIP 12: If you know the answer, use it.
Your customers want help and many customer service agent will send the customers to FAQ pages or send them automated emails. Take advantage of what you know and if you know the answer to the question the customer has to tell it to them as well as offering the above as added value or detail. Also using the power of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow you to not only respond in real time when your customers post on your page or site but to also proactively provide solutions to by displaying pictures or supplying contact information of people who can assist with certain issues.
TIP 13: Be Reachable
If you have ever called the helpline on the label of the product you are experiencing an issue with and instead of a real person on the other line instructing you to press 1 and then press 2 and then 3 and then after some time offers you the option of speaking to a customer service agent by pressing 0 and instead of someone answering the phone they play elevator music in your ear until just before you hang up someone answers, listens to your problem and says “Sorry sir/mam, but this is not the right department to solve this issue, I will just transfer your call to the right department”. By this time you are totally fed up, so you just hang up the phone and never buy a product or service from them again as well as possibly telling all your friends about it.
The lesson is, be reachable. Answer the call/message/complaint in a timely manner to ease the customer’s frustration and solve the problem before they leave for a different company supplying the same product.
TIP 14: Treat your clients well.
Everyone loves to be treated special, having the needs met and problems solved. Build a list of your most regular clients and offer them VIP services. Remember their birthday, build a relationship with them. Make them feel like a family member to your business and they could end up buying more or promoting your business to their inner circles.
TIP 15: Community is key
All the biggest superstars in the world have a huge fan base supporting them, promoting them and of course buying their products and services. So if you want to grow your company the best thing to do is grow your community. You can do this by making them feel you care more about them than the money they spend in your store, by building a relationship with them and remembering that the small things really matter. Arranging an event to thank your customers, engaging with them online through webinars, live videos, instant messaging services and engaging with them at trade shows. You will be surprised how much you can learn about improving your business to better suit their needs.
TIP 16: Your team's happiness REALLY matters.
Whilst you are focusing on making your customers happy the worst thing that you could do is forget about how you are treating your customer service agents and their level of happiness. Remember that a happy staff will be more enthusiastic to assist your clients, but if your staff feel that your company does not care about them in return they are more inclined to shy away from going the extra mile for your clients. You need to ensure that they have a positive working environment with opportunities to grow within the company and have the correct resources available to them to complete the job.
TIP 17: Collect the right feedback
The ultimate loss for your company is collecting feedback on areas that you already know that you are doing well in. To improve the level of service that you are offering to your clients you need to ask clients about their overall experiences and which part of their consumer experience was the lowest scoring area(s). Use the resources you have in hand to distribute questionnaires and surveys to your customers because it will be impossible to meet with all the clients in person.
TIP 18: The little things matter
Finding ways to delight your customers with a handwritten thank you note. You will be surprised at how much delight is generated when your customers receive a personalised note that has been handwritten. Taking the time out of your day to do this will definitely deepen the connection you have with your clients. For your VIP clients, you can add a gift card or coupon to the local coffee shop.
Do you know any other tips to increase the performance of your customer service? We'd love to hear from you.