Everyone can remember a time when they've received great customer service. Whether it was the clerk that was extra helpful or the hotel personnel that went above and beyond, we've all experienced it. Unfortunately though, the bad customer service is usually remembered more easily.
In the pursuit of great customer service, several dos and don'ts should be followed:
Do: Anticipate Their Wants and Needs
Rather than merely listening to your customer's needs, a business needs to understand their unexpressed wishes and anticipate their next step. Staying one step ahead of them-- literally giving them what they didn't realize they needed-- is how you will stand apart from the rest. This builds outstanding connection with your customer and makes them feel like you really, truly value their business (Forbes). They will want to return, and what's even more, they're going to tell their friends all about your customer service.
Do: Show Genuine Interest
If you have not heard it yet, here it is: customers want to feel appreciated and they value a genuine connection. If your customer service staff can develop, support and manage relationships with your customers, then you're gold! One way for you to develop the connection and make them feel special is by genuinely caring about what they're telling you. Listen to them whine, show sympathy, laugh when they laugh and do not be afraid to get personal (Inc.com). Something as minute as remembering the name of their granddaughter or asking about their last vacation to Hawaii will help solidify your relationship.
Digitally speaking, doing this well means using social media to engage in a conversation and being open and transparent online! Your online customer service is as important, if not more so than the face-to-face interactions. At the root of it all, the customer wants to feel that they're spending their hard-earned dollar on a business that appreciates them!
Do: Have the Answers and Deliver
While it's up for debate on whether customers are always right, the fact of the matter is, you are the expert and not your customer. You should always have the answers and be able to deliver. That is why product and service knowledge is the most vital skill a customer service rep can possess (Digitalist).
If you don't have the answer, try your best to find it out or point the customer to somebody who can answer their questions. Avoid saying the words, "I don't know" at all costs. Keep in mind, you're the expert. Having the answers and providing them quickly and respectively will build trust and confidence in your customer.
Don't: Limit the Customer
Customers hate to hear the word, "no." It's a fact of life. Though it's not always possible to say "yes," best practice dictates that you should be as flexible and accommodating as possible for your customers (Customer Service Manager).
If there's one thing a customer hates to hear more than "no," it's that something is "company policy." Why? First of all, the customer likely doesn't care what your company policy is. Second, they do not see you as a customer service provider following policy, but instead the company as an entity restricting them from getting what they want. Another reason this is such a big no-no is that it's like placing a big barrier in the conversation. With both you and the customer at a loss for what to say, the communication (and possibly the relationship) is ultimately squelched.
Don't: Make Things Overly Complicated
A good general rule to follow is that getting help and service should not be more painful than the problem itself. Behold! The wonders of a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page! If this isn't really your style, and as a necessary fall back, the next step is to make your customer service team extremely accessible. You know what they say: a quickly diffused customer service issue keeps the negative reviews away. Right?
Speaking of which...
Don't: Dismiss Feedback or Complaints
Feedback, no matter its form, is always a plus. Who better to hear from than the customers who are truly the lifeline of your business?
Embracing the good, the bad and the ego-deflating will ultimately help you to strive for better in the long run, we guarantee. You'll be able to understand your customer better, recognize and solve your pitfalls and grow bigger and better (MinuteHack)! So, the next time a customer wants to give you their feedback, do not brush it off, but rather see it as a chance to improve.
Good customer service will always be a crucial part of a business. It's your customer's first point of contact with your business and enables them to connect and develop trust with your business or brand. In today's world, delivering excellent customer service is sometimes more effective than any advertisement could be!
Abide by these customer service dos and don'ts so people mention you for all the right reasons.