10 Steps to Improve Customer Service

Businesses are constantly looking for the answer to improve their relationships with their customers and the answer is often obvious and overlooked – improve your customer service.

When asked what skill is the most valuable in customer service, most people will say “being a people person”. But what exactly is a “people person”? The term is too general and vague to be used an as accurate description of who you want working with your clients, so here are the steps to take that’ll turn your employees into that ideal “people person” and improve your customer service in the New Year!

  1. Patience

You will experience customers that can be irate, chatty, and full of questions or all over the above and patience will help both you and them. Take your time working with your customers to better understand their problems and needs from the company. Great customer service beats fast customer service and remember that quality is greater than quantity.

  1. Clear Communication

By speaking clearly, we don’t mean enunciating your speech but making sure your customer knows exactly what you mean with what you’re saying. Keep your language simple or use layman’s terms if necessary and leave nothing to doubt. Don’t assume the customer knows everything you know so never end a conversation without confirming that the customer is satisfied.

  1. Product Knowledge

Know what you’re selling. You don’t have to be the creator of the product or service, but you should know the ins and outs of how it works just like how a customer would use it every day would. You want to understand how to help your customers when they run into problems and the best way to understand the problem is to understand the product.

  1. Be Available

A personal touch to any customer service experience is making sure your customers are able to reach you. Putting in the extra effort to come in early or stay late lets customers know you’re not just a machine that shuts on and off during designated hours of the day. Offering other methods of communication such as a cell phone number or face to face meet up in the office to reminds a client that your company exists outside computer screens and builds trust.

  1. Practice Active Listening

Often with scripts, callers fail to listen to customers and wait to respond with their next line. Always paraphrase and summarize a customer’s main points to ensure you’re on the same page. Reflect your feelings to demonstrate empathy and let the customer know your concern and attention to their requests. Don’t listen to reply, listen to understand.

  1. Admit Mistake

Don’t be afraid to shine a lantern on your mistakes. Calling out what is wrong isn’t a flaw itself; it demonstrates honesty and gains trust. When you make a mistake, own up to it and let the customer know you’re going to do all that you can to fix it instead of hiding it.

  1. A Calming Presence

Be the person who keeps their cool or stays cool under pressure. Your ability to stay calm during hectic situations can influence others to do the same. Do not let heated customers effect you personally or professionally. Your job is to be the rock for a customer who thinks the world around them is crumbling due to their current dilemma. Save the day!

  1. Get Personal

Make customers feel like they have access to real people and not just automated messages. Don’t be afraid to let a customer get to know you like you get to know a customer. Take advantage of social media, post photos, bios, and respond to questions in a timely matter. A little personal information can go a long way and minimalizes the concerns of accessibility, trust, or safety.

  1. Customer Feedback

It’s important to learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Customers will have opinions about your company and it’s important they have access to an outlet to deliver those views. A phone or email survey, or Contact Us link gives customers a channel to voice their concerns and that’ll help companies discover touchpoints and skills that need improvement.

  1. Create Communities

Customers feel they are more valued when they’re treated like an important member in a community. Bring together clients via webinars, social media, trade shows, and conventions. Holding events and gatherings to bring together clients acknowledges that they are cherished customers in your company.

No matter how great your service and/or product works, one of the things the customer will most likely remember is the direct interaction they had with you and your company. Customer relationships should never be left to chance, so seize the moment and take advantage of these steps! Customer service is not just a department, it’s an attitude.

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About the Author: Ann Nguyen