Going the extra mile is an important component of serving customers. Retention of customers is vital to the recruitment of new customers, as great customer service leads to positive word of mouth, which in turn leads to an increase customer base. How you behave, act, talk and work with customers has a major impact on the perceived level of customer service they receive.
This is the second article of a four-part series focusing on how the fundamentals of customer service are crucial to staff interaction, stakeholder management and the growth of every staff member, including yourself. The first article – Have You Ever Misread a Customers Emotional State? – discussed patience, calmness, positive language, reading customers, being attentive and showing empathy. This article covers clear communication, using your acting skills, knowing your products, managing time, being ready for surprises and the tenacity to go above and beyond for your customers.
7. Crystal Clear
Getting straight to the point is important when it comes to handling customer inquiries. Customers aren’t so interested in your life story or how your day has been. You can break the ice with them with a brief connection to their day, but avoid expanding on yours. Being able to communicate clearly is especially important when discussing what is and isn’t included in a product sale, service or membership inclusion. Miscommunication and misunderstandings can have a negative effective on customer loyalty and trust, even if you have the best apology.
8. Act Up
You are an entertainer, a positive beam of light and a comforter when it comes to customer service. You need to be able to draw on your acting skills when either you or your customer is tired, having a bad day or love to have a rant. You need to ensure the experience is positive, vibrant and warming to the customer. It may be a challenge to make them happy, but it is in your, and the companies, best interest to make the best out of a difficult situation. This is a real challenge when the customer seems to want nothing but pull you down, as they want to be in control and make you feel bad for the experience they have had.
9. Product Knowledge
There is nothing more frustrating for a customer that a forward-facing employee who has little or no knowledge of a product or service. Spending time knowing the product or service inside out is critical to helping customers who have a problem. Without knowledge it is very difficult to troubleshoot and solve problems. Having clear knowledge of the product or service also helps you to build an understanding about the customer experience, and therefore can become a strong advocate. Developing product knowledge should be something that is included in the first one to two weeks of an on-boarding process for new employees.
10. Managing Time
Taking the time to understand the customers concern and ensure they leave on a positive, it’s important for developing long-term trust and loyalty. However there is a limit on the time you should spend, as your goal should be to ensure that customers get what they want in an efficient manner. There is no point going above and beyond for a customer, when you will just end up wasting their time. If you aren’t making headway and you don’t know the solution to a problem, then it is in everyone’s interests to connect the customer with someone who does.
How an employee reacts and deals with the unexpected is invaluable to the reputation of the company. There will be problems you encounter and customer reactions you weren’t expecting, which you need to be prepared for. Expecting the unexpected is an important skillset for dealing with customers, so you need a plan to cope with challenging situations. Knowing whom you should contact, what information you should provide them and how you will contact them, when you don’t know an answer or how to cope, is helpful.
You should never cheat your customers by providing service that is of a lazy kind. Putting in the extra effort and doing what needs to be done should be a driving motivation when working with customers. Customers will talk about service where you go above and beyond to make a difference in their life. The memorable customer service stories are developed when an employee goes beyond the status quo when dealing with them. This action can have a major impact on the business in the future.
Part 3 looking at the importance of customer service, will be available in the next NRG2Perform article. It will include 6 more components of providing an exceptional customer service approach.
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