Customers are an integral part of every successful business. Every business owner is keenly aware that their business would flounder without loyal customers generating a reliable income. Thus, providing every customer with the reliable, helpful service they expect needs to be a top priority. Despite this well-known fact, superior customer service is a rare commodity.
Customer service presents unique challenges as agents strive to resolve customer questions and concerns quickly, accurately, and appropriately while maintaining a positive attitude. Working in this challenging area can cause employees to burn out quickly, with many staying in their position for less than a year. Understanding and knowing how to support customer service professionals can help improve outcomes and provide representatives with the tools necessary to perform their job effectively and efficiently in the long term.
1. Seek to Understand
It may seem logical to conclude that every customer buying your product or service has the same expectation of their buying and user experiences. However, this assumption would be false. Every customer or client is different from the one before. Their motivations, needs, desires, and goals are all unique. What may be a must-have feature for one may fly under the radar for most others.
Clearly understanding their expectations at the beginning of the business relationship is crucial to avoiding disappointment later. If they expect 24/7 support and you only offer support during business hours, they will be sorely upset when something goes wrong on Saturday, and they have to wait until Monday to contact your office. Be straightforward with customers about what you will and will not provide.
2. Consider Requests Carefully
Unique business needs can sometimes necessitate developing novel solutions to company problems. Customers may request one-of-a-kind functionality, features, or enhancements. Deciding to accept or decline these requests needs to be a business decision.
Consider these two factors before making commitments to do something specific for a customer.
- Is it feasible?
- Is it cost-effective?
There are benefits to keeping the customer happy, including customer loyalty and rave reviews. However, if the solution they request will take longer to produce or cost more money than it is worth to you, it doesn’t make sense for your business. You may need to tell the customer “No.” Regardless of your decision, be careful not to promise customers anything you can’t deliver. Broken promises will tarnish your reputation.
3. Remain Level-Headed
We have all watched as an angry customer berates a customer service professional or store manager. It is an ugly scene that makes onlookers embarrassed just to be there. As much as we want to believe these incidents are rare, they can be a frequent occurrence for those employed in customer service.
Individuals contact customer service because they have encountered a problem they cannot solve on their own, and failure to resolve the issue can quickly cause tensions to rise and tempers to flare. Diffusing the situation takes skill and poise. Skilled customer service employees trained in dealing with these situations rely on a few key points.
- Remain calm. Responding to intense emotions by becoming emotional will only escalate the situation. Calm and collected responses are much more effective.
- Remember that the angry customer is not upset with you. They are frustrated with the company or a product, so don’t take it personally. Approach the situation as a problem that you can solve.
- Keep your focus on the facts of the situation instead of the emotions at hand.
- Consider how you can retain this individual as a customer. Can you provide a replacement, a discount, or a free service? Ending the interaction on a positive note may keep them coming back in the future.
4. Raise the Bar
Competition for customers can be fierce in any industry. Meeting your customers’ expectations keeps them content. Exceeding their expectations can prompt them to come back and recommend you to their family and friends. Be aware of what your competition offers customers and consider what you might do to improve the experience with your company. Be sure you understand the cost of your new strategy, though. Improving customer service will likely cost you in time and money. Be sure you can deliver on your promises without depleting your bottom line.
5. Recruit for Retention
Your customer service professionals are the face of your organization. They interact with customers more than any other employee in some cases. Yet, the attrition rate for employees in this vital position remains high. Hiring customer service professionals with a long-term perspective can assist in providing excellent customer service and retaining these highly skilled employees.
- Keep Culture in Mind – The candidate who performed well on a skills test or provided the right answers in an interview should be on your shortlist. However, if they are not a good fit for your company culture, they will struggle to provide the best customer service. Search for individuals who will be vested in the company goals and vision.
- Provide Training – The best employees succeed when they have the proper tools to do so. Teach customer service hires about your policies, procedures, and practices. Be sure they know what options they can offer customers so they can quickly resolve concerns and turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one.
Hiring successful employees and retaining them in your organization brings many benefits. Your customers will love your friendly and helpful staff. Your customer service professionals will stay because they have the tools they need to be successful in helping customers and diffusing tense situations. Your business will grow as satisfied customers spread the word about your fantastic products and service policies.
Excellent customer service is the best advertising you can do for your company. If you need to improve or expand your customer service department, consider hiring a Salt Lake City customer service staffing agency to help you identify the best candidates and train them for long-term success.