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Customer service is a complicated, sometimes difficult job. Like any public-facing role, representatives will encounter a wide variety of people, with a wide variety of problems, in a wide variety of moods. It can be a challenge, even for the most seasoned support specialists — but the rewards of providing excellent service to your organization’s consumers will be felt by the company as a whole, boosting your bottom line and giving you a healthy ROI. In this post, you’ll find a thorough list of top tips and best practices to help the customer service at your organization not just survive, but thrive.
Customer Service Rules of Survival
Customers are the lifeblood of any company. If we’re not in public-facing roles it can be surprisingly easy to forget this. The fact of the matter is that every department in your organization, from internal IT to the customer service representatives themselves, are working together for the common good of the consumer. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all members of a company to ensure that the customer’s needs are being considered first, and foremost.
Customer Service Best Practices
The specific duties regarding upholding excellent standards of customer service differ whether you’re the facilitating organization or the public-facing representative. In this section, you will find both outlined for a comprehensive view of collective responsibility.
Customer Service Rules of Survival: For the Professional
- Know your product. You don’t need to be an expert, but you should be able to walk your customers through any number of troubleshooting procedures, answer complex questions, and handle requests or changes. This will not only enable you to provide your consumers with the best service possible, but it will also make your job easier if there are fewer things to look up, or questions you need to defer to more senior representatives.
- Make it personal. Keep interactions with your customers conversational and avoid sounding too scripted or generic in your initial greetings. Address them by their first name (or Mr./Ms./Mx. X, if they prefer). It seems so simple, but this little detail of using a customer’s name will help them feel individually cared for, and let them know that, to you, they’re not just another consumer.
- Exercise empathy. Some of your customer interactions will be challenging. Always keep your cool and remember that an upset or frustrated customer is an opportunity to make someone’s day by turning their mood around. Put yourself in your customers shoes and do your very best to treat them how you yourself would like to be treated: with kindness and respect.
- Stay positive. Occasionally, you will receive a request or question which you might not be able to fulfill. Language can be tricky, and the difference between a definitive “no” and a flexible “no” is subtle, but it makes a world of difference when handling a customer interaction. Never say “I don’t know,” or “X is unavailable.” Instead, use phrasing such as, “Let me find that out for you,” or “X will be available in two weeks, would you like me to let you know when it comes in?”
- Never argue. The customer might not always be right, but customer service representatives should take the time to educate an uninformed customer as gently as possible. You know the product you’re representing, and it is your job to make sure your customer understands it just as well. A well-informed consumer is ultimately better for business.
Customer Service Rules of Survival: For the Organization
- Hire customer service enthusiasts. Not everyone is cut out for customer service, but some people were born for careers in consumer support. When sourcing your staff, hire people who are enthusiastic about helping people out! When hiring your latest batch of customer service representatives, look for qualities such as great communication skills, a high degree of emotional intelligence, and a positive attitude.
- Provide high-quality training. Give your customer service representatives the best shot at success by providing them with thorough, comprehensive training from day 1. You can’t prepare them for every interaction they might have with a customer, but you can give them a great foundation to stand on. Make sure they can describe your product or service inside and out and handle any challenging conversations with grace.
- Facilitate teamwork. Invest in creating a company culture which emphasizes collective achievement over individual gains. Provide group incentives and encourage synergistic spirit through community building. The better your teams play together and know how to support one another, the bigger the rewards for your entire organization.
- Invest in customer relationships. On a large scale, marketing and PR campaigns should always be sensitive to the needs of the consumers, problems should be solved before your customer sees them, and mistakes should be owned up to. At a more personal level, your organization must help your individual customers feel cared for by responding promptly to communications, having a transparent and simple contact process, and sending personalized messages such as birthday greetings. Prioritizing the customer experience will help to build long-lasting relationships with your consumers.
- Use tech to your advantage. Integrating a comprehensive customer service solution into your company’s customer service practices can help customers feel known and cared for from the first conversation. Gladly offers a customer service solution which is radically personal, increases your representative’s productivity, and helps build lifelong relationships between your company and its customers.