Many companies found out too late that customer service is the life blood of any organization. Today’s consumers depend on superior customer service otherwise they will drop your organization like a hot potato. Without world class service you will find your customers making their way to your competitors to get their needs met.
Bad customer service creates unhappy customers. Every time a customer is treated poorly by the customer service department they will not hesitate to tell five or six friends or family members. Many organizations have had to close its doors because they did not understand the importance of treating customers fairly. Your market share will erode year after year if someone doesn’t put an end to the harsh treatment customers receive.
Once poor customer service has begun to rear its ugly head there go the company profits. First you see a decline in sales and then profits. This can decrease the return investors receive and no one throughout the organization wants to see that. Poor profits can lead to a reduction in bonuses and raises. Eventually there will be a change at the top.
It’s important for companies to have a customer service training program. This helps the customer service department keep up to speed with the best way to resolve customer issues. Sometimes a best demonstrated practice can be put into place, regarding a particular problem.
Good customer service starts with the greeting. Service representatives should always smile even when they are on the phone. Believe it or not a smile is projected throughout your entire interaction with a customer. A customer can tell if an employee wants to talk with them and help resolve their problem. They can also tell if they are being rushed off the phone so that the representative can take the next phone call.
If you want to have an excellent customer service department everyone in the department needs to improve their listening skills. Listening helps you pinpoint a customer’s true reason for their displeasure. When a representative cuts off a customer before they have finished speaking they may never find out why the customer is unhappy. Some customers just want to vent awhile before they get to the real problem.
While you are listening to the customer it’s a good idea to take notes so that you can refer back to them if needed. Nothing upsets a customer more if they have to repeat themselves because you were not actively listening.
Once you have collected all information try to paraphrase the customer’s complaint. This process helps reassure the customer that you have been listening. Next let the customer know what you intend to do as well as how and when. Make sure you follow up with the customer if the problem is not resolved when you say.
Sometimes you must transfer a customer or refer them to someone else within the organization. If so, make sure you tell the customer where they are being transferred to and who will be assisting them. One of the biggest complaints from customers is due to the endless number of transfers to voice recording machines.
Always look for ways to continuously resolve customers needs and they will continue to be good paying customers. Satisfied customers will also purchase more of your company’s products and services; and they may tell a few friends about the excellent service they are receiving. There is nothing like a referral to help a business grow and prosper.
Author: Susan Friedman, “The Ten Commandments of Great Customer Service”.