Customer service is one of the most essential parts of making sure that your business continues to grow, build customer loyalty and trust and essentially make your customers happy. You can gain business success and increase the number of new customers by giving excellent customer service, as satisfied customers will spread the word on their own.
It is a difficult task. Getting it in place and maintaining it can be a laborious process. Training the customer staff in proper phone etiquette, in handling irate customers and how to politely stop tirades and non-business related inquiries takes a long time to get down pat. But once you and your staff get through the initial training hurdle, then everything will go smoothly and can make a huge difference on how your business succeeds.
To ensure that you give excellent customer service all the time, here are some tips.
- Inculcate in your staff that honesty is still the best policy. Customers would normally call because they have a question or have experience difficulty with your product. If you have been advertising that you replace a defective product subject to certain conditions within a specified number of days, make sure that this is adhered to all the time. If you promise that you will call a customer back within an hour, make sure that their call is returned within that time frame. If for some unforeseen circumstances you cannot provide the customer with an immediate solution, be very honest and tell the customer the reason why. The customer will be more forgiving and appreciate your honesty,
- If you have received a complaint, ensure that you listen to your customer politely while she airs her grievance and deal with it in the most efficient and professional manner. If the problem can be solved immediately, attend to it right away and ensure the customer that you value their concern as this will lead to better products and/or service. It is better to receive a genuine complaint rather than lose a customer who gets fed up with your product and switches to a competing brand.
- Part of giving excellent customer service is making sure that you understand the customers. The primary functions of the customer service staff are to answer customer inquiries, solve problems and direct customers to the proper department and give the customers advance notice on new products and services. You can gain more insight on your customers’ preferences and wants from their opinions and their concerns. If they are to be put on hold for a minute, you can take that chance to give them some information and do some soft-selling with prerecorded messages about new products, promotions and activities that your company will be conducting. This will arouse their curiosity and keep them on the line while waiting for their call to be connected or for them to be assisted.
- Make sure that your customer service crew knows your products inside and out. It does not pay for the customer to be transferred from one person to another until they can get an answer from someone. The customer service staff should be able to answer questions regarding the product features, at the very least. His explanation should be in simple language that can be understood by anybody. He should not recite a litany of technical jargon that can only lead to confusion.
- Make sure that it is easy for a customer to get in touch with you through the different means of communication available. You should have a dedicated phone line for customer service, a working email address and fax number.
- The customer service staff should always answer the phone with a smile as this gesture can be discerned even over the phone. When a customer is angry, the customer service staff should listen to the complaint politely and provide the answers needed when the customer has done airing her complaint. They should never lose their cool with a customer, no matter how rude they get. The staff should be made to understand that the customer is acting that way because of frustration.
In every business, customer satisfaction is imperative and one of the ways to do that is to give excellent customer service. This will go a long way in building a good client roster and gaining more through word of mouth. Take their concerns and opinions into account and use these to improve your product and service. Remember that once a customer loses her trust in you, she will be gone forever and may take more of your customers with her.