If you ask me what the key factors for a company’s success are, customer service would be my first answer. Just stop and think for a moment how many times a day you are on the receiving end of customer service. While getting your morning coffee, your lunch, getting a cab, shopping, paying bills. The list goes on and on. How many times do you feel that there is room for improvement? How about in your company, is everyone delivering the same level of service to your customers? Consistency is essential to establish and maintain a loyal customer base.
Every company has their customer service procedures, motto or mission statement. However, a large number of companies unfortunately fail to deliver a fair level of customer service. Go online and you will find reviews for practically any service or product, and reading some of those comments will make you think again before you consider purchasing any service/product from that specific company.
In the Internet era companies are stripped down to their underwear, and if you don’t perform within your customers expectations it will be heard, seen and read about on the web. Upset and unsatisfied clients have so many platforms to communicate their disappointment.
You are no longer the only receiving part of this phone call. The world is tuning in, and if you don’t handle an angry customer properly you might pay the ultimate price.
Outstanding customer service is what differentiates a company from its competitors. If you are offering the same product/service, for a similar price you have to give clients a reason to choose you. Which ever company provides the best customer service will beat the others.
Smart businesses know that in order to have a long life span they must increase the number of loyal clients and customer service is the one and only way to make this happen. You may have the technical skills or product and industry knowledge however with lack of customer service your clients will not have the necessary connection to remain loyal. Loyal customers are the ultimate goal of a successful company, and by taking measures to train your staff and establishing a high customer service level you are leading your company for success.
Here are some suggestions on how to increase the level of customer service:
Show empathy: As a customer service representative it is essential to always put yourself into your client’s shoes, see the situation from where they are standing. Then you are more likely to clearly understand how they feel or what they need.
Listen: Clients need to feel that they have been heard and understood. Let your client talk, explain and elaborate. If there is something you think is unclear, ask.
Be REAL and positive:
Always use a very positive tone and language while talking to or even sending emails to your clients. Everybody likes to see/hear smiling faces and positive energy. Don’t forget, you can’t fake it with your customers. They will know. Be genuine. What you say is important, but how you say it is sometimes even more important for your customer.
Be proactive: If you realize there are some issues with your product or services you must inform your clients before they find out themselves. Let them know you are working to resolve the issue.
Give options: People like to be given options. If there are multiple ways to solve the issue, let the customer choose how they want things to be handled. Give them back some control.
Be prepared: Always expect the best, and prepare for the worst. The way your business handles a complaint or an unsatisfied customer is extremely important, because one unhappy client can be very harmful for your company. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. If you don’t have procedures on how to handle complaints – make them. Make sure every employee knows how to handle these situations, in the most professional, service oriented and positive way possible.
I believe that success lies in the details in today’s business world. The little things that set you apart from the rest. The fact that no matter who your customer talks to, may it be your operator, your technician, your sales manager or an operations associate – he/she will receive the same level of service throughout your organization. This is achieved with a strong company culture, a culture that includes the above principles. Whether you are a B2C or a B2B organization, it does not matter what department you work in or what ranking you have – we are ALL customer service representatives.