Keys to Customer Service
Customer Service is key to any business. Without great customer service, no business will flourish. For me personally, I will pay more and drive farther for great customer service every time! What if we applied customer service to our everyday lives? If we treated everyone as if they where our customer, how different would our community be? Now that is something to think about! For me the top 10 keys to customer service are:
Great customer service beats fast service every time. Take the time to figure out what the customer wants. There are times that you’re busy or in the middle of a project but ultimately, we are here for the customer. They deserve our undivided attention.
2. CLEAR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. You need to keep it simple, get to the point. Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice all color the message you’re trying to convey. It is important to be confident in your interactions with others. Not everyone knows what you are talking about, so explain it in a way that helps them understand.
Be aware of what is going on around you. When you’re helping a customer with one task, it might lead to an additional task that they need assistance with. Be sure to address that as well. Attentiveness isn’t just applied to the customer but to your place of business, co- workers, etc. If you see a need, fill a need.
4. KNOWLEDGE OF PRODUCT
Without knowing your product front to back, you won’t be able to help your customers when they have simple questions or when they run into problems. What does your business offer? Be an expert at pricing, policies, and current events at your place of work. Sometimes you are going to get a question that you’re not going to know and that is ok. Take the customer to the person who can help them but stay and find out the answer yourself. That’s just one more thing that you can add to your knowledge bucket.
5. ABILITITY TO USE POSITIVE LANGUAGE
Sounds like fluffy nonsense, but your ability to make minor changes in your conversational patterns can truly go a long way in creating happy customers. Stay away from negative word such as “no”, “don’t”, and “can’t”.
There are times when a customer is going to want a certain class at a specific time and day, but that class may be full. Instead of saying “I can’t enroll you in that class it is full” say “that class is currently full, I can put you on the waitlist so when a space opens up I can get you in”. Then offer the other days and times that you have until they can get into the desired class
6. ACTING SKILLS
Crazy right??? But we all have those days where we are not 100%. Life happens all the time, but we shouldn’t let our customers see it. That is wear the acting comes in. You would be surprised what a smile can accomplish. Think about it, you’re talking on the phone straight faced and that tone comes across. Try adding a smile when on the phone - you would be amazed at the difference. Whether you’re in a good mood or bad mood, it makes a difference.
7. TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Everything should be handled in a timely manner. Don’t stretch it out especially when dealing with a customer. When you have a list of items that are on your agenda have it planned out in the order of importance. Or as my mom always says, “work smarter not harder”. When in business, or even in everyday life, our work and what we do influences others. Someone may be waiting for you to complete a task so they can accomplish one of their’s.
8. ABILITITY TO “READ” CUSTOMERS
You won’t always be able to see customers face to face, and in many instances, you won’t hear a customer’s voice! Being able to read a customer’s current emotional state is key. This is important part of the personalization process as well because it takes knowing your customers to create a personal experience for them.
More importantly you don’t want to misread a customer and end up losing them due to confusion and miscommunication.
Currently, we all live very busy lives. Our moods change daily if not hourly pending on what is happening within our day. You can be the most outgoing, happy, talkative person but you could have that day where you just want to be all business. When dealing with people on a daily basis, whether in a professional or personal manner, we need to be aware and mindful.
9. CALMING PRESENCE
There are a lot of metaphors out there for this type of personality: “keeps their cool,” “staying cool under pressure,” and so on, but it all means the same thing: the ability some people have to stay calm and even influence others when things get a little hectic.
You remember those hectic lives we lead, sometimes it results in us having a bad day and that’s ok we all have them. Sometimes a customer is going to come in and you are going to be on the receiving end of that bad day. It’s not you; don’t take it personally. Just sit there and listen. A smile and some understanding can go a long way.
Perhaps empathy - the ability to understand and share the feeling of others - is more of a character trait than a skill. But since empathy can be learned and improved upon I find it a must to be on this list as one of the keys to customer service.
When you can’t tell a customer exactly what they want to hear, a dose of care, concern and understanding will go a long way. Empathy is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Customer service is perhaps the greatest driving factor for both acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. Whether you apply these principles in a place of business or in your everyday life, keep in mind that your interactions with others affect your ability to form and maintain relationships with others.
Hope Your Day Is A Great One!