Great customer service is important – but what is it? To achieve quality customer service, you need to know what it looks like. The good news is that it’s neither elusive nor undefinable. Amazing customer service shares certain qualities that can be learned and honed. Here are the keys to giving awesome customer service.
1. Show Empathy
The customer is not the enemy. If the customer is having problems, it isn’t because they’re trying to make your life difficult, and it isn’t because they aren’t listening to you. They need help.
Instead of repeating the same line over and over and wondering why they just don’t get it, take some time to listen. Really try to get into their position, to wear their shoes as it were, and understand where they’re coming from. Once you know this, you’ll be in a much better position to give them the help they need, while also making them feel better about the situation in general.
Showing empathy also means acting like a human and not a robot. If both parties are going through their previously prepared scripts, nobody is going to make a connection. When you respond to the customer, really respond. Allow a little emotion. This will help the conversation flow more naturally, so that both parties are receptive and ready to solve the issue at hand.
2. Understand the Customer’s Perspective
Empathy plays a role in understanding the customer’s perspective, but there’s more to it than acknowledging emotions. You also need to think about what the customer knows versus what you know.
You may have explained something a dozen times that day alone, but the customer is hearing it for the first time. To you, it seems obvious. To the customer, it’s new and confusing.
Don’t assume the customer knows all about the company’s policies and procedures, and don’t get mad over a lack of knowledge. Although it can be frustrating to have to repeat the same information again and again, remember that from the customer’s point of view, it’s not the hundredth time. It’s the first time.
3. Keep the Peace
By the time customers decide to call, they’re often already angry. They’re ready to fight, so you have to keep the peace. Stay calm. Explain things without getting combative. You may need to try different approaches until you find an explanation that really sinks in.
Empathy is important here, too. Sometimes people want their anger to be acknowledged. Tell them you get it, you understand, you’d be upset too. Then pause to let that sink in.
Understand that you’re the face of the company. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, if the customer feels wronged by the company, you’re going to be the one to hear it. Don’t take it personally or get argumentative.
4. Use Positive Language
Your word choice can make a big difference in the way the customer perceives the conversation. You want to use words that are positive. You also want to convey a sense of urgency. The customer needs to feel that the issue at hand is a priority, and that it will be resolved quickly in a way that makes everyone happy.
Using words like lovely, absolutely and positively can help the customer feel better about the situation. These strong and positive words show the customer that progress is being made and the problem is being resolved in a proactive manner.
Word choice matters, but so does content. Tell the customer exactly what steps you’re going to take to resolve the problem. Be clear and direct to show the customer that everything is under control. Customers often feel helpless when they call; help empower them by assuring them that they have the situation handled.
5. Go the Extra Step
To satisfy a customer, you may have to provide a little something extra. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It could be something as small as an email you send to provide confirmation when the system doesn’t do it automatically. It could be handling something on the phone, while you’re still talking to the customer, instead of promising that it will be done later.
This can be important when the customer is unhappy, but it’s also important when the customer has a hard time taking in new information over the phone. A visual learner may need a little extra help. This could mean sending an email. It could also mean instructing the customer to write a few numbers down before you explain what they mean.
In summary, great customer services isn’t complicated. In most cases you just need to think about what the customer needs, and then try to provide it. It’s that simple.
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