Every company in the world needs customer service; whether it is the job of the owner or a dedicated team, it is the lifeblood of the business. However, not every company gets this essential part of their organization right, and that can spell disaster. Larger corporations might be able to deal with a bad customer service reputation for a while, but it might spell the end for a small business. Here are some tips for creating an outstanding customer service team that will build your company’s reputation.
Start with Good Training
Not everyone is a natural at customer service; some have to work on their skills more than others. That is why you need to have a comprehensive training program that can give your staff the background they need to succeed. Not only do they need to be good with people and have a calm nature, but they also need to know everything about how the company works. Your customers will come to them with all manner of problems, and they want to speak to someone that knows what they are talking about. It is also important that your customer service team has access to help as much as possible. For example, if they are not trained or have access to all the systems, then they might not be able to help the customer.
Treat Your Team as You Want Customers to be Treated
There can be a lot of pressure on managers to get results, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be respectful and polite. If you and your managers are not treating your employees with respect, then this will filter down to the customers. Good service is more than a facade, it needs to be the work ethic of the company if it’s to be successful. Part of this includes asking your teams what they think about how the company is running and if they can see any improvements that could be made. Making them part of the process gives them a feeling of value and increases morale.
Communication between your customer service team and the customer is hugely important. If your teams are taking too long to reply to an email, or they say they will ring back when they don’t, then this can be a big barrier to keeping customers happy. You need to encourage your teams to monitor the emails coming into the company closely. As soon as a customer contacts the business, it needs to be acknowledged and given to someone to deal with. There also needs to be guidelines in place that tells the employees how long they have to reply to the customer and what they can do to help them. Utilizing other types of communications can also help, such as social media. By having your customer service team on social media, you are giving customers a fast and efficient way to contact you. You can also use services like business SMS to keep in touch with your customers for ongoing issues.
Listen to Your Customers
There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than not being understood. Some customer service teams are so intent on reciting their company policy that they don’t understand the customer’s complaint or concern. Rectifying this can be simple, all you need to do is to encourage listening to the customer and trying to take on board what they are asking. It is also important not to interrupt them while they are explaining the problem, even if you know what it might be. Of course, there are exceptions to this; for example, the rude or abusive customers. However, even these can be dealt with in a way that is polite but firm. You should also try to avoid passing them onto other team members if possible. If they need another department, then try to connect them first instead of putting them back in the queue.
Try to Offer Solutions
Your customers won’t be happy if their question or request is met with ‘don’t know.’ That reply in itself offers no resolution for the customer and makes the company look unprofessional. Whatever the question might be, it is important to try and find a solution that will be agreeable to the customer. Even if that means that you need to get back to them the next day, at least you are doing something to resolve the matter. Sometimes a suitable solution cannot be found, but the customer will appreciate the effort you used to help.
Go the Extra Mile
Your customers are looking for a great experience from your business. They want to be able to buy their products quickly and easily with a little hassle as possible. However, sometimes there is an opportunity to go that extra mile for your customers and cement their loyalty. It might be something simple like helping an elderly person with their shopping or telling them about a special deal they might not be aware of when they check out. When customers see that you and your staff are willing to do that, they will feel appreciated and valued. That is a powerful feeling that you want all your customers to feel about your company.
Learn from Your Mistakes
No matter how good your customer service is, mistakes will happen. It is part of life, and it shouldn’t be overly punished as you want to maintain morale. However, it is important that you and your teams learn from the mistake and put procedures in place to prevent it from happening again. Have regular meetings with your staff so that these issues can be raised, and solutions can be found. It might mean additional training or a change in the way a system is used.
There will always be those customers that you won’t be able to please, no matter what you do. However, by having the best procedures and staff in place, you can minimize the number of times that happens.