No Count of Best Practices to Boost Customer Service

“The only right way to run a company and in the most profitable way, is to saturate your company with the voice of the customer.” Richard C. Whiteley, The Forum Corporation, 1991

[img src=”×150.jpg” width=”” height=”” align=”right”] Customers always have and always will dictate and alter how the customer service universe functions. Whatever be your customer’s response, ways to boost customer service really are infinite and anything that works can become a best practice. The speed, at which technology is moving, has provided greater access to information which in turn has increased the demands of customers who want their queries and issues answered and resolved immediately. Customers know that companies need and want their business and so the demand for excellent customer service seems perfectly reasonable. When customers do not get the service they deem appropriate, there is nothing that will hold them back from moving off to the next service provider, who would most likely be your closest competitor. Customers need always know that you will do everything to ‘earn’ their business. No, we are not implying that you need to bend backwards or that your customer takes advantage of your willingness to have their business. The simple truth is that customers buy from those they like, with whom they feel they have a relationship. You as a consumer too know this to be true. This quirky friend insists on visiting the same salon that she has been visiting for years. What’s funny is that earlier she lived within walking distance from it and now it takes her approximately 2 hours to reach and there are some good salons in her current neighborhood. Her answer “they know me and I like their approach”. She even keeps recommending them to our circle of friends and posting pictures of her new hairdo claiming that “only” that salon can pull off. So simple yet the reason for a customer preference! Customer service must be great at all times, must forge loyalty and be seen as the core of all your business marketing strategies. Customers now are not just content with receiving service they will spread the word around. And be warned, vociferously so if they receive anything short of great service.

Related Article: How decision tree driven interactive guides help you create customer service best practices?

Think pro-actively and keep an open mind while weighing the possibility that maybe your business is probably not as customer centric as it should be. Evaluate your policies to understand if they are making it difficult for customers to do business with you and what measures you can take to rectify this problem. For example check to see – whether the hours your company and customer service team work is suitable for all your customers. Are your customer service representatives competitive enough to resolve most queries at the first contact? Are your products or services too complicated to understand? Customers are less inclined to stay with companies whose strategies are not in conjunction with what they want. You really don’t want to be your own biggest obstacle, do you?! The Business Dictionary defines customer service as all interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter. Customer service adds value to a product and builds enduring relationship.” Ask yourself whether your company is doing this and whether it can be a benchmark for best practices within the realm of customer service. Let us look at some best practices that can set you apart and ensure that your company becomes an exemplar of customer service.

Related Article: How call center agents use interactive guides instead of call scripts to create benchmarks for customer service?

• Let there be no surprises for your customer when it comes to what you can deliver and what their expectations should be. Set these expectations at the outset – at the customer service and point of sale level. Then when you exceed those expectations you build for yourself a reputation that will serve you well to attract and retain future business. You would rather promise less and deliver way beyond than vice versa. Customers are shrewd enough to see through any feigned acts of customer service and attempted customer satisfaction. The environment is far too cut throat and competitive to make light of exceeding customer expectations. The days are far gone, when it is was clearly demonstrated that providing good customer service was a favor and something the customer needed to work hard to receive. Such an approach in the current environment will have your company falling like a stack of dominoes.

• The attitude and demeanor of your employees will be the first defining step towards the way your customers are served. When you treat your employees well and show them that they are a valued resource, they will feel upbeat and goaded to serving you well by providing great customer service. Happy customers will lead to the growth of your business that will circle back to having motivated employees. You get the picture! Your employees are your first and internal customers. Treat them right and you can be sure that they will treat your business customers as their own.

• The business strategies that involve customer service standards must made known and transparent to all employees. Customer service training must be part of each employees induction and ongoing training schedule. Use customer service standards to define performance of the employees, failing which would have consequences. The standards must match up to the popular SMART doctrine – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Anything that needs to be used as a benchmark cannot be successful unless it can be measured and thoroughly understood.

• Inculcate the habit of listening, really listening to what your customer wants. As you develop this habit it will easier to anticipate and come out tops in customer service. Don’t ask questions or interrupt them especially when they are irate. When you hear them out completely, you will be able to tackle the base of the problem and provide effective resolutions. It will be imperative to repeat your understanding of the problem to the customer and ask them if the solution you have will work for them. If yes, then you have resolved the problem immediately. If not, then inform them of a timeline by when you will revert with a solution that matches or is closest to what they perceive. DELIVER as per the committed timeline. The customer then knows beyond doubt that you are willing to do whatever it takes to keep him or her with you and that you committed to displaying a superlative form of customer service under all circumstances.

• Great, you provided a timely and effective resolution but don’t forget your customer post that. Keep in touch with them through dedicated customer service representatives or mechanisms. Show them that you care beyond just having and retaining their business. Following up with them to check for any possible issues, will have your customers raving about how fabulous you are as a company and why others should do business with you as well. Remember to thank them for their continued support and take the opportunity to inform them of the other current products or services on offer. Ask for references – this makes them feel relied on and they will be more forthcoming with contact details of their business associates who may need your products or services. This whole gamut makes for great customer service resulting in loyal brand ambassadors for your company.

• Your best efforts notwithstanding, you may still be faced with the highly vexed and aggravated customer. Difficult and complex to deal with but must be handled all the same. Proper training delivered to your customer service team will allow them to view the aggressiveness objectively and not take it personally. Allow the customer to spew out whatever it is that is bothering him or her. Apologize genuinely and show empathy for the problem faced by them, whether brought about by a faulty product or service or the incorrect usage by the customer. Either way the company must take responsibility during this stressed out interaction. Once the customer has said all he or she wanted to, the representative must repeat their understanding (part of listening) of the problem and tell them of the possible resolution. Always remember that if the customer is taking time out to speak with you, albeit to express anger, is probably better positioned to stay with you rather than the one who leaves without ever giving you a reason. The angry customer is still a customer and is in fact providing you with very valuable feedback which could possibly prevent the issue from snowballing out of control leading to more dissatisfied customers. For an angry customer, the problem he or she faces is unique and that is how it must be tackled by your customer service.

Customers know their rights and privileges more than before and will not rest till they receive the highest level of service either before investing in your company or thereafter. The level of your customer service can tilt the scales either way and only the most discerning and competitive company will be there for the long haul. Great Customer Service has no bounds but must be a robust ground for creating a strong and unwavering path to the ongoing success and growth of your business.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Develop interactive decision trees for troubleshooting, cold calling scripts, medical appointments, or process automation. Enhance sales performance and customer retention across your call centers. Lower costs with customer self-service.

Interactive Decision Tree