Providing Better Customer Service

“Choose to deliver amazing service to your customers. You’ll stand out because they don’t get it anywhere else.” –Kevin Stirtz

It seems like a simple sentiment – providing better customer service, but by focusing on this sentiment, a company can consistently improve on the experiences a customer would have with the company. Does this sentiment have any significance for your company? The truth about providing better customer service is that it would need to be an on-going and relentless activity, where customers receive a seamless and effortless standard of service at all times and through all touch-points. Customers, especially the ones that seek help for a problem, must be treated with respect and urgency, since not doing so can make them feel ignored and unimportant, and lead them to seek a company that treats them better. By constantly endeavouring to provide better customer service a company would gain the trust and respect of its customers, who would then be more inclined to buying more from the company and recommending it to others as well.

What steps does your company take for providing better customer service? The fact is that doing so consistently is certainly not a ‘walk in the park’ and can prove to be a highly challenging task. It requires patience, tenacity, persistence, and resoluteness to serve customers, complemented by top class communication, and efficient employees who would serve customers to the best of their ability. It may seem clichéd, but practicing patience and active listening are two main aspects of providing better customer service. Customer service is a day in and day out task – the problems and issues within this realm can sometimes prove to be overwhelming, leading to irritation and annoyance on the part of the service staff. However, practicing patience and truly attempting to understand the problem of the customers would help to ease out several problems, and allow the service staff to manage efficiently and swiftly all their customers. This is true, even more so, in the face of dealing with a difficult customer – keeping calm and patient usually helps to provide confidence to the customer that their problem would be addressed satisfactorily.

Staying alert and being able to predict a problem is also a great way of providing better customer service. There could occasions where a single customer could have several problems related to one particular issue. This would happen if the problems occurred at different times – extending over a period of time. In such cases, a customer may interact with several different customer service representatives, and unless the company has a standard and structured method of addressing problems, the customer could end up frustrated from having to repeat the problem and other details. A centralized database is the solution – one that is easily accessed and updated by the teams that need customer details. The service representatives must additionally, be proficient in anticipating related problems, and offer solutions even before customers realize the potential problems. By providing efficacious solutions, a company can save on several potential issues and costs, and gain the trust of its customers.

Often said, but violated a lot is the common norm of keeping the promises made to customers. In a bid to gain more customers, and make more sales, companies tend to over promise and make ‘untrue’ claims about their abilities and strengths. When customers come to realize the untruths, their belief in the company is shaken, and they would take the first opportunity they get, to break away from the company. Providing better customer service is about ensuring that a company not only delivers on the promises it makes, but also surprises its customers with a lot more, leading to delighted customers. All service guarantees must be adhered to sincerely, and a company must make every effort to give customers all that they seek and more.

We have repeated this often – customers do not like to wait, especially since they have several options, and if they have taken the trouble to connect with a company, they expect service in a timely and efficient manner. By acknowledging them and paying attention when they speak, a company can ensure that their customers feel valued and welcome. The first few seconds of an interaction are usually sufficient for a customer to make an assessment about a company and the service it provides. It is seldom that companies get a second chance to make a first impression – and by aiming to provide better customer service each time, a company can insure the customer’s respect, trust, and long-term business, which is one of the surest and shortest routes to success. Not only is acknowledging customers important, it is equally essential to ensure that the greeting reveal genuine care, desire to help, and unfeigned interest in the customer’s issues. Before beginning to speak, the demeanour of the customer service representatives should be encouraging enough, such that the customers would want to express themselves in the clearest and most lucid manner – even the irate ones.

Once the customer is able to put forth their request and or problems, the service representatives must show eagerness to help, which must be unfeigned, controlled, and definitely not rote. Sometimes customers enter a store just to look around, and service representatives must be wise enough to let them be until they seek information. Overcrowding them or overwhelming them with suggestions or constantly interrupting their visit, is not better customer service, it is a sure shot way to send them ‘bolting for the door’. If the customers do decide to ask questions, it would be imperative to listen to them carefully and attentively such that their words and non-verbal communication is easily understood and comprehended in the right way. This would ensure that the service representatives would be able respond intelligently, share the required knowledge of the company’s offerings and offers, and let customers know exactly what they want to know.

Providing better customer service would mean being able to offer pertinent and relevant information, which in turn means that which is important and related to the needs and expectations of customers and not about the company and its offerings. The answers customers receive on their queries / questions from a company / its representatives would greatly influence their buying decisions and create an impression about the customer service of the company. It would be necessary therefore for the company to remain alert and knowledgeable, and focused on the customer such the service provided is better each time. It would be important also to ensure that every interaction with customers be courteous, pleasant, and respectful such that customers recall the company with pleasant memories, and would be certain to either come back with business and or recommend the company to others, or both.

All of the above while aimed at providing better customer service, would not be complete unless the company consistently shows appreciation and thankfulness to the customers for their business. Outward expressions of gratefulness such as special offers, discounts, incentives, and other such appreciations, encourage the customers to remain with a company and be effective brand advocates. Providing better customer service is the most basic part of a company’s association with its customers. The challenge is doing so consistently and with all customers, such that not only do they remain with the company but bring more customers with them.

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