Key Customer Service Skills and Strategies

“To succeed in business you need to be original, but you also need to understand what your customers want,” — Richard Branson

Every business enterprise needs to cater to the needs of its customers. To that end, the business should train its staff members in customer service skills and strategies. A positive outlook should be the first priority when it comes to serving the customer. We may assume that the customer has a complaint or a serious concern regarding a product or a service. The business should respond to this situation by engaging with the customer and assuring him or her of all the assistance it can provide to remedy the situation. Consider this: a showroom that sells cosmetics and beauty products hosts a hundred customers a day. Every customer may not make a purchase, but the business should use customer service skills and strategies to convert every visitor into a paying customer. We could say that every customer interaction should be infused with enthusiasm and positivity. The sales personnel should allow the customers to peruse the wares on display before making a choice. However, special attention should be paid to customers that complain, because this offers the business enterprise an opportunity to deepen the customer interaction. Additional products should be offered to said customer; the specific complaint should be examined in detail and thereafter, resolved with care. This may satisfy the customer and can translate into an emphatic win for the enterprise.

A detailed knowledge of the products and services is important for every customer facing executive. This can create an impression of professional competence on the part of the business and may serve to inform the customer about the many choices available to him or her. A customer interaction predicated on such knowledge can lead to fruitful business outcomes and can enhance the market reputation of said enterprise. The technical details of a product or a service should be mastered by every customer-facing business executive. Such knowledge can also help business executives in cross selling and up selling activities. These are important for the modern enterprise because the multiplicity of products and services should be marketed efficiently. We could say that every person on the payroll of the enterprise should make it a point to gain a deep knowledge about products and services. Periodic updates to the knowledge base are critical because these can help to maximize value for the clients by providing clear and complete information. Further, product knowledge also assumes importance because modern businesses operate in competitive markets and therefore, should exert themselves to attract and retain every customer.

The modern business enterprise should try to build a consistent track record of its interactions with various customers. This information is important because it can be used to train and inform staff members about human behaviour, the likes and dislikes of particular customers, and the various strategies that can be used to deal with customers. We could say that the data from prior customer interactions can be leveraged to educate corporate staff on a continuous basis. This initiative could also qualify to be used for on-the-job training modules to bring fresh recruits up to speed. The key human attributes of empathy, patience, and paying attention can be inculcated into all staff personnel through the use of such information. In addition, cross-functional skills must be encouraged to prevent the business from being restricted to silos. An executive should be skilled in multiple disciplines in the interests of serving the business enterprise. We could well say that customer interaction can be raised to the level of an art, provided the business chooses to invest systematically in such skill development programmes.

Empathy and patience are widely acknowledged to represent key customer service skills. These qualities need to be cultivated over a period of time because of their centrality to crafting a superior customer service experience. The staff persons should realize that even a solitary customer complaint poses a challenge to the business enterprise and needs to be treated delicately. In addition, the realization must include that a paying customer is entitled to his or her expectations and the business is duty-bound to fulfil its promises. Therefore, staff personnel have to listen carefully and analyse the complaint before they set in motion internal processes to resolve the situation. Every customer complaint may not be resolved immediately; therefore, the business enterprise should track the issue and work towards resolution within a reasonable time frame. This needs to be communicated to the customer in an effort to manage customer expectations. Subsequently, the customer may be polled for feedback and for his or her opinion regarding the outcome.

A seasoned business executive should have the ability to read customers. This skill ranks high among customer service skills and strategies. The customer’s body language, his or her choice of words, external appearance, countenance, etc. can be quickly assessed by an experienced customer service executive. We could say that this assessment helps to prepare the executive to deal with said customer. We must note that this skill can be developed and honed over time and must be wielded to deal effectively with any customer. The business executive should make it a point to accomplish this survey discreetly and use additional information that emerges from the subsequent conversation to solve the customer’s problem(s). We note that a case study could be developed to capture the interaction for future examination and analysis. This initiative can ensure that the particular details of an interesting interaction are preserved for posterity.

Conversational skills are important for business interactions; therefore, every customer-facing business executive should be trained in the craft of initiating and pursuing a meaningful conversation. A polite and respectful attitude can also help to set the tone for a business interaction. These qualities can help customers to form an impression that the business is interested in their problems and concerns. In addition, small talk can help to relieve tension and (any frustration) that may have built up in the customer. These soft skills can engage customers sufficiently so that they can relate their concerns about a product or a service. The interaction also has the ability to create confidence and support a rapport between the customer and the business; this can be critical in helping both the parties to arrive at a desired outcome. The positive impression created by a successful business interaction can pay long term dividends to the business enterprise in the form of enhanced customer mind share. We should note that this ranks as a significant achievement by any business.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed the various techniques that inform customer service skills and strategies. A corporate enterprise and its employees should invest effort to continuously upgrade these skills in the interests of achieving fine business outcomes. We could say that the enterprise should be able to lock in the customer through excellent service. These efforts can also help to expand the customer base, and win accolades for the business. We must bear in mind that a corporate reputation takes time and effort to be created. First rate customer service skills can help to burnish and sustain such reputations. An emphatic stamp of customer approval should work to the benefit of every business enterprise.

 

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