“Service with a smile” This is a very popular line that everyone knows, especially when it comes to customer service. When I say Customer Service, you might simply think of how someone speaks to you, how they smile at you, and so on. You’re not far off the mark.
Customer Service is the support, assistance, and advice provided to customers or anyone who interacts with a business. In our last blog, we discussed how to build your customers’ experiences from beginning to end and the actions conducted before, during, and after consumer purchases. But let’s go a little deeper now.
Customer Service Channels
How can we ensure we are connected to our customers? Easy: through a customer experience strategy known as Omnichannel Customer Service. This entails creating consistent communications across multiple customer service channels. Among these channels are :
- Phone calls
- Mobile messaging
- Social media and networking sites
- Video calls
Which one do you prefer? Which one suits you best?
Customer Service Traits
It does not end there. It is one thing to have these channels, but we also need to know how to use them. To deliver good customer service, certain skills (qualities and abilities) are required.
- Customer-First Mindset: “The customer is always right” – well, this might not always work. It would be beneficial to first examine the events surrounding a certain customer’s experience. Next, tailor the customer’s experience to their specific demands and concerns. In other words, be flexible in your solutions. Remember at the end of the day, your customer should be satisfied.
- Collaboration Skills: There is no “I” in “Team”, even in customer service. Although an inquiry may not come directly to you, teamwork is required to ensure that all of your customers’ concerns are addressed. It could be a financial question – you may not work in finance, but your colleague will be able to help you find a solution.
- Problem Solving: A problem could be minor, such as an inquiry about how to pay for services offered, or it could be major. In any case, it would ease your customer’s tension to know that a solution is going to be provided. After identifying a problem, ensure that you understand the cause and take the actionable steps to remedy the situation.
- Interpersonal & Communication Skills: How are you communicating with your customers? Are you providing correct and accurate information? Are you providing positive feedback and responses? Has your customer understood what you are saying? Have you provided them with all the information they require? All these can help build a trusting relationship with your customer.
- Transparency: Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than being kept waiting with no explanation. With the rapid advancements in technology, there are numerous ways to notify your customers that you will contact them as soon as possible. AI Chatbots and callback systems are examples of this as they can let you know that someone is waiting to speak with you. Did you know you can also play relaxing classical music while your customer waits to speak with you? In other words, do not wait three business days before responding to a client (unless otherwise agreed).
- Active Listening: What does your customer want or need from your product/service? What is the tone of their voice? What is their body language? It’s never just about what your customer says; it’s about caring about what they’re feeling. This skill will make them feel valued and it will also make it easier to provide suitable solutions to your consumers.
- Positive Attitude: Have you ever whispered to someone and in turn, they start whispering back, even if they don’t know why? How we communicate and the energy we give when doing so will always be reciprocated. So, are you cold and harsh, or are you happy and receptive? Hopefully the latter, as a positive attitude will leave your customers with a good impression of your business, thus increasing customer retention.
- Empathy: I’m sure you have heard the phrase “add fuel to the fire”. Well, empathy is the opposite of that. Remember that your purpose in every connection with a customer, whether they are pleased, sad, furious, or confused, is to ensure that their needs and concerns are understood. Allow them to fully express themselves before responding. Try to put yourself in their shoes – how would you handle the mentioned problem?
- Patience: “Patience is a virtue”. Truth be told, not everyone will be a ray of sunshine when speaking with you. Don’t take it personally and try to separate your emotions from your business. It will benefit your reputation if you bear with them. Remain calm and collected and focus your attention on addressing your customers. #keep-your-cool.
- Emotional Intelligence: What do you do when you are angry, sad, overwhelmed, or even scared? You may be experiencing these emotions while dealing with a customer who is also experiencing some discomfort. Strong emotional intelligence will help you remain calm in such situations. You can practice some deep breaths to help you before tackling trying tasks. It is also good to have an outlet – go for a jog, speak to a friend, maybe have some chocolate.
Now, ask yourself, “Do I provide good or bad customer service?”
Consumers not reaching you, terrible automated phone prompts, excessive wait periods, and consumers being moved several times are all examples of bad customer service. If you also ignore the other ten traits, you can be certain that your customer will never return to your business.
Good customer service, on the other hand, includes delivering quick first-response times, meeting customers where they are in their needs, helping customers help themselves, and being proactive. Together with the ten qualities described above, you can be certain that your clients will never want to leave.