hat does it mean to have excellent customer service, though? How do you ensure that any customer who contacts your company for assistance has a positive experience? We've identified many strategies for elevating your customer experience to the forefront of your industry.
What makes Customer Service Great?
Great customer service entails not just adhering to industry best practices such as respecting the customer's time, maintaining a friendly demeanor, and offering professional and resourceful services, but also going above and beyond to reach — rather than only meet — standards.
Follow the tips below to meet the customers' needs and have excellent customer service.
Find out what modern customer service involves and what your customers expect from you by allowing them to take our customer satisfaction surveys. Get in touch.
10 Tips to Markedly Improve & Introduce Consistency into your Customer Service Delivery
Although there are many ways to entertain your customers and have them raving about your help to their mates, here are our top 10 suggestions for providing excellent customer service.
1 | Thoroughly Understand your Product
As a customer service representative, you spend your days troubleshooting for customers, which necessitates product knowledge.
A broad understanding of your product is important to customer serviceability. You should ideally believe in the product, be able to address features and use cases intelligently, and demonstrate to your customers how the product will help them — not to mention troubleshoot any issues!
Your job is to make sure your customers get the best out of their purchases and feel like they got a good deal. Make it a priority to learn all you can about your product so you can wow your customers with timely suggestions for new features and services.
An excellent way to learn end-to-end about your product and hence deliver great customer service is to conduct and participate in customer service training or coaching programs.
What is Customer Service Coaching or Training?
Customer service coaching is the practice of an agent and their manager communicating regularly to focus on how to refine specific skills, accomplish particular goals, and strengthen their craft so that they can handle even the most challenging customer encounters.
Coaching is a powerful performance improvement tool, described by MIT as:
“ A collaboration between the manager and the employee that provides a mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished and how it is to be achieved. ”
Coaching, at its finest, enhances customer service training by promoting service values, driving ongoing performance changes, and the agents' motivation and morale.
Wondering how you can improve your customer service training? Here are 5 suggestions on how to make the customer service coaching program more efficient and valuable.
- Train your customer service team strategically. Focus more on improving those who are already better than the rest of the team is doing their job without concentrating heavily on low performers.
- Micro-coach your agents for hours on end. We mean impromptu coaching sessions in short bursts where managers meet with agents one-on-one to review realistic, real-time performance details, making the meeting both intimate and actionable for the agent.
- Spend your resources wisely. Coaching individual agents on any change or service problem that affects the whole team is too much of a burden for managers and too expensive for your company. Instead, team training sessions can be scheduled.
- Respect your agent's perspective. Going into the session, be aware of the agent's mood, understanding, and needs. Is the agent a top performer, an average performer, or a poor performer? Do agents and managers have access to the same performance data? Be prepared to respond to any questions that may arise.
- Every customer service coaching session should have a particular goal in mind. In this case, the rule of diminishing returns applies. The more information you try to cram into a coaching session, the less the agent can learn. Concentrate the conversation on a single aspect of success.
Use these suggestions for your upcoming customer service sessions and watch the magic unfold among your service agents.
2 | Have a Positive Attitude
When it comes to delivering excellent customer service, attitude is everything, and having a good attitude goes a long way.
“ Having the right mindset will transform negative customer interactions into positive ones. Since most customer encounters aren't face-to-face, your tone of voice and vocabulary should reflect your attitude. ”
~Flavio Martins, VP of Operations & Customer Service, DigiCert Inc.
It's simple to misinterpret the tone of voice in written communication, and email or live chat may seem cold. Your brain interprets someone else's emotional tone using a variety of cues, including body language and facial expression, many of which are missing online.
If an email or chat conversation becomes awkward, don't be afraid to use emojis to express comfort and good humor, or pick up the phone.
3 | Proactively Solve Problems
About 80% of consumers have abandoned a company due to poor customer service. That's why you should enjoy resolving problems for your customers and making it a core part of your support position – because there will still be problems to resolve.
Zappos is well-known for its iconic customer service. They once sent a best man free shoes the night before the wedding after his order was sent to the wrong place due to a shipping company error. Zappos not only solved a dilemma but also exemplified outstanding customer service, earning the guy a lifelong customer and providing him with a story he couldn't wait to tell.
Don't be afraid to dazzle your clients when attempting to solve their problems. You might simply fix the problem and move on, but by going above and beyond to satisfy their needs, you'll develop customers that are loyal to you and your product.
4 | Be Quick With Replies
66% of people agree that the most critical aspect of any online customer experience is valuing their time. A hallmark of successful customer service is rapidly resolving customer inquiries. Speed should be a priority, particularly for minor issues that don't take long to resolve.
Having said that, great customer service still wins out over pace.
Customers are aware that more complicated issues take longer to address. There's a difference between how long it takes you to answer and how quickly you fix their problems. Customers do not want to wait in a ticket queue, but they are willing to wait as long as it takes to fix their problem. You should do the same.
Return customer calls as soon as possible, but don't try to get them off the phone or close the ticket without fully resolving the problem.
5 | Personalize your Customer Service
Customers want improved human support in 40% of cases. This signifies that they want to experience more than just a number on a ticket. They become enraged when they are not handled as individuals, receive boilerplate replies, or are passed around like a basketball to various people.
Customers prefer to communicate with people rather than businesses. It's one of the reasons so many companies give birthday presents to their customers.
Do you know your customers' birthdays as well as their names? What are their passions or pastimes? Are you able to make them laugh?
Obviously, this isn't practical for everyone, but going off script and adding a personal touch where you can is an effective way to show your customers that you know who they are and that they matter to you.
6 | Assist Customers in Helping Themselves
On the other hand, customers don't necessarily want to speak with others to solve their problems. Instead, they prefer to solve their problems easily themselves. Until contacting a live agent, 81% of customers try to resolve issues on their own. According to additional data, 71% of people want to be able to handle most customer service problems on their own.
Self-service is a flexible, cost-effective way to make customers happy. Put up help content front and center so consumers can find answers right where they are without leaving the website. And, if they can't answer their own question, they can get advice from a real person.
7 | Have a Customer-Focused Service
Customers are the most important aspect of your market, and they take precedence over goods and profits. Treat them as if they're the core of your universe, which they are.
“ It's time to think about a completely new approach: putting great people and clever technologies together to build human-centric customer service. As a result, get to know your clients. Make them more human. Make yourself more human. It's well worth it. ”
~Kristin Smaby, in her book Being Human, is Good Business.
When one of Southwest Airlines' pilots kept a flight back to wait for a customer traveling to a funeral, he memorably demonstrated this idea. They prioritize people over goals, and the customer will never forget it.
8 | Listen Actively & Attentively
Looking back over the results and listening in real-time are two ways to pay attention to consumer input. When your customers take the time to talk with you, show them that you care. Listening increases the likelihood of hearing and successfully solving the customers' real issues, resulting in happy customers.
Pay attention to what they're saying instead of pursuing your own agenda. Don't make the mistake of assuming you know what your customer would think.
Demonstrate active listening skills by saying things like "It sounds like..." and "Do you mean..." or "Let me make sure I've got this right" on the phone or in a live chat. To demonstrate that you've heard them, repeat the issue to them on your own terms.
Active listening often entails being aware of your customer's distinct personality and current emotional state to tailor your response to the circumstances. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service.
9 | Keep your Promise
It is common sense customer service to make sure you deliver on what you promise. Don't disappoint your clients. It takes respect and confidence to keep your promise.
If you pledge a 99% SLA uptime, for example, make sure you deliver on that promise. If you say you'll create a feature in your software in a certain amount of time, make sure you follow through.
If you don't keep your promise, such as when you say you'll respond to a customer within 24 hours but don't, give anything to make up for it. If your customer's delivery is damaged, offer to repair it and reimburse their money. You will lose money in the short term, but you will gain a loyal customer in the long run.
Ironically, customers aren't very happy when you deliver more than you promised. If you break a vow, however, they become enraged. Therefore, it's preferable to under-promise and over-deliver to avoid breaching this crucial social contract.
10 | Strive to be Helpful
One of the most important things you can do to have excellent customer service is to go the extra mile. When you've checked off all the boxes but still want to do something.
Being supportive often entails understanding the customers' desires before they even have the opportunity to express them. In reality, customers can request one thing without understanding they need something else. It is your responsibility to foresee and meet their needs.
Customers will return if they believe you value them — that they are genuinely valuable to you. This may be attributed to the social psychology concept of reciprocity: if you do anything good for your customers, they would want to reciprocate by buying your goods!
When a customer asked where she could buy an alarm clock that was in her bed, the Gaylord Opryland hotel in Nashville provided genuinely helpful customer service. The hotel surprised her with one as a parting present, resulting in one very happy customer.
Sending them a small gift "just because" or providing them with a unique promotional code will stroke their egos while demonstrating your sincere gratitude for their company.
Providing Genuinely Great Customer Service Goes a Long Way in Growing your Business
All of the above factors come together to deliver excellent customer service. Great customer service gives you a reputation for being helpful and pleasant to work with, and it keeps your customers loyal to you and your company.
Customers want to be handled as individuals rather than numbers in a queue. For customer service-driven development, humanize them and yourself.
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