Everyone knows customer service is a big deal –and the stats confirm it!
- A recent survey found that 68% of consumers tell friends and family or post about a bad customer service experience on social media.
- Another survey found that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for better service. Sometimes, consumers are willing to spend more of their time as well. Driving across a distance just for better service is not uncommon!
- Forbes states 96% percent of consumers say good customer service is a determining factor in their loyalty to a brand. The same article states 73% of companies with superior customer service experience higher revenue than their competitors.
Those are startling statistics. The heart of customer service is that people want to be respected and heard –treated as people, not as a customer count number or sales total.
So what makes good customer service?
The bedrock of customer service goes beyond polite friendliness. It is a mindset of:
- Honesty – Being upfront in every area, even when you or your staff made a mistake.
- Empathy – Activating those emotional intelligence skills to read and understand the customer. Doing so will avoid negative reviews. And when you need to deliver news a customer doesn’t want to hear, genuinely sympathizing with their frustration goes a long way.
- Clear Communication– Miscommunications set up false expectations and create frustration. Ensure your employees understand the whole picture, including product knowledge, and know how to communicate it accurately to the customer.
- Attentiveness – Give your customers your full attention. Listen to them. Often, just being heard smooths any ruffled feathers.
- Calm patience – When a customer does have a complaint, remaining calm and patient is key to great customer service, even when they are speaking in the heat of their frustration.
How do you apply customer service in day-to-day business?
- Work as a Team – Team members help one another carry the load. For example, when one person struggles to communicate well with a particular customer, another team member can help de-escalate the situation. Or, when someone has a specific product question that one employee can’t answer, they can connect the customer with another employee. Train employees to keep open communication with each other — after all, it takes a village!
- Fix Your Mistakes – Transparency is paramount. And nothing breathes transparency so well as admitting when you’ve made a mistake and then making it right. This kind of honesty is hard to do and come by, but it stands out. Sometimes, this kind of service means making things right even when you’re not at fault.
- Make the Right Promises – It may be tempting to say anything to make a customer happy, but ensure you only make promises that you can stand behind. When you do make promises, keep them. Going back on your word is never acceptable. Your level of reliability is a huge part of your customer service reputation.
- Provide prompt and efficient service – Good customer service respects and appreciates their customer’s time.
- Go the extra mile – it always pays.
- Use Positive Language – It’s an art form and a learned skill, but teaching your employees this powerful technique is essential. For example, consider the following two statements. They provide the customer with the same information, but the 2nd version focuses on the solution rather than the current negative issue.
- “I can’t get materials to complete your order, so we won’t be able to finish the job for you until next month.”
- “As soon as the materials arrive, we will complete your order. You can expect it next month. I will personally notify you when the order ships out to you so you can track it in transit.”
Building a customer service-oriented culture begins with management. Hiring the right people is another boost. That’s where we at Hamilton Connections come in! We’ll help build your team. Call us today.