Customer service is a secret weapon.
It shouldn’t be a secret, though. If you think about it, the one thing that can make the difference between a casual customer and a brand evangelist is the level of customer service they are provided with. Customers contact a company’s customer service team when they encounter an issue with a product or service. If they come away with a quick solution and additional resources, they’re likely to remember how efficiently their problem was solved and tell their family and friends about it.
The list of customer service skills you can teach your team or the ways you can improve the customer’s experience can go on forever. We’ve outlined nine tips you can use to give your customers the assistance they’re after.
You will always be able to find new ways to improve your customer service processes. We’ve put together a list of tips to keep at the front of your mind every day.
You’ve heard the phrase, “customer service begins with a smile” and guess what? It’s true. This tip is especially important for customer service representatives that work at retail locations. A friendly face should be the first thing your customers see when they come up and ask for help. Although less physical, smiling when you answer a call can be heard through the phone, so make sure you are consistently coming to work with a positive demeanor.
This one goes out to managers, team leads, higher-ups, whatever you want to call it. Because you are a leader, you are the face of the business. When a representative speaks on behalf of the business (which they do every single day), they represent you. This is why the tone you set for your team is so important.
The way you communicate with your team sets the tone for how they should communicate. From the way you speak in the emails you send to the way you interact with your team every day, you are laying the ground rules for how they are allowed to act.
If someone who directs a team doesn’t take the time to know the names of their team members, it can come off hypocritical. Actions will always speak louder than words. Set the example for the team in how you speak to customers.
This may seem obvious, but plenty of businesses don’t take the time to implement thorough enough customer service training across the team. To deliver great customer service, you need to know the product or service you’re selling inside and out. If you manage the team, make sure they know they can come to you with any questions. If you’re a customer service rep yourself, help your colleagues out if they’re struggling. Hold team-wide training sessions once the majority of the team is onboarded. Take note of the most common questions customers ask and practice how you communicate the answer to them.
If a customer has to come back multiple times to get their issue resolved, there’s a problem with your customer service. Step into the customer’s shoes and think about what they really want. Nine times out of ten, they just want a simple solution and a friendly exchange. Keep in mind that you’re solving for the customer’s needs, not your own. Instead of cutting corners or directing them to another rep, remind your team that they should care about fixing the issue as much as the customer does. Short-term fixes will not suffice. Solve the issue, and better yet, solve it to prevent issues in the future.
Stop apologizing. When a rep continues to say “I’m sorry”, customers are forced to coddle them even if they aren’t providing adequate service.
When you’re on a call, don’t apologize for an unforeseen roadblock. Thank them for their patience instead. When you apologize multiple times throughout the conversation, you’re giving the customer more and more leeway to become upset with you. You’re essentially telling them that the service you’re providing is flawed.
When you thank your customers instead, you take responsibility for the mistake and reassure instead of instigating them. You’ll appear to have more control over the situation if you don’t continually apologize for any roadblocks you’re facing.
As your customer service team grows in size, using the correct tools is a crucial element of providing great service. The number of customers reaching out for help will only increase, so whittling down a few key tools for the team is important to keep things streamlined.
This can include automation tools, help desks, ticketing systems, or live chat software to manage incoming calls and requests. All teams are different, so assess the areas you need extra help and deploy a tool for an extra set of hands.
One tool that can give you that extra assistance is a help desk. Help desk software is designed to provide a customer with information and support regarding a company’s products or services. Check out the top tools and try one today.
The last thing you want to do is frustrate and belittle your customers. Using positive language is a great way to respect their intelligence and avoid unnecessary conflict.
For example, say you need to tell the customer that one of your products is currently out of stock and won’t be back for three weeks. Consider the following responses:
Changing the attitude and tone of the conversation lets the customer know that you’re focused on solving their problem. Instead of shutting the conversation down right away, aim to speak positively and give them what they want to the best of your ability.
Leave customers with a sweet taste in their mouths. Salespeople have a saying, “always be closing” and while this sales strategy refers to closing a sale, customer service reps will need to focus on another type of closing. Closing the conversation.
The one thing customers want is for their issue to be solved quickly and with no hassle. Studies suggests that as little as 4% of dissatisfied customers will speak up about their unhappiness. Keep in mind that not everyone will let you know what’s really bothering them. This is where closing the conversation comes in.
When you wrap up a customer call, your desire to close the conversation correctly shows three things:
You’re willing to spend as much time as needed to solve the issue.
The goal for you as a customer service rep is to hear “Yep, I’m good to go!” at the end of every interaction. Strive to push yourself and the team to hear the customer’s affirmation every time. And if it’s missing, don’t stop until you get it.
The customer’s opinion is gold and you can learn a lot about how the public views your business just by sending out a few surveys. Using customer surveys, questionnaires, and feedback forms is one way to collect this data, but you can also receive it instantly if you ask at the end of an order.
Calculating scores like the CSAT and NPS can help your team to identify areas that require improvement and go about making the changes to do so. Providing great customer service relies on checking in with your customers and making sure they’re satisfied. Make them feel like their opinion matters to you while collecting crucial data that can inform future processes.
Customer service can be two things: a simple means to an end or the reason why your audience trusts and respects your company. Treat your customers with dignity and always strive to solve their problems quickly and painlessly. Don’t make them do your job for you. Go above and beyond to help them out and get the most out of your product. It’ll give them a reason to talk about it to their friends and spread awareness for you.
Alexa is a former Content Marketing Associate at G2. Born and raised in Chicago, she went to Columbia College Chicago and entered the world of all things event marketing and social media. In her free time, she likes being outside with her dog, creating playlists, and dabbling in Illustrator. (she/her/hers)
Subscribe to keep your fingers on the tech pulse.