What does Customer Service mean? It is far more than simply the method in which an agent speaks with a customer. In fact, Forbes defines the customer experience as the “cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints”. The creation of a positive customer interaction can be a challenge, considering there are so many facets related with a customer’s overall experience. The handling of the customer themselves, a company’s ethical standards, and the atmosphere while shopping are just a few factors that influence a customer’s general experience.
Let’s first take a look at the most obvious aspect of customer service, the human interaction. When assisting a customer, there are some key elements you must apply: Active listening, connect, empathize, stay positive, go the extra mile, and follow up.
Active Listening is a form of communication that is extremely important. Rather than normal listening, active listening is a technique used in counseling, training, and conflict resolution. It necessitates that the listener thoroughly concentrates, comprehends, replies, and then retains everything that was said.
Building onto this skill, is to form a connection with the customer. You have listened and now you must show understanding. Empathizing with your customer communicates to them that you are on their side, and willing to help. Furthermore, you must retain a pleasant and positive attitude as they remain hopeful that you can aid them in finding a resolution. Going the extra mile to find a solution to your customer’s issue will go a long way. Customers value an easy and pleasant fix to their problems.
It is also understandable that you are limited to the rules outlined within your company policy, and sometimes there is no solution to a customer’s specific issue. After you have explored all aspects of how to possibly assist them, but unfortunately nothing will work, you must now break the news to the customer. Clearly and politely explain the reasons why you may be unable to assist them with this particular problem. Since you have given the time to listen, understand, empathize, and remained pleasant, the customer should now also feel more inclined to listen to your explanation, understand and accept your response.
Of Course, this may not always be the case. Not all customers are the same, and not all customers will return the same level of consideration as you have given them. These are the customers that don’t like hearing that nothing can be done, and will overlook the effort you have put in to find possible solutions. It is at this point when you can politely refer them to a manager, or if you are authorized to do so, continue to go the extra mile to turn them around by extending them an offer or invitation for another product or service for their trouble.
Lastly, you will want to follow up with every customer for both feedback, and to see if there is anything additional they may require assistance with. This extends to both happy, and formerly disgruntled customers alike. Remembering the conversation you had with them and following up, shows the customer that they have not been forgotten, and still remain a valued patron to your business. Overall, this attention to detail serves as a polished and professional finishing touch.
In addition to the conversation with the customer, presentation and atmosphere also apply to their overall satisfaction. Keeping the environment clean and comfortable, keeping your own appearance tidy, and giving the customer the right amount of space is crucial. Do not be overpowering, over watchful, or crowd the customer, as that can be off-putting for them. Once or twice approaching the customer to introduce yourself, greeting them with a smile, while letting them know you are available to help them is all that is required. Maintain your availability from a respectful distance, and the customer will then know to come to you after that if they have any questions or further requests.
An important way to view customer service is to look inward. We are all customers ourselves throughout our daily lives. How do we wish to be treated? Think about an experience you have had as a customer, both good and bad. How did you feel when approached? How did the agent speak to you, recall their voice inflection, did they actively listen, and were you satisfied with how things were handled? Think about how you would have liked to have been spoken to, and repeat that level of expectation with your own customers. Your standards should be equal to how you wish to be treated yourself.
Have you also noticed that your own attitude as a customer directly influences the attitude of the agent assisting you? You should be polite to the person helping you if you indeed expect the best possible service in return. Sometimes an angry customer cannot be helped simply because they become verbally abusive toward the service agent. Behavior such as this is often not tolerated, and we would not wish that for ourselves either. A customer is easiest to help when they are cooperative and patient, and their overall experience will be significantly better.
Also, what types of follow up did you receive from the agent? Was this helpful to you, or did you find it annoying? What types of follow up would you have welcomed? Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, and vise-versa, is an important empathetic exercise to grow your understanding and connections with your customers.
So we have now established the importance of customer service, and the many factors that come together to produce a single satisfied customer. These are skills that are not mastered overnight, but come from the right amount of experience, empathy, and education. In the customer service world, confidence and knowledge is power, and can make executing these abilities develop into a second nature. Let TrainUp help you along your path to becoming the best you can be with the following classes:
|Customer ServiceCourse ID: 247188|
|Customer Service over the Phone Online courseCourse ID: 202769http://www.trainup.com/TrainingDetails/202769/Customer-Service-over-the-Phone|
|Customer Service Representative, Professionalism e-learning bundleCourse ID: 252587|