Hardly anything is more obvious in business than that high-quality customer service creates loyal customers — customers so pleased by how you treat them that they literally won’t stop talking about it to friends, colleagues, family and others. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they become a part of your business. As they say, the best advertising is word-of-mouth. The question is how to achieve this. How do you “wow” your customers to such a degree that they become your client and booster for life?
The following are the four pillars on which excellent customer service stands.
1. Build trust. When communicating with customers, it’s important to build trust with every interaction by ensuring that all information provided is reliable, accurate, and consistent. Train your team to recognise that everything they say and promise will be remembered by your customers. Hence, it’s very important to be truthful about your products and/or services…and not to offer inaccurate or misleading information. If they don’t know the answer or can’t help a customer immediately with the knowledge and information they have, a system must be in place that lets them find answers and staff must be trained on how to follow up with answers for customers.
Trust is hard to build and easy to lose. Once lost, it may be impossible to retrieve. When consistently reinforced, it engenders loyalty and devotion.
2. Demonstrate competence. No one should know your product or service better than your customer service team. The team should be thoroughly familiarised with your product or service so they could handle all basic questions with first-hand competence and even more advanced ones.
Do not skimp on this type of training and familiarisation: they will repay you in spades. There’s nothing more frustrating than customer service that seems incapable of addressing basic issues. Once your customer service team has experienced your product or service, it will be ready to make a great impression and offer valuable assistance based on first-hand knowledge.
3. Listen actively. In many cases, customers already know or sense what they want. But they don’t always clearly articulate it. That’s why it’s important to listen attentively and try to get as much relevant information as possible from your customers. Active listening and the ability to ask the right questions will help you better fulfill your customers’ needs.
4. Convey warmth and empathy. Your customers must feel that your team truly wants to help them. That feeling goes a long way towards compensating the feelings of frustration that often drive communication with customer service.
Managing your team’s emotional responses to customer complaints can be tricky, but it is crucial. It’s not easy to not let the negativity and confrontational communication that may come their way affect their ability to remain calm, professional, and empathetic. It is crucial that your team learn to effectively manage their own emotions and understand the nonverbal behavior of your customers.
Again, training helps enormously. Help your team understand the psychology of such interactions and equip them with appropriate strategies that help them stay warm and empathetic even if faced with negativity or provoked. It can take some practice, but the value this will add and the loyalty it can inspire is tremendous.