Why Customer Service Always Wins
Delivering exceptional customer service seems to be a dying art, but it shouldn't be. Unfortunately, most people have encountered a bad customer service experience, seemingly more often than not, and rather than go through that unpleasant experience again, they will avoid a company where they were treated badly.
The last thing you want is to lose customers due to something that is so preventable. There are plenty of ways to deliver great customer service and it all begins with you.
From the Top Down
The customer service attitude begins at the top. If upper management reflects a positive attitude towards customers, the customer service team will generally follow suit. However, if upper management shows they don't care, why should the rest of the team care?
Hire the Right Attitude
Customer service begins at the hiring process. It's better to hire the right attitudes than it is to try and transform the negative ones. However, if you are not currently hiring, you will have to work with what you've got. And because you want to give your current employees the opportunity to shine.
Define Your Expectations
Don't assume your employees are providing exceptional customer service or that they even know what that means. You have to define exactly what's expected then offer them the proper training to perform up to your standards, especially if you want your entire customer service team to be on the same page.
Tips for Delivering Exceptional Customer Service
There are plenty of ways to deliver exceptional customer service. For example:
- Smile and mean it, even if your talking with your customers over the phone. Nobody likes a fake smile.
- First impressions, last impressions, and everything in-between matters.
- Intentionally speak with caring and kindness and never talk down to anyone, regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable they're being.
- Always go above and beyond the call of duty. That means you should make over-delivering the norm and not the exception.
- Try to build a rapport with every customer.
- Be enthusiastic.
- Truly care about your customers and not just act like you do. Your customers will be able to tell the difference.
- Always be respectful. Say please and thank you and treat all your customers like you would want to be treated yourself.
- Treat customer service as if it were marketing.
- Be accountable and don't avoid or put off handling a problem. Being proactive is always the best way to handle any situation.
- Timely follow-up is critical. Always follow up with your customers to make sure they are completely satisfied with the outcome of their experience with your company.
Inspect What You Expect
After you've thoroughly trained your employees to deliver exceptional customer service, you will need to routinely test them using mystery shoppers. This will help ensure your team is performing as expected and to identify any potential problems before those problems turn into a negative voice directed at your brand. This will also provide you with the opportunity to offer additional training when needed and replace a negative attitude if one of your employees isn't suited for a career in customer service. Additionally, you might also consider rewarding those employees who are consistently delivering exceptional customer service above and beyond your expectations. Money talks and will help keep your team motivated.
The Bottom Line
Customer service will never die. In fact, customer service is more important than ever, especially with the use of social media and the power of online customer reviews. Most people trust online reviews as much if not more than personal recommendations. Therefore, your customer service needs to be better than ever and definitely better than your competition!
That means you need to do whatever it takes to make sure delivering exceptional customer service is your team's number one priority. Hire a professional, buy some expert customer service training courses, send your team to training classes and spend as much time role-playing as needed until it's engrained in your employees' minds and eventually becomes second nature. There's no excuse for bad customer service.