Your company’s most vital asset is its customers and employees, so be sure to support them properly. In terms of customers, without them, you would not, and could not, exist in business. Sure, you can attract new customers, but if you’re not creating relationships with them, they’re not going to return or recommend you. In this day and age, reviews and referrals are critical to the success of your business.
Sometimes it can be challenging to build those relationships. The questions you get asked in a customer facing role can be in equal parts interesting, monotonous, crazy and challenging. The key is to make each customer feel welcome and supported.
Here are 10 (or 11) tips for dealing with customers and delivering excellent customer service:
0. Don’t Take it Personally – This is ground zero of customer support. Customers request a change or don’t like the product/service. Instead of asking for more info and gaining more insight, people tend to take it personally. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Seek to understand and adjust your service or support accordingly. Think about it from their perspective, this could be their “baby”, their dream, or they are simply having a bad day, so be willing to take a little criticism or backlash. If you can get over the hurdle, they may be customers for life.
1. Truly Listen – Sometimes, customers just need to know that you’re listening. If they’re confused or have a problem, by lending a listening ear, you’re showing that you care and that you’re not dismissing them. You would be surprised how most people simply don’t listen. If you do, you may even discover how you can best support them. Studies show 91% of customers will remain with a provider after a good customer service contact. Read more here.
2. Apologize – When something goes wrong, apologize. It’s amazing how calming the words “I’m sorry” can be. Don’t engage in fault-finding or laying blame, but let them know you’re sorry they had a problem. Deal with the problem immediately and let the customer know what you have done. Also, do it immediately. Don’t wait a day or week, do it asap, or at least tell them you are working to resolve the issue.
3. Take Them Seriously – Make customers feel important and appreciated. No matter how ridiculous a question may sound to you; it’s important to the customer. If they feel like they’re being laughed at, or spoken down to, they will not purchase anything. Customers can be very sensitive and will know whether or not you really care about them.
4. Stay Calm – Difficult as it is sometimes, it is important to stay calm. Your calming approach will help your customer stay calm too. They will feel like you’re in control of the situation and that you can help solve their problem. You may even need to tell them, I understand and will support any way I can. From experience, I’ve had some crazy customer interactions, but most of them have remained customers for many years. Don’t write off someone from one bad experience, they may have been upset for an entirely different reason out of your control. We all have our moments and the view from higher ground is always better.
5. Identify and Anticipate Needs – Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you’re aware of problems or upcoming needs. For example, we are a website agency and are quick to provide monthly insights and possible areas of growth. More than anything we are providing them with support by taking a proactive approach. The best customers you have are your current customers. Take care of them!
6. Suggest Solutions – Have a menu of calming remedies which you and your employees can use. Whether it’s purely a refund or return, or if it’s coupons or a free service. By agreeing in advance the scenarios where you will provide these remedies, and how much you’re willing to spend, you will be able to speak calmer and more confidently when offering the solution.
Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing business with you easy. Always do what you say you’re going to do and keep the customer updated in the process. You may be working hard behind the scenes, but do they know that?
8. Acknowledge Your Limits – Yes is a powerful word but if you’re unable to fulfill a request: know your limits. You can’t be everything to everyone. If you don’t think you can fulfill the request, help them find an alternate remedy. Whether that remedy is your business or another, they will appreciate the extra mile you went to help them, and will recommend your business to their network.
9. Be Available – Customer service is no longer just about face-to-face contact and telephone. If you’re working in an industry or marketplace where customers are constantly online, you need to amend your service delivery to incorporate that. It does not need to be a dedicated helpdesk Twitter handle, simply make sure you respond promptly and informatively to clients on your main business Facebook page or to your Twitter account. The websites we design for customers always have phone numbers, email addresses, contact forms, and chat availability (even if they simply link to an email address). Customers prefer various modes of communication.
10. Get Regular Feedback – Feedback is a great way to grow both your business and your skills. Provide ways for customers to give feedback, whether it’s a follow up email or phone call, google form, a suggestions box or something more fun and innovative.
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No matter what stage of your business journey you’re at, Reach Website & Marketing Agency has the experience and resources you need to succeed. Check out our range of blog posts, our Talk to an Expert Advisories.