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Delivering Superior Customer service.

Delivering Superior Customer service.

Customers want a good experience and a big part of that is exceptional customer service, don’t confuse the two. The experience is everything from navigating a website, to how easy (or difficult) it is to reach a salesperson, to the way a product is packaged (think about how cool iPhone or iPad packaging is), to the availability of parking spaces, to how friendly the employees are, and beyond. Everything is included, and while many people think of customer service as a department that reacts when the experience goes wrong, my definition is much broader. Customer service is philosophical, It’s part of the culture. Everyone, from the CEO to the most recently hired team member, is part of customer service and, for that matter, the customer experience. Every single team member has an impact on either the outside customer, an internal customer, the experience the customer receives—or all three.
Delivering superior customer service is crucial for every brand, but especially for small businesses and new ventures just entering the market. You can have the highest-quality professional service or the best-fitting hiking shoe, but if you don’t have a knowledgeable, consumer-focused support team, you shouldn’t expect to thrive in a competitive marketplace. People won’t remember how comfortable those shoes are if they can’t get a straight answer from the customer service rep about how to return the footwear for a different size, but they will share about how bad the customer rep experience was. And these days that means telling not just friends and family, but all their social media followers—which could amount to thousands or tens of thousands of people.
Customer service is more complex than knowing what to say when a customer (or potential customer) contacts the helpline. Service centre employees must consider perception, opinion, cultural influences, and emotions. Responsive representatives know what to say, how to say it, and when to turn the conversation over to higher-up management. Make it easy for everyone to reach your brand. Build a website that is attractive and functional. Optimize your platform for mobile consumers so that you rank high in the search. Provide multiple contact methods, one-click online inquiry, live interactive Periscope Q&A events, telephone numbers, mailing address, and social media and blog comment capabilities.
Be responsive. Making it easy to reach out to your brand is only half of the recipe for success. Your small business customers expect a timely response, so monitor your social media platforms and respond to comments as quickly as possible. Utilize alerts so your team receives a text or email every time a comment posts on social media or an online inquiry hits the inbox. Survey your customers after each service encounter to find out if you are creating “magic moments” or you are merely frustrating them. Train, equip and support your team. Consumers don’t want a robotic, overly-scripted agent on the phone when they have a question or complaint, and nor do they want someone whose go-to answer is “I don’t know.” You must train your staff to respond to your customers with empathy and understanding. Using the caller’s name creates a personal connection, avoiding negative words promotes positive expectations, and reassuring the caller that they will get to the bottom of the issue ensures satisfaction (and of course relief!).
Knowledgeable representatives know industry-specific terminology and know-how to figure out what the caller is describing even if he isn’t aware of the proper term for “that little bracket thingy that fell off.” Well-trained employees better serve and educate consumers about how to use your products, and well-informed consumers make better buying decisions, which leads to brand advocates and repeat sales.
Fast is about convenience, which is something customers love and even crave whether they know it or not. Convenience will set you apart from your competition. Helpful is about getting answers to questions and problems resolved. In the sales process, it’s about being helped and not sold. There’s a big difference. A customer saying, “They are always so helpful,” is far better than, “They never stop selling.” Friendly is soft but important. We don’t have to be best friends with our customers, but we do have to create a friendly and inviting experience. A big word that comes to mind—especially as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic—is empathy. That’s a powerful part of a friendly experience.
So, now you are armed with common sense information on the basics of delivering an amazing customer service experience—very appropriate for Customer Service. Share it with the people you work with. Take time to thank your employees who make sure your customers are taken care of. This is a year-long and lifetime focus. Without customers, we don’t have a business. Without employees, we can’t serve our customers.
In addition, customers want agents to know who they are. With all the technology available today, there is no reason that every agent—or any other customer-facing employee—can’t have access to basic information about the customer that would enhance the experience. Just knowing a little history about customers’ past purchases, buying patterns, issues, etc. You can give agents the information they can use to give customers a better experience it goes a long way. That means treating people with respect and dignity. A customer is not just an account or transaction number. Customers are people. The thing is that customers want agents to know about the products and services the company offers. They want answers to their questions and a quick fix to any problems or issues they have

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