Customer service is important. You know it, your employees know it, and your customers definitely know it. Many of the purchasing decisions made by consumers are based on a myriad of different factors, but one that comes up more often than all the others is a desire to be treated respectfully by employees.
Good customer service may seem hard to come by in this day and age. In a time where most purchases can happen online without ever having to interact with another human, people seem to be pushing good customer service to the wayside.
But here’s the thing: just because you may not come face to face with your customers doesn’t mean that customer service is no longer important. In order to show your customers you care about them, you have to show them all the respect that they expect out of you, no matter if it’s someone coming through your front door, a person on the other end of a telephone, or even shopping on your website. Yes, you still have to have good customer for web-only customers.
Here are a few simple tips to increase your customer service abilities.
In any service industry, first impressions are key to a successful business. You have to make a good first impression because that’s the memory that customers will think about when they think of your business. Good first impressions don’t even begin with your first interaction with a customer. It actually begins long before that, when a customer is researching you online, or observing the tidiness of your shop. Always aim to impress, and make a bold first impression that instills confidence in the hearts of your new customers.
When a customer asks a questions, they’re doing so because they can’t find the answer for themselves. They see you as an expert in something, as they should if they’re buying your products. Make sure your responses to their inquiries are succinct and detailed. Vague answers only serve to further confuse customers, and makes them wonder if you actually know what you’re talking about. A good way to make sure you’re always prepared for customers’ questions is to train your employees, especially new hires, on the ins and outs of your company. Be sure they are prepared to confidently answer and customer questions.
Do you have trouble navigating your website, or understanding how to use your own products? That’s never a good sign. If you can’t even make sense of your own stuff, how do you expect your customers to? Ease of use is a part of customer service. It’s not always about what you say to customers, but how you respect them by giving them an easy shopping experience. Spend a little time going through your website, looking over your emails, instructional material, and even the layout of your store, and see if it’s easy to use.
Sometimes, it’s not the words you say that make the difference, it’s the way you say them. Choose your words carefully when you speak to customers, and don’t use harsh barriers to conversation such as “I’ll try to help you out” or “unfortunately, no I can’t that for you.” Instead, focus on assuring the customer you are actively working to help them out. Say things like “Yes, I can help” and “I might not be able to do that for you, but I can do this instead.” Also, avoid saying “I’m sorry” too much. It’s good to let customers know you made an honest mistake, but always follow it up by offering a solution.
Always keep calm when you’re speaking with a customer. They might raise their voice, say harsh things, or make critiques about your business, but you have to take the high road and not lash back at them. Remember, it’s usually not a personal attack against you. They’re simply venting their frustrations about the company, and you have to make it know that you’re going to help them out.
Your job in customer service is never finished. Don’t get complicit in your current customer service standards because inevitably, those standards will change and evolve over time. You have to constantly be working at good customer service, and working to make your business a place where customers come back to time and time again. See what you’re doing now, and improve on your plan for the future.
Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 24-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.