Customer service isn’t just something for individuals on the shop floor of retail to think about. Great customer service is a business-wide ethos and attitude that brings with it a wealth of benefits, ranging from customer loyalty, to reduced complaints, and even better staff morale. In this article, we’re going to give you five tips that can help any business improve their level of customer service.
It’s really important to get with the times. Modern customers, whether they’re a high value banking client, another business, or someone purchasing through your ecommerce store, expect to be able to contact you in a way that suits them, not you. Great customer service is all about communication, and you’ll always be off to a good start if the customer can speak to someone in a way and time that they find best. The best businesses therefore offer a range of communication methods, not limited to a phone number and email address on the website. This includes things like online chat, or a ‘call me back’ option.
Some customer service enquiries take minutes to resolve. But many others can play out over days and weeks. This is the same whether you’re a designer working on a large project with a team of developers, or a call centre operative dealing with banking complaints. Always ensure that you check in with your customers on a regular basis for those longer relationships - this helps to show that they’re more than just a number or ticket, and that you’re working on doing business with them. Keep records of communication too, because this will help you quickly recall information the next time you deal with someone. It also ensures that
Customer service should never be limited to only the customer service team or individual in your business. It’s something that everyone in the business needs to think about, because you never know when customers might deal with various aspects of the business. Too many companies have a customer service department that eventually ends up dealing only with complaints and issues, because other departments, such as ordering or finance, aren’t trained for great service. This is the case in physical stores too - there’s always the chance that customers might speak to merchandising or housekeeping employees - they need to give good service too.
Never assume that you know what a customer is talking about when they first start speaking, or that you can resolve their issue without them having to explain everything. Listening fulfills two important functions. Firstly, it ensures that you gather all the relevant information about whatever it is they need - whether they’re simply enquiring about a product, or they’re making a complaint - which ensures that you can more effectively respond to them. Secondly, listening also shows that you care about what the customer has to say. If they’re making a complaint then it shows that you want to hear their side of the story and listening to an enquiry shows that you’re thinking about their needs.
Finally, being positive can have an enormous effect on how successful your customer service is. A negative approach from your end is always likely to elicit a negative response from the customer, and if they’re already making a complaint, it will a make the situation worse. In a complaint scenario, explain positively how you’re going to resolve the situation, and where possible, present yourself as being on the side of the customer. If you’re having to tell someone that something is out of stock for example, focus on when you’ll be able to deliver the item, rather than the fact that it’s not available. This will really help ensure the customer comes away from the interaction feeling good.
Great customer service isn’t necessarily something that comes naturally, and it’s always something that can be improved. If you’re looking to improve the level of service in your business, then Virtual College has you covered. Our customer service training courses are specifically tailored to different industries to help ensure individuals have the right knowledge for their role. These include courses in hospitality, as well as those in healthcare, which is sometimes forgotten when it comes to good customer service.