Giving Your Customers a Positive Experience
Excellent customer service is about giving your customers a positive experience each time they interact with your business.
How do you get your customer services team to deliver that experience?
Selecting and training the right people, and when training your customer service team, placing communication as the absolute number 1 priority.
Excellent commincation results in making the customer feel valued, listened to and respected is absolutely key in providing excellent customer service, when this is achieved it creates a positive
experience for the customer.
How to do that is by actively listening, not waiting to jump in with reasons, or answers, but really listening, and showing that they understand how the customer is feeling (reading a script certainly won't cut it either).
Listening is a skill that needs to be developed, and can be developed with the right training, which includes lots of practice and lots of feedback from those being listened to. It surprises most people how hard it is to actually listen in a way that the other person feels truly heard.
Having a customer service representative repeating company policies over and over and over again, is not good customer service. Repeatedly explaining why the customer is wrong usually doesn't create a good feeling either.
If a customer made a mistake, the customer made a mistake, sometimes a good will gesture, and great communication (listening and making the customer feel understoood and valued) is what turns a unsatisfied customer into a raving fan.
Is it really worth the effort and extra cost?
In the long run yes! Why? Because raving fans (Brand Ambassadors) are the people that do your marketing for you; they talk about how great your business is and they recommend to others that they become your customers too.
"How Do I Get my Customer Service Team to Deliver Excellent Customer Service?"
In Three ways:
1) By training them in empathic listening skills.
And once trained providing ongoing coaching & support in developing those skills by providing feedback on their customer calls.
These skills are at the heart of emotional intelligence, if you've got a healthy budget to invest in your team, it might be worth giving each of them an EQi (emotional intelligence assessment) and coaching. Greater self awareness of ones own skills greatly improves not only communication skills with customers, but also team working and improves the individuals life too!
2) Giving them the freedom and flexibility to go "above and beyond" policies in certain circumstances.
For example; sending out a replacement product even if the mistake was the customers'.
Training and guidance needs to be given for this too, it is important to minimise costs wherever possible, but it's extremely important that costs be incurred when they're likely to have a good return. Changing a dissatisfied customer into a raving fan (Brand Ambassador) is usually a good investment, and definitely a good marketing strategy!
No one likes an experience with someone who is a "jobsworth", sticking rigidly to the "rules" because it's "more than their job is worth". Giving your team the freedom to "break rules" shows the customer a human side, and that they really are valued, more than "rules".
Delivering Happiness (left), written by Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos, one of the fastest growing direct order shoe companies in the world (and now owned by Amazon).
A great read of how a tiny company grew because they invested in making the customer HAPPY.
The Go Giver is a business "parable" by Bob Burg & John David Mann which shows how seeking to give others what they want ultimately gives you what you want. Much healthier and often more fruitful than being a "Go Getter".
You may wonder how you can make people read books, integrate them into team meetings, do quizes with fun prizes. If someone is very reluctant to read a book that will improve their skills in the role they're in, maybe it's time to think that they might not be a good match.
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