Customer service is a necessary component for running a successful business. How a client is treated by the business will be the determining factor for if they will continue to come back. Even if the company has the best products and a staff of well-qualified employees, it won’t matter unless the customer feels they are getting the best service possible.
Companies with a long track record of poor customer service will have been hurt by bad word of mouth from affected customers, while businesses that have treated their clients with respect and appreciation benefited greatly from customer feedback. Customer experience shouldn’t be tossed aside and should be improved upon daily. Here are some tips on how to improve your customer service.
1. Practice active listening.
Listening is the first step to moving forward and understanding what’s happening in any process, customer experience included. Active listening means fully concentrating on what is being said instead of just passively hearing the message of the speaker or being distracted by something else while a listener is sharing with you.
You can practice this skill with family and co-workers. Practicing better prepares you to become fully focused when listening to a customer. When a customer has finished speaking, a listener will then want to follow up with clarifying questions to ensure that they understood everything the customer was saying.
At the end of the process, it’s best to end with a summary of what has been discussed. This helps you make sure you have all the information needed to ensure a great customer experience. It also helps the customer to feel that their needs or concerns are being taken into consideration.
2. Practice empathy.
The world could do a bit better when it comes to empathy. The simple act of being able to understand and share feelings with one another, empathy is key to great customer experience. Customers want to feel that their thoughts, concerns, and grievances are being given the proper attention. One way to accomplish this is simply by caring.
When a person puts themselves into the shoes of another person, they are better able to want to help that individual. The same is true when it comes to customer service. For example, let’s say a customer has been without water service for a day. Their life is in disarray, and a customer service rep can hear as much over the phone. Providing a sense of understanding and sharing feelings of concern and camaraderie can go a long way to helping the affected person have a better customer experience.
3. Invest in new customer service technology.
Gone are the days of switchboards and typewriters—technology has grown by leaps and bounds. In today’s world, computer and telephone technology work hand in hand to provide a solid customer experience. Customers can take phone surveys, wait times are shortened, and clients can be routed to the correct departments immediately. Utilizing such technological advancements as VoC feedback and outbound call center software can help with improving the customer service of any business.
When you have the best call center software you can meet your customer expectations seamlessly and make sure that you don’t have any unanswered calls or unhappy customers. In fact, with the right call center software you can meet your customer needs is a great way that actually makes them feel that they’ve had a better experience and end up recommending you to friends. Voice of the Customer programs (VoC programs) allow you to track results of customer surveys and accumulate customer data by using text analytics and an interactive voice response. In this way you can understand more about the customers’ expectations and gain a competitive advantage over your competitors. It’s a great way to hit two birds with one stone—you’re gaining positive feedback from happy customers and accumulating customer data that allows you to provide better services.
4. Use positive language.
In addition to practicing empathy, using positive language is key to good customer experience. Using positive language helps to alleviate the stress associated with any situation. In cases like these, positive verb usage is key. It’s best to be authentic, positive, and memorable during such situations. These tactics both act as a salve for an already stressful situation that a customer might be going through.
Lastly, even in the face of the customer getting angry, you should try their best to stay calm. Have the empathy to understand what the customer might be dealing with. Then follow that up with positive language to help set the customer at ease, so that you can find a solution to the problem at hand.
5. Admit your mistakes.
We all make mistakes. Even large companies can make errors now and then. Humans run companies, and humans aren’t perfect. The best thing to do in cases like these is to acknowledge the mistakes, correct them, learn from them, and then move on. There are often cases where whatever problems the customer is dealing with is a result of a mistake done by the business.
In such cases, it’s best to agree that the business is at fault in this case, and then to offer ways to fix the mistake. Customers will respect you more when you admitted your fault and may even consider this a positive customer experience.