Customer service is clearly important in business. Look at the customer support strategies from very successful companies in the customer service arena, like JetBlue, Amazon and Zappos. What do they have in common?
There’s a huge difference between simply responding to a customer and providing real customer service. Companies that don’t provide real customer service will be left behind by those who do provide a truly amazing customer experience.
If you want to provide excellent customer service, you need to avoid specific errors and understand a few essentials to great customer service.
The customer is always right
While this may not be 100% accurate, companies providing great customer service believe it, preach it and live it. Not only is the customer always right, but they always have a valid request that should be heard. Until proven otherwise, you should always assume the customer is right and their satisfaction should always come first.
Customer service personnel need authority
There is nothing more annoying than calling up a company’s customer service line only to find out you need to go through a manager and then another manager to get anything done.
When the customer service staff can’t do much more than ask for your name and account information, it’s useless.
Customers should be able to have their standard requests heard and dealt with by the person who answers the phone. Needing to escalate the request to a manager level is often a waste of time when the customer service worker could have easily handled the issue.
Giving your staff the authority to handle customer issues is one of the best ways to streamline your customer service.
Provide the fastest possible response
When a customer needs help, the fastest response is necessary. This helps to give the customer reassurance that you are on the ball and will help with their issues.
Responding quickly shows you value the customer’s time, and this has been shown to be very important to consumers.
Speak the right language
Providing great customer service is nearly impossible if your support staff doesn’t speak the right language.
It’s very important to ensure the customer service representative and the customer speak the same language. Using an offshore call center may cause issues, even with email or online chat support.
When an offshore worker provides support from a standard script, it makes the customer feel like just another number. They don’t feel cared for or understood at all.
Take action quickly
As soon as a customer service rep has enough information to move forward with the issue, they should. Collecting additional information shouldn’t be necessary if they can fix the issue with what they already have.
Most customers become annoyed when they have to fill out a form or answer automated questions online, and then have to do it again with a live person.
If additional details are needed to complete the service request, they can be gathered once the issue has been resolved. This will help to keep your customers satisfied and happy.
Go the extra mile
Customer service reps should never do the minimum requested by the customer. They should aim to surprise each customer with excellent service.
Whether over the phone, through online chat or through email, every customer should end up feeling like the customer service rep they dealt with went above and beyond.
Leaving your customers smiling and satisfied will go a long way to creating loyalty.
These are just a few of the main key differences between real customer service and simply responding. Professional customer service reps should know how to provide an excellent experience for each and every customer they work with.
From responding quickly to actually fixing the issue, they should be equipped to go the extra mile for every customer.
If your company isn’t providing real customer service, it’s time to get it together. With about 70% of customers deciding to buy based on how they feel they have been treated (according to the moment of truth in customer service from McKinsey), you cannot mess up the customer service experience. If you do, you may send another customer to your competition.