Great customer service is not always easy to deliver but has a huge impact on an organisation’s success. Customers need to feel respected – and words alone won’t cut it. It is crucial to deliver what customers need, when they need it. Here are my top tips for delivering fantastic customer service:
- Be positive & respectful. If a customer has made contact with you, they have clearly defined a need. Be respectful in your response and positive in your suggested ways forward. Always ask “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
- Be available. The customer doesn’t want to know you are busy, have other priorities at the moment or might struggle to find time to deal with their issue. Every customer needs to be made to feel like your only customer.
- Always follow up. Check to make sure customer issues are resolved and that questions have been responded to satisfactorily. Only close a customer interaction when everyone is happy.
- Treat all customers as equals. It can be tempting to treat the customers who create the greatest revenue more favourably than those who are less lucrative. Don’t. Remember it costs much more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones.
- Exceed your commitments. If you commit to responding or completing something within a certain amount of time – do it quicker. If you aren’t going to achieve it – manage their expectations ahead of time to avoid surprises or disappointment.
- Don’t be generic. Customers respond to personalisation. Ensure your service desk and customer relationship management (CRM) systems contain current and accurate information - and talk to each other so there’s only ever one version of the truth. This will allow staff to speak with knowledge, understanding and authority when talking to customers. Nobody wants to feel like a number.
- Pay special attention to complaints. No customer should become an ex-customer as the result of what they see as poor service. So take responsibility for fixing problems and turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.
- Little things can mean a lot. It isn’t only the successful completion of a contract commitment that earns customer respect. Every time you help out quickly with a small or uncomplicated matter, you store up points in your favour.
- Learn from the things you do well. It’s all too easy to learn and adjust from negative feedback - understand and repeating what you do well is equally as important.
- Hire people who care, then train them in the tools to do the job and how to deliver great customer service. The customer service team is a vital frontline in dealing with the ‘outside world’, but all your staff need to understand the importance of good customer relations and how they impact the customer experience.
Tom Needs is COO of Adapt.