Great Tips for Improving Customer Service

Due to the changing customer needs, the way customers should be treated is evolving too. Companies adapt by constantly improving their staff’s customer service skills. However, this move requires the staff to have the initiative to implement them to each and every customer interaction.

The following tips can help those working in the customer service department and the management to enhance client support.

1. Active Listening

Customers visit the company’s branch or call the contact center because they prefer to talk to a human, instead of dealing with a chatbot, IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition – automated customer assistance through phone), or reading a complicated user’s manual.

Aside from the proper greeting, this is the first step on showing care to customers. Active listening allows the staff to let the customer express their emotions and say what they would like to. While they are talking, staff should focus on information that needs a resolution.

Pay attention to how it happened and/or what the customer would like to happen after the conversation. This will refrain the customer from repeating themselves and get more upset.

2. Practice Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings after recognizing the problem from the customer’s point of view. This is the popular line that every customer service staff already heard: “Try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.”

To express empathy, start by active listening while keeping the attitude in check. When they start to get irate, always be reminded that it is nothing personal and they are anxious because they need help. Customers express their frustration with the experience they had with the company or towards its products and services.

Always ask and never assume, as it could add to the customer’s frustration. Keep being respectful throughout the whole customer journey.

There is a significant difference with sympathy, which the customers do not want to hear. It happens when staff uses words and expresses emotions that the customer is the only one involved or acknowledges the problem. Practice using words that connote being with them, like “we” or “together”.

3. Choose Positive Wording

From the word itself, choose words that would promote positivity. This will make the customer feel that there is a solution to the issue he or she is facing.

The trick in doing this is by focusing on what the staff or the company can do, instead of making an emphasis on what is not allowed. For example, instead of informing the customer that he or she cannot make changes to his account today, tell the customer on what is the earliest date that he or she can. This will make the customer look forward to the solution, rather than what they cannot do at the moment.

One of the toughest customer concerns is when the issue they are facing doesn’t have any solution. In dealing with this, do not be afraid to say it directly to the customer so they can manage their expectations. However, prove a point by explaining carefully why it can’t be done.

4. Improving Technical Skills

Since most companies today use computers to enhance customer service, make it a habit of practice navigating the system used. This will help in getting more things done in less time, as some users get lost with an unfamiliar system. Staff who are not very much practiced with the system will do a trial and error by pressing random buttons when they are already facing a customer.

In doing this, it will save the customer’s time by giving prompt solutions and it gets the staff to serve more customers. This is why systems training is important to companies who would like to integrate customer experience with automation.

Constant use of the software system or computer functions will help staff to observe if there are errors in the system. Providing this feedback to the IT team or management can help in developing it.

5. Willingness to Learn

Companies nowadays see the value of customer service, and how it affects their overall operations. They are now starting to see the importance of constant customer service training. It can be classroom training or done in the operations area, where staff can learn more about how to deal with customers in the specific industry they are in.

The problem arises when the employees don’t have the motivation to learn. Improving customer service does not end when the company gives all the support on what the staff needs on the floor. There should also be rewards and recognition, which will excite the staff on giving their best.

6. Easy Feedback Collection

Most feedback forms are not filled out by customers because it is too long, hard to understand, and does not allow them to express themselves freely. Customer feedback is essential to every company, as it enables them to gather information on what to improve and maintain from the perspective of a customer. Companies would not be able to realize the issues it is facing easily if not from customer’s assessment.

In formulating feedback forms, make sure that it is short with complete instructions. The most famous one is the use of scales, where it should also be explained on what number is the most and what is the least. Some customers get confused easily in determining the value of 1 and the highest point. Also, include a space where customers can write comments that are not covered on the other questions or points.

In conclusion, improving customer service is not that hard when given proper attention. If the company doesn’t have one, it can start by formulation customer journey. This will help point out the good points in serving the customers and the “pain” that goes with it.

At the end of the day, customers are the lifeline of any business – they have to be treated well. If the customers feel that their relationship with the company is valued, they will patronize the business and might bring some referrals with them.

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