Research shows that contrary to a happy customer who will tell only two to three people about their good experience; a dissatisfied customer will tell at least eight to ten people about his or her bad experience. This disparity shows how much just one displeased customer can negatively impact your reputation. It also shows the importance of providing quality customer service to your customers. The following are ways to improve and maintain good customer service, and avoid down-grading your service and company reputation.
First impression is the last impression
This adage is foremost true in customer service. If a customer does not have a good first impression, the customer will leave with a bad impression of your company. Examples where customers may find a poor first impression:
- Customer service rep (CSR) had a poor interaction with customer
- A customer’s questions were not answered
- CSR did not have good knowledge of product or service
- Customer had to wait too long
- Website is not user-friendly
Treat your customers the way you want to be treated
The golden rule equally refers to business as it does your personal life. Think how you would feel if you, as a customer, are not treated well. Likely you will be upset and frustrated. Even more likely you will end up telling a friend or colleague about your bad experience. If you think as if you are the customer, you have a better opportunity to provide customers with a great first impression.
Keep your promises
Broken promises lead to lost trust and ruined relationships. This is also true with customer service. Cancelling appointments or not responding to customers’ concerns can damage your customer relationship. What many people don’t realize is that poor communication is rampant in customer service. If you are one of the few who can deliver timely communication you will stand out against your competitors.
Be all ears
Customers are likely to get satisfied if a CSR listens to his needs or problems and then come up with a solution. Same goes with angry customers. Make sure your CSRs listen attentively to whatever the customer has to say before making suggestions or selling a product or service.
Don’t stop at ‘I don’t know’
It is likely most people in your company don’t know everything. This is okay. It is also okay to say, “I don’t know.” However, don’t stop there. If you don’t know the answer, the real key to good customer services is going out of the way to find out the answer. Providing a timeline to the customer for when you will follow-up will show the customer that you didn’t blow them off and builds a level of trust.
Empower your frontline staff
Customers get angry when they hear a CSR say he can’t do anything regarding their problems. Mostly, this happens because a CSR does not have the power to make decisions and has to ask senior management. Make sure you empower your frontline staff enough to resolve customers’ complaints. At the same time, you must establish boundaries and escalation procedures for more complicated matters.
6.5 Organize frequent training sessions
Many companies provide an abundance of front-end training, yet do not train consistently as the employee develops in the company. Providing regular training and customer feedback to your CSRs will help your team grow and develop in a positive way.