Here we go again! Thrilled to bring you the third in this popular series. This time we are focusing just on customer service communication. Why? Good communication is the foundation for all good customer service. It's that simple. By the way, no worries if you missed reading the first two because we have links to them below.
1. Some of my customers are very long-winded, and I don't have a lot of time to sit and listen. Tips or feedback?
Here's the deal- everyone's busy, and time is a precious commodity to all. So this does not mean that your time is of higher value than your customers' time; therefore, you need to allow your customers to be heard and spend the extra moments that it takes to hear them out. Welcome your customers to be thorough, listen attentively, and do not interrupt them. Interrupting or showing a lack of patience implies that you don't have a lot of respect or empathy for them. Now if you're in a situation where a customer keeps repeating him or herself, direct the conversation by reiterating your understanding, offer your solution (or input or what applies to the situation), and wrap up the conversation by thanking him/her for the discussion.
2. I find myself put on the spot sometimes and don't know if my responses and suggestions to my customers are the best that they could be. Any ideas for how I can think better on my feet?
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin
The best solution lies in one concept: PREPARATION. You need to plan for these situations and conversations ahead of time. Brainstorm as many scenarios as possible and put these into a list. Then, next to each, write how you can best respond and assist the customer. To take this further, have others, such as coworkers or a friend that is a customer, tell you additional ideas for these scenarios.
Additional tip: Try to envision what sort of reactions you might get from the customers, and plan out how you will handle each of the different conversational directions.
3. I am now in a position where I interact with customers quite a bit. What are the most important things I can do to make a good customer service impression?
This list could be very long, but here are some of the best tips that will help you to immediately win the customer over:
- Be Friendly. Start with a genuine smile and a warm greeting. Give a good first impression. And throughout the interaction, build a rapport, and then close the interaction with heartfelt gratitude (say "thank you").
- Listen. Learn to their needs and interests so that you can cater your responses and suggestions accordingly and most efficiently. Don't forget- "listen" also means to tune into the non-verbal cues as these can sometimes be more telling than what is actually being said.
- Know Your Stuff. You need to know your product(s)/service(s) inside and out. Also, be aware of the most common questions customers ask and how you will respond in a favorable, memorable, and thorough manner.
4. When should I not use email and instead meet in-person or talk by phone?
Such a great question. Email can be misinterpreted, so any time you are discussing something complex or sensitive, you should definitely skip email and pick up the phone or meet face-to-face with the customer. That way, you ensure that the customer can hear what you mean through your messages and tone, and you are given the added opportunity to connect with the customer on a personal level.
Want to look at the first two articles in this series? We suggest you do and share with your team. Here they are:
Don't forget to leave some comments below and let us know what other customer service questions you have. If you're feeling shy, no worries. You can go ahead and email me.