Customer service can sometimes be quite complicated – something which my colleague Philipp Rennert wrote about in his last blog post. Objection! There are a few simple, universal rules that will help every customer care organization win the hearts of customers.
1. Smile on All Service Channels
You’re familiar with the smiling shop agent who greets you when you enter a store. What works in the retail business can also be applied to other service channels. Studies show that customers can sense whether a service employee is smiling or not even if they cannot see it, for example, when on the phone to the call center. Smiling service employees enjoy their work and give your customers an authentic sense of being welcome.
2. Focus on the Customer First
When customers come to your customer service with a problem, they are usually helpless, often upset and sometimes very angry. In such situations, one thing will be sure to help: let off steam! First and foremost, give your customer the opportunity to get rid of their frustration. It is only after this that you should proceed to validate the problem and find the actual solution. Anything else would be a waste of energy anyway: In the first few seconds of an interaction, upset customers are not usually receptive and just want to vent their displeasure.
3. Show Appreciation and Empathy
Your customer service does not need to apologize for anything. However, your customers do want to feel understood. For this reason, do not establish lines of defense but meet your customers at the same level. Repeat their problem and demonstrate your understanding for your customers’ displeasure without becoming submissive. Remember, your customer ultimately contacts your customer service to receive expert help, not just to offload their frustration.
4. Use Templates, Not Scripts
You need templates in order to work efficiently as a customer service organization and to interact well with your customers. However, templates should not be confused with rigid scripts that have been written using unpleasant corporate language. Your call center or support website is not your PR department. The goal of your customer service is to solve specific problems. Templates provide orientation for your employees without presenting too many limits for communication with your customers. In any case, personality and common sense must prevail!
5. Communicate Action and Solutions
Not all problems can be solved at the first attempt. However, what your customer ultimately expects is something to happen. Be proactive and always communicate what the next plan of action is. Explain what the desired solution looks like and tell your customers what steps are still to come. This transparency fosters confidence and satisfies your customers’ need for something to happen.
6. Always Use Positive Language
Let’s be honest: The customer service world can sometimes be exasperating. The last thing your service employees and customers need is negative statements. Always communicate with a positive mindset and create an optimistic message flow. Even if the problem is not that great, you can still use positive language to lighten your customer’s mood and regain that lost confidence. After all, who likes to hear bad news?
7. Standards? Yes. Empowerment? Definitely!
Standards are an important requirement for stable service quality. We’re familiar with this principle from the production process: Any deviation from the standard is a risk. However, this does not always apply in customer service! You cannot define a standard for every eventuality. Customers approach your customer service with different questions and problems. The magic keyword here is empowerment. Your service employees need autonomy in order to respond flexibly and individually to your customers. Define the scope of autonomy through a clear scope of action, because not every process can be solved through standards that are set in stone.
8. Commitment to Continuous Improvement
Nothing in customer service is ever perfect. Your customers’ needs are changing and new products with new service requirements are constantly coming to the market – there are always gaps in the process. Make continuous improvement a part of your routine and document it all at the end of each working day: What is the one thing we have learned today about how our customer service can further improve? Writing it down does not make your service any better, but it at least lays the foundation for an awareness of world-class customer service.
Did we forget something? Which quick tips did you use to drive your customer service forward? We look forward to hearing your feedback – write to me!