by Becky Carroll, www.customersrock.net
We wrap up Guest Post Week with Becky Carrol. Check out her other posts on her blog at
Customer service can be an organization’s crown jewel or its embarrassment. It definitely says a lot about your company. From a customer perspective, how they are treated by customer service tells them where your organization is focused – on yourself, or on your customer. Here are some examples.
? Are you just trying to get me off the phone quickly so you can go on to other calls? Or do you take the time I need to follow an issue through to its completion, taking ownership for my problem?
? Do I have to repeat my information multiple times as I interact with you? Or do you use the information you have about me to make our time together more efficient (a benefit for us both)?
Your customer service policies also speak to employees. These policies tell them whether people are treated with respect in your organization. This is especially important for retaining customer service employees, who sometimes feel they are treated as just another “warm body in a seat”.
? Do I really get to answer the customer’s question? Or do I need to carefully reply from a set of scripted responses?
? Am I empowered to resolve the customer’s problem? Or am I required to pass the problem along to someone else so I can keep my “talk time” numbers low?
Becoming the Crown Jewel
There are certain “customer service success skills” which are consistently found in excellent customer service organizations. They can be observed regardless of the channel – online, phone, or retail.
Here are seven key success factors to a great customer service interaction with customers:
- Answer quickly. Customers want their request to be answered quickly, as well as have their question answered/problem resolved in minimal time.
- Have a great attitude. Customers are most satisfied when they speak with a rep who is courteous, polite, friendly, and professional. Genuinely care. As one customer service rep said to me, “We are encouraged to leave our ‘grump’ at home!”
- Treat customers with respect. Most customers are calling because they have a question that they couldn’t solve themselves. It can be challenging when some callers are irate, but the best agents are able to calm the caller enough to speak with them coherently and respectfully (most of the time!).
- Take responsibility for the outcome of the call. Customers are most satisfied when they don’t get bounced around from one agent to another.
- Be knowledgeable about your subject. Make sure you are able to answer most questions or get to the information quickly.
- Be a good listener. Listening to customers helps them feel they can trust you and your company.
- Follow up. If you say you will do something, do it, then let the customer know you did it. Customers appreciate someone who follows through and also follows up to make sure all is OK (when appropriate). It is amazing how many people miss this one!
Customer service can be a true jewel for any organization. This is the department where direct customer interaction most frequently takes place, and it is the face of the company for many customers. The best marketing in the world can be rendered meaningless by a poor customer service experience!