By: Beth Evarts
No matter how big or small your company/corporation is, the heart and soul of any business starts with a simple face to face greeting and/or how you answer the phone. That one single moment in time sets the tone going forward and leaves the customerwith either one or two feelings:
The person with whom I am dealing with will and can help me, or
This person cannot or will not help me and I may need to speak with a supervisor who can make a decision to help me.
As a member/customer services representative at Partners, I deal with association members all day long through many phone calls and some in-person greetings. And daily, I ask myself a simple question, what does it take to answer the phone or greet a customer with a smile? In person and on the phone, it’s very similar.
- Greet the customer with a smile. Smiles can be “heard” even through the phone so let the customer know that you are glad they called and are looking forward to working with them.
- Take the time to listen to the customer and then repeat the conversation in short to make sure that everyone is of the same understanding.
- Be honest with the customer and never be afraid to say I don’t know. But always assure the customer that you are planning on following up with someone that does know the answer and will be back in touch soon and follow through.
This simple 3 step approach to quality customer service will relax the customer and provide confidence that their needs are in the hands of someone who is willing to go above and beyond and offer resolution and solutions.
The use of empathy and empowerment when dealing with customers also goes a long way in keeping the customer happy. When we listen to their concerns and take the time to make changes as needed, it builds customer confidence. We also should always thank them for providing us with feedback, whether positive or negative. This attentiveness to detail shows that we are willing to face any challenge and will go above and beyond to make things right moving forward.
We encourage continuous customer service training at our company. There is nothing worse than being at the mercy of a 1-800-HELP ME help line and not getting the answers we need because the person on the other end was not provided with the tools needed to successfully answer our questions and handle our needs. Everyone on our team, from the CEO all the way to the entry level part time intern, trains and practices how to give good customer service. When our team is properly trained and follows our customer service protocols, we as staff can walk around with our heads held high knowing that we work for an organization with a strong reputation that is known for going above and beyond expectation .
The delivery of customer service is not only a team effort from within the company, it is also a two way street between the customer service representative and the customer. It is a matter of give and take on everyone’s part. So when you find yourself as a customer on the positive end of a great customer service, where they have listened and worked to meet your expectations, take the time to say “THANK YOU.” And utilize social media to let other customers know about your positive customer experience.
The “Heart” of customer service is both the customer service representatives doing the right thing and the customer recognizing good service and appreciating their efforts. In this day and age of technology, we are always quick to complain when things go wrong, but we should also always strive to be a part of the solution. Show some heart to your customer service representatives and let’s get back to that personal touch!
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