Providing top notch customer service is vital for any business. Keeping customers happy guarantees that they will do business with you again. Nowadays, price and a great product is not enough to ensure brand loyalty. Today, delivering a positive customer experience is what makes a difference. Just how important is customer experience to brand loyalty? Well, according to a PwC survey, 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
As the battleground shifts to customer experience, it is important for your business to take your customer service to the next level. For this reason, 88% of companies now put a premium on customer experience in their contact centers. You need to stand out with your customer service to ensure retention. Here are some do’s and don’ts for delivering great customer service that you need to be aware of.
Do’s of Customer Service
- Show Empathy
- Practice Clear Communication
- Treat Customers With Respect
- Take Responsibility
- Express Gratitude
- Exceed Expectations
Don’ts of Customer Service
- Ignore Customer Feedback
- Make Promises You Can’t Keep
- Rush Your Responses
- Blame The Customers
- Make Things Complicated
- Lose Your Cool
Do’s of Customer Service
Customer service is crucial to the success of your business. Bad customer service can be detrimental to your business reputation. Statistics from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs reveal that the average dissatisfied customer shares their bad experience with 9 to 15 people and 13 percent tell more than 20 people. In addition, research reveals that companies could be losing as much as $62 billion yearly due to poor customer service. Here are some do’s your team needs to practice to boost your customer experience.
1. Show Empathy
Surely, you yourself had experienced talking to the customer service department. Then most probably you understand what customers are going through when they contact your customer service. For once, you knew the feeling of being frustrated. Since you know the feeling already, it will be easier for you to show empathy to the customers and put yourself in their shoes.
Showing empathy is the best way to show customers that you are handling their concern. You need to remember that customers are fellow human beings and not just a source of revenue. With empathy, customers expect that you can relate to their problems. While it is not always possible to give a satisfactory solution, the least you can do is be empathetic with them. Phrases like “I’m sorry you had to go through this” or “I’d feel the same way if it happened to me” can make a difference in showing customers that you value them.
By being empathetic, you don’t allow your customers to go through the situation alone. When offering solutions, always think of how you look like from the customer’s perspective. Use your unsatisfactory experience when addressing customer concerns.
2. Practice Clear Communication
Being able to clearly communicate is necessary for delivering excellent customer service. Good communication also means being a good listener. Listen to customers without interrupting them and pay close attention to the details they convey. Talk to customers in a language that they can understand. More importantly, don’t terminate the conversation without confirming if the customer understood what you meant.
As much as possible, avoid using jargon or technical terminologies that the customer does not understand. Use plain and simple language when addressing the customer. Remember they called because they have a problem they want to be solved so this is no time to impress the customer with technical jargon.
Leaving the customer with a positive feeling after talking to you will help ensure that they will keep doing business with you. They will have the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you will go out of your way to resolve their problem. In exchange for good customer service, customers will be willing to spend more on your product or service. According to a new survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 67% of customers say that good customer service encourages them to spend more money across industries and services.
3. Treat Customers With Respect
Respect is vital for building relationships with customers. They deserve full attention and care. When dealing with customers, you need to exude a friendly attitude. Respect starts with being honest and sincere with them. Don’t make broken promises as it could do more harm than good. Nothing hurts trust than false promises.
Excellent customer service is all about making customers feel valuable and important. Be truthful about prices, additional fees, or hidden charges. A frustrated customer will not care about how much you know but what is important to them is showing you care for them. Building customer relationships is all about making the other person feel important.
How do you show respect to your customers? The top reason is to listen to them. It is important that you give them time, be friendly and professional, and to go above and beyond your call of duty. More than anything else, your customer would want their problem to be solved. Treating customers with respect will help build strong customer loyalty.
4. Take Responsibility
Delivering excellent customer service entails accountability on your part. Being responsible means admitting fault and apologizing to the customer even if it isn’t your fault. Acknowledge the issue and do your best to find a solution as quickly as possible. As the face of the company, it is your job to see to it that the faith of the customer in your company is restored.
Always keep in mind that customers don’t buy products or services but solutions to emotional states or problems. When your customers have issues, always tell them “Yes” provided it’s within reason. By being accountable, you will restore customer faith in your brand. In addition, you should never go back on your word and never avoid responsibility.
Owning up to the problems of customers is one of the ways you can show your professionalism. Always be ready to take the cudgels for the problems and negative experiences of your customers. You are the frontliner for your company so do your best to represent in whatever way you can.
5. Express Gratitude
A simple “Thank you” will go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. No amount of money can replace gratitude. Saying “Thank you” can help build towards a long-term relationship with your customers. They will feel a deeper affection for companies that show gratitude and will show appreciation to their brands at a greater degree.
When customers feel appreciated, you can bank on keeping their loyalty and business. Additionally, they may even become your top brand ambassador. According to the Customer Experience Insight, 60% of businesses lost a customer because they felt the company was indifferent to them. Customers expect a little gratitude in return for their business.
To ensure customer loyalty, take steps in showing gratitude and make them feel valued. There are several ways to show gratitude to your customers such as email messages, personalized gifts, and others. You can remind customers that you value their business and appreciate it.
6. Exceed Expectations
Customers have high expectations when it comes to the quality of service. For this reason, you need to give them what they expect and exceed it whenever you can. Meeting expectations is already tough, what’s more than exceeding them? According to the State of the Connected Customer report, 80% of customers consider the customer experience as important as its products and services. In addition, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
So how do you exceed expectations? Go the extra mile and surprise customers by pampering them with gifts like discounts and vouchers. Whenever possible, personalize your customer interactions. Anticipate possible issues, demonstrate knowledge, and recommend solutions. Always look for ways you can exceed customer expectations. Focus on how you can understand your customer’s actual priorities.
Moreover, try to speed up problem resolution and ensure that customers wouldn’t have to re-explain their issue all over again. By doing this, you can look forward to achieving customer satisfaction.
Don’ts of Customer Service
In your desire to deliver the highest quality of service, you are prone to committing mistakes that could impact your business. Despite businesses already focused on delivering excellent customer service, there are still instances that companies fail to live up to the promise of excellent customer service. Here are some don’ts of customer service that you should avoid.
1. Ignore Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is very important in retaining their business. Statistics show that 1 in every 26 customers are likely to bring up their complaints. To ensure their loyalty, you need to let them know that they have a voice and you are listening. Resolving a customer complaint increases the likelihood that they will do business with you 70% of the time.
Customer feedback can be helpful in the improvement of your customer service. That is why it is important to listen to what your customers say. You need to have an open mind with the suggestions and feedback of customers. Excellent customer service also involves acknowledging your shortcomings and working on improving them.
Collecting customer feedback can help you develop an actionable change. If customers say that they find your user interface confusing, their feedback will be useful in devising ways to fix the issue. There are different channels that you can use for collecting customer feedback such as surveys, email and contact forms, and others.
2. Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Another huge mistake you can make in customer service is promising something that you may not be able to deliver on. It may be tempting to give customers what they want but it is also important to tell them that things will not always turn out the way they want. If they want early delivery, tell the customer the reality that it may not be possible. However, you can ask the vendor to expedite the order to meet the customer’s expectations.
Instead of telling the customer that you have made arrangements for early delivery, just tell them straight that you raised their concern to the vendor and will do your best to meet their expectations. While it is your desire to ensure that you meet the customer’s needs, you should also be transparent with them.
Nothing beats trust more than broken promises so always keep your word. Respond and follow up when you say you will. Be clear with your return and refund policies and provide the services you said will be offered to the customer. Transparency is vital even in customer service.
3. Rush Your Responses
While you are aiming for fast resolution of an issue, you shouldn’t provide the customer with rushed responses as well. If you are unsure about the information, don’t pass it to the customer hastily. It would only result in further disappointment for the customer. The best thing you can do is pass the issue to the concerned department and give the customer a deadline.
In delivering customer service, you need to be quick but not hurried. By doing so, you sacrifice the quality and effectiveness of your efforts. What good is a quick response if it does not answer all the customer’s questions? It wouldn’t be effective. Getting it right may be slower but the results are better.
A hurried response sacrifices the unique needs of a potential customer. There is really no one-size fits all solution in providing customer service. You need to customize the solution according to the needs of the customer.
4. Blame The Customer
To escape any accountability, you could easily be tempted to put the blame on the customer and absolve the company from any fault. While you could point a finger at the customer for a difficult situation, it could become costly for your company. The customer could lose faith in your brand and switch to your competitor.
In most cases, the customer does not care who’s fault it is as long as you fix their issue. Instead of blaming them for any flaws, apologize to the customer, and fix the problem. Good customer service skips the blame game and works on resolving the issue. Instead of saying, “It’s not our fault.” say, “Let me see what I can do about your problem.” instead.
Again, you need to own responsibility for the problem of the customer. Good customer service means resolving the problem at hand regardless of who’s fault it is. Blaming the customer could only make matters worse. Blame evokes defensiveness and aggression.
5. Make Things Complicated
Not all customers today are tech-savvy so don’t make customer service hard for them. Customers are already frustrated and not being able to get support right away can make their experience even more frustrating. If your website isn’t user-friendly, 50% of customers will stop visiting your website. No matter how the customers like your brand or company, not being able to easily access your website can turn out to be a disappointing experience for them.
Even if your customers are sophisticated and have technical knowledge, you still need to make customer service easy and straightforward for them. You should provide them with all the necessary tools for customer service such as chat, phone, email, FAQs, self-service, and others.
Not being able to easily access customer service can lead to customer churn. According to the 2020 Churn Index Report, 43.3 billion have switched companies and another 88.3 million are considering switching for reasons that could have been avoided with the proper tools.
6. Lose Your Cool
In customer service, you will be dealing with different types of clients. Some may be patient with you when resolving their queries but others may not have the patience of others. At times, there will be customers who will make abusive and personal remarks. Regardless of the type of customer, it is important to control your temper. Being polite in responding to customers can help with customer retention.
Staying calm when delivering customer service will help you find the best resolution to the concern of the customer. First, acknowledge their feelings by saying, “I can see you’re upset and I’m sorry for that.” Your goal is to appease the customer and help them find a solution in a cool, calm, and collected manner.
Keeping your cool will help you refresh your mind and deal with succeeding customers just as effectively as you handled the previous one. By not losing your temper, you achieve a state of mental equilibrium. Take deep breaths and go for a short break before resuming your duties.
Learning customer service do’s and don’ts will help you improve your business. As customer experience becomes a competitive differentiator, you need to improve your customer service to ensure retention and loyalty.
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