Regardless of the size or budget of your business, customer service should never be treated as an extra. On the contrary, when done right, high-quality customer service can be the power that drives your business to the top.
Every employee and manager should be aware of the importance of customer service and what it can do to the business. But to do so, there are a few principles that should be followed at all times.
So, what are the principles of customer service? How can you use customer service to gain a competitive advantage and increase your market share? Keep on reading to learn more about this topic.
No matter how much effort you put into designing your products, delivering high-quality service, and advertising your business on multiple platforms, bad customer service can ruin all your efforts. This is why it’s crucial to identify customer service principles and, as a manager, make sure that everyone in the company is following them to secure your spot in the market.
- Make sure that every employee understands their role in customer care. Regardless of their department, every employee eventually will have to respond to an external or internal customer, who might be another employee.
This way, the rules of customer care service should be applied every step of the way to guarantee that all internal and external customers are satisfied with the service they receive.
- Employees should understand that without customers they won’t have a job and they should try to make sure that all customers are satisfied at all times. Greeting customers with a smile and responding to their comments politely goes a long way.
- Employees should respond promptly to customers. Even if the employee is busy and engaged with another customer, they can greet a new customer, let them know that they’ll be with them shortly, or suggest another employee who can help them.
- Some employees get overwhelmed when customers are upset or complaining. However, regular and practical training should help employees learn how to act under stress.
- Managers should explain to employees how speed affects customer service. This includes improving the first response time and problem resolution time.
All these time-related concepts affect the customer’s overall experience and will eventually impact how they feel about the product or service they received and about the whole company. The first response time is when the employee acknowledges the customer’s question or complaint to make them feel heard. The problem resolution time is the time the problem took to be finally solved.
- Employees should engage in active listening. Although some customers understand that some problems can’t be addressed or solved on the spot, others might be distraught that they tend to forget this fact.
By acknowledging the problem, showing understanding, and promising to handle the complaint or question as soon as possible, an employee will be able to calm an angry customer down. Not only will this help the company retain a customer, but it can also have a significant impact on the word-of-mouth marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, in most cases, the complaint itself isn’t as important as how the complaint is handled.
- In addition to speed and politeness, employees should also be accurate while providing information. Customers expect accuracy and won’t be impressed by it, but inaccuracy can result in extreme customer dissatisfaction.
When an employee is inaccurate, not only will they seem incompetent, but the customer will also start questioning the integrity of the whole company. If the employee doesn’t know the answer to a question, they should ask another employee or a manager for help.
- Customers might not always be right, but employees should always control their reactions. Treating customers with dignity, respect, and understanding can help solve a problem or prevent it from escalating.
If the customer is upset, a trained employee can use several diplomatic ways to calm him or her down. A trained employee should never try to make the customer feel stupid or ignorant, even if they’re wrong. Instead, they should explain their point politely and professionally.
- A trained employee should always be in control of the situation. If the employee is unable to help the customer or if the situation is escalating, a trained employee should ask another employee or manager for help. This shows that the employee understands what the customer needs and wants to offer whatever they can to help solve the problem.
- Employees should focus on improving the customer’s experience and not just handle the current complaint. This includes providing extra help after solving a problem, guiding the customer to another product that might better suit their need, and asking them for feedback to understand what went wrong.
When the customer realizes that the employee cares about what they need, they start to have a new perspective regarding the whole situation, even if they came in for a complaint. A trained employee can actually turn a negative situation into a positive one.
- Clarity and simplicity should be followed when handling customers’ questions and complaints. The customer doesn’t want to feel that they don’t understand what’s going on, and it’s the employee’s job to explain the problem and the solution efficiently.
Employees and managers should emphasize transparency when dealing with customers. Customers can be more understanding if they know what’s going on, why their problem is taking too long to be solved, and how long it’ll take to have their problem solved.
Showing the customer the wait time and how many customers are waiting to be served can calm them down and show them that the employee is actually working even if they’re not working on their particular issue.
High-quality customer service standards should be the guideline that every company follows. Regardless of the company’s size and market, the employees and manager should follow customer care principles at all times. Even if the employee doesn’t belong to the customer care team, their main goal should be to satisfy all customers and make sure that they have an exceptional experience.