How to deliver great Customer Service
If you want the people in your organisation to learn how to deliver great customer service, here are some practical customer service training tips that will help you instill some of the key skills and attitude changes that are important. Many of these are specifically for handling customers on the telephone but the principles apply in many face to face situations too. These are tried and tested techniques used by organisations both large and small to deliver great customer service.
First it is important understand what are the good things that your organisation currently does and what are the areas you need to improve. Some form of customer survey is often helpful and also an employee survey of current customer service practice.
Step 1. Define what great customer service looks like
Use this exercise to engage your people in the process. The objective here is to identify at least one example of when they have received excellent customer service. From this ask them:
- What was good about it?
- How did the person/organisation deal with you well?
- How personable were they?
- What was particularly helpful about what they did?
- What made their customer service stand out?
Next ask them to share examples of when they have received poor customer service:
- What happened?
- What was poor or bad about the service received?
- How did they react to your request?
- What feelings did this raise in you?
The next step is to get them to chart the differences between good and bad and from this draw out a definition of what great customer service looks like. Make sure you develop a list of what a good customer experience for your organisation includes, for example:
- The helpfulness and responsiveness of the person dealing with you
- Effective communication
- People skills
- Do what they say they will
- Understanding and empathy
- Going the extra mile
Step 2. Get into your customers mindset
We all tend to think about customer service from our point of view – this is natural as we are wired to think about what we want and like. Getting off our own agenda for a while and thinking about the customers needs and wants is a great help in seeing where customer service can be improved.
Get your people to identify the typical types or groups of customers common in your business. Now ask them to ‘step into’ the mindset of these types of customers and look at your business from their point of view. Ask ‘what are their needs at each step of their customer service experience’:
- Initial contact with you
- How we point them in the right direction for their needs
- The service or product they buy
- The completion of their contact with you
- After-sales service.
Step 3. Answering the telephone?
The telephone is a major point of contact for your customers, so make sure that you are answering it correctly.
- Say who you are, “good morning, Peter Jones, how can I help you?”
- Ask for the caller’s name, and note it down, clarifying the spelling
- Use the caller’s name as soon as possible, as this helps to build rapport
- Remember to sound bright and cheerful
- Show that you are organised and professional
- Convey a positive attitude towards the contact
- Be informative and helpful
- Sit upright to project your voice well
Step 4. Communicate effectively
Good communication skills are essential in great customer service.
- Build rapport quickly – in a friendly but professional way
- Listen attentively
- Avoid interruptions when on the phone
- Use open questions to gather information
- Use positive language
- Be clear, open and honest about what you can and can’t do
Step 5. Handle difficult situations and complaints effectively
Often people find dealing with difficult situations and complaints quite challenging. There are typically three types of customer responses:
Angry customers, argumentative customers and anxious customers
Here are some do’s and don’ts:
|Use their name|
Hear them out – listen before responding
Acknowledge the anger they are feeling
|Take it personally|
Get angry back
Apologise before you have the facts
Try to use logical arguments or explanations
|Use their name|
Work to understand their point of view
Try to solve the issue before you have the facts
|Use their name|
Tell them you understand their concern
Provide specific details and facts and repeat important information
|Trivialsie their concerns|
Use vague or unclear language
Make obvious attempts to hurry them along
Step 6. Clarify what will happen next
Once you have dealt with the customer, make sure that you clarify what will happen next by:
- Summarise their enquiry or complaint as you have understood it
- Get their agreement to your understanding
- Set out clearly what you will do next
- Ask them if they understand what you have said
- If you need further action and/or information from they be clear what you need them to do
- Give your name and contact details – take ownership
Step 7. Thank the customer for their business
Always thank the customer for making contact with your organisation even if it has been to make a complaint.
To find out more about our training courses in great customer service go to https://axiodevelopment.co.uk/training-courses/customer-service-courses/customer-service-skills-training/