Great customer service is one of the top ways to win hearts and minds. If your service is head-and-shoulders above that of your competitors, you’ll even find that you get real customer loyalty, with customers returning for more of what you offer and referring their friends.
People are willing to pay a little more for the sake of getting good service too, and that means your pricing strategy needn’t be a “race to the bottom” that cuts into your profits. As a result, finding out how to improve customer service, and implementing that knowledge, could be one of the most important strategic initiatives you’ve ever undertaken. Use these tips to delight your customers and beat your competitors.
Invest in Training
We’re usually eager to help upskill our technical staff, but are we ready to invest in customer service? Put your money where your mouth is by getting experts to show your staff how to improve customer service skills. Line managers should definitely attend these courses, and you might want to make some time to do so yourself. Remember, you’re the one who provides the resources that will empower them to implement what they learned.
Customer service isn’t just about understanding people and making them feel valued. It also requires intimate knowledge of the technical side of your business. Provide regular training and refresher courses to ensure that your staff knows how to help clients with practical problems.
Hold Regular Internal Customer Service Review Sessions
Get feedback from line managers and staff, and show them that you think their work is important by holding customer service review sessions. Remember, you’re not aiming for clients who are “not unhappy,” you’re aiming to delight! Look for ways you can help your team to deliver an unforgettably positive customer service experience, find out what challenges your team faces, what issues customers commonly experience, and listen to customer service agents’ suggestions for improvement.
Build a Customer Focused Team Culture
It’s not just your customer service team that serves your customers. It’s your entire organisation! For those away from the customer-faced coalface, it’s all-too-easy to see customers as a “necessary evil” rather than a reason for being, and that’s an attitude that has to go. At every level in your business, across business functions, your customers are your reason for being. Give them the consideration they deserve and ensure that every person in your organisation is putting your customers first.
Treat Your Staff as You Would Your Customers
Unhappy staff will take their frustrations out on your customers. Happy, motivated staff, on the other hand, will be eager to share the positivity with coworkers and customers alike. Keep your staff engaged by keeping employee-related services and policies ticking over smoothly. Provide a pleasant working environment that motivates them to do their very best for your business and its clients.
Set up an Employee Recognition and Reward Scheme
You probably already have policies that ensure that the employees who do the most for you stand to gain salary increases, performance bonuses, and opportunities for promotion. If you don’t, start here. But not all rewards and forms of recognition are monetary. Do you have an employee of the month programme? Being praised in front of their colleagues and receiving recognition in the form of a certificate, a small gift voucher, or even a mention in your newsletter adds a feel-good factor and a little bit of healthy, internal competition.
Recruit Team Members With Strong Customer-Orientation
Want to know how to improve customer service? Hiring people with a strong understanding of what customers want, and what going the extra mile from “good service” to “great service” entails is a good start. When recruiting, look for candidates that highlight their customer-faced achievements and ask them questions designed to gauge their understanding of the importance of customer service.
Practice Active Listening and Communicate Clearly
Whether it’s your customer service staff listening to clients or you listening to employees’ challenges, cultivate active listening at every level in your business. That means listening carefully, providing cues that make people feel that they are understood, and encouraging them to elaborate. Listen to what is said, and pay attention to things that may have been left unsaid. Follow up with open-ended questions to gain a better understanding.
When it’s time for you or your customer service staff to do the talking, be sure that the message is clear, the voice well-modulated and well-paced, and the pronunciation good. A need to ask “What do you mean?” or say “I beg your pardon?” should be the exception, not the standard.
Understand Your Customers’ Needs: Then go The Extra Mile
What do your customers really want from your business? Don’t just assume you know. Give it thought, talk to your team, and talk to your clients. What most people want, however, is to feel valued, for things to be easy, for your product to solve a problem, and for your business to deliver everything they wanted plus, if possible, a little more. Meeting a need is good. Exceeding expectations is what makes customers feel delighted and amazed!
Use Positive Language and Seek Common Ground
If you’re wondering how to improve customer service skills, training your staff to use positive language could be a big help. Help them to learn how to say what can be done instead of what can’t be done. Teach them how to offer alternative solutions instead of just saying that the one suggested can’t work, and help them to learn ways to use words and phrases that sound helpful and encouraging instead of implying that the customer is to blame. In customer service, there’s always common ground to bring customers and service agents together – if nothing else, the customer has a pain point and the person serving them wants to help them with solutions!
Personalise Customer Service
Harness the power of advanced software to personalise customer service. Your service personnel should be able to access every interaction you’ve had with a client and take it from there. Do you get frustrated when you have to go through a rigmarole you already navigated every time you call a company? Your clients will too. Show them you care by empowering your customer service employees to know exactly where their customer journey has taken them so far.
Learn From Your Customers
You’d like to think that everything your business does is great, but the acid test is what your customers think. Since you can’t read their minds, gather and analyse customer feedback. If you want to know how to improve customer service, your clients probably have the answers already! Be open to their criticisms and look for ways to learn from them. Consider all feedback, both negative and positive. Getting something right? Do more of that! Doing something wrong? Fix it!
Struggling With Customer Service Needs? Use a Simple Solution
You know that your customer service offering needs to be improved, but there’s just one problem. You have a business to run, new products to develop, strategic alliances to make, and more. The solutions we’ve looked at so far require a full-time team and a big chunk of your time, attention, and leadership.
Is there a way to instantly employ ready-trained, highly-skilled, empathetic and articulate customer service agents, understand your customers better, and develop your business with customer needs in mind without it becoming a full-time plus overtime job for you? There is!
RSVP, a London-based customer service and communications company, is ready to help you achieve customer service that’s beyond “good” while providing the information you need to keep your finger on the pulse of customer opinion. Understand your customers better, find new ways to meet their needs, and provide top-notch, specialist customer service with RSVP. Find out more about our outsourced customer service today – because delighting your customers is our business.