All too often customers are left with an uneasy feeling of frustration after speaking with a customer service representative. They hang up the phone and vow never to use your company again, and if angry enough they will tell anyone who will listen about their terrible experience. “Even bad publicity is good publicity” applies to actors, not to companies.
When companies are starting out it’s easy to think of customer service as a necessary evil to be executed with as little overhead as possible, because let’s face it, there are a lot of other things that require your attention and resources. But marketing and advertising costs are high, and finding new customers costs money. Your goal should be to keep customers loyal and hope they refer more people to you. It’s a more cost effective approach and will grow your company faster and with a stronger foundation.
Here are 7 important tips for a better customer service experience:
- Empower your staff with information they need to handle the call on their own. Being put on hold several times during a call creates distrust and a feeling your rep is not equipped to help the customer. They may hang up on the call entirely, or be left with a nagging feeling their problem is not yet over. This can result in multiple calls that will drain your resources. Get it done right the first time and leave the customer with a feeling of confidence in your company. Remember, stuff happens, and your customers will forgive you as long as your customer support can reinstate confidence during the initial call.
- Train your staff to be proactive. In any sales training we are taught how to overcome obstacles thrown at us by our customers. Depending on your industry you can compile a list of obstacles with solutions for your staff, so they are not caught off guard and forced to respond defensively to negative situations.
- Create a mission statement specifically for customer service. Simply saying you want to be “professional and courteous,” or “create a positive experience for customers” is not going to cut it. Focus also on the reality of some calls going bad and change the mission statement to something like: “Creating fewer frustrated Customer calls.”
- Complete the call with a “Yes.” Ask the customer if they are satisfied with the answers or solutions provided in that call. Do not disconnect the call until the answer is “Yes!”
- It starts at the top. Regardless of the size of a company, the commitment to excellent customer service starts at the top. CEO’s should still want to be in the loop.
- Your website should also provide help for your customers. Create an effective FAQ page to answer basic questions and provide solutions. A solid FAQ page can lower the number of calls to your company.
- Keep your customer service in house, or at least in the country! Outsourcing may cost you less, but in the long run may cost you customers. You want your customers to feel the people they speak with are connected to your company