What is the most important thing you can do to reduce churn and increase referrals from word of mouth? The solution is obvious, but it is frequently overlooked: improve your customer service.
What your customers are most likely to remember is the direct contact they have with your company, regardless of how awesome you think your product is or how talented you think your team is.
After years of working in an industry crowded with competitors selling similar products, we’ve discovered that customer service is our most powerful competitive differentiator. And if you’re not constantly looking for ways to improve your customer service, your customer relationships will suffer and your growth will slow.
A customer service tip-of-the-day is one of the methods we use to keep our support team on their toes and our company culture on track. In this post, we’d like to share our best customer service tips with you, so you can use them to train your own support team.
Develop Empathy, Patience, and Consistency
Some of your customers will be inquisitive, others will be chatty, and still, others will be irate. You must be prepared to empathize with customers, handle all of them, and consistently provide the same level of service.
Recognize that providing excellent customer service is a lifelong process.
Every customer is unique, as are all support situations. You must be willing to keep learning in order to handle surprises, sense a customer’s mood, and address new challenges appropriately. Strive for a thorough understanding of your customers’ problems and continue to look for better ways to solve them.
Check with customers to see if they understand.
Make certain that your customers understand exactly what you mean. You don’t want your customers to think they’re getting a 25% discount when they’re actually getting a 25% increase in the product. Check with customers to see if they understand what you’re saying. Use positive language, maintain a cheerful demeanor at all times, and never end a conversation without confirming that the customer understands and is satisfied.
Demonstrate Your Work Ethic to Your Customers
Customers value a representative who does not pass the buck and stays with them until their problem is resolved. However, you cannot spend too much time dealing with one customer while others wait. To achieve the proper balance, you must remain focused on your objectives.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say “I’m Not Sure.”
Your customers rely on you to know everything there is to know about your product. It is your responsibility to stay informed so that you can respond to questions or, at the very least, know where to go if the questions become too technical for you to answer. If you don’t know the answer, it’s acceptable to tell your customers “I don’t know,” as long as you follow it up with “but I’ll find out.” Customers will appreciate your candor and efforts to find the best solution.
Thick Skin Is Required
You’ve heard the adage “the customer is always right.” There is some truth to that. The best customer service representatives can swallow their pride and accept blame or negative feedback…or deal with unreasonable customers empathically. Your primary goal should always be to make your customer happy. If a customer is completely unreasonable, just be human and talk to them on their level. Tell them you’re doing your best.
Pay Attention to the Experience of Your Customers
A bad customer experience at any stage of the customer lifecycle can ruin your relationship. Pay critical attention to key touchpoints: customer trial periods, customer sign-ups, customer onboarding, etc. Make sure you have a complete picture of your customer experience, or you risk service breakdowns that will harm your business. If you discover a lapse in service, make sure to notify your management team so that it can be corrected.
Display to Your Customers You Are a Person
Make every effort to find common ground and shared interests with the customers you assist. By humanizing your relationship you’ll make resolving conflict easier, your customers will like you more (and as a result, your business).
Practice Active Listening
When you use active listening, your customers feel heard. Make sure your customers know you understand them by clarifying and rephrasing what they say. The key is to empathize with them and reflect their feelings by saying things like, “I’m sorry, I can see why that is upsetting” or “That is a problem and I understand what you’re saying”.
Admit Your Mistakes
If you mess up, admit it, even if you discover your mistakes before your customers do. Admitting you messed up builds trust and restores your customer’s confidence in your service. It also allows you to control the situation, re-focus the customer’s attention, and fix the problem.