How to Improve Customer Service
Build a World-Class Service Organization
Today, as companies find it harder to differentiate their products and services, and customers demonstrate less brand loyalty than ever before, the ability to deliver superior support is the key to maintaining a competitive edge. With customer service software, companies of all types and sizes can:
Improve Service Delivery
Fast and efficient delivery of service keeps the customers happy. Their appreciation of this service will keep them coming back for more.
Identify and Resolve Problems
Today’s customers have little tolerance for poor service delivery. One small mistake in your support procedures and you can count the seconds that it takes for the customer to walk out the door with no intentions of returning.
Knowing where the problems lie is one thing, knowing how to resolve them is another. Listen to your employees and customers alike, ideas will present themselves if you are willing to find them.
Work to improve what you have available for your customers to choose from. Don’t be afraid of changes that will increase your revenue.
Just remember to let your customers be aware of the changes; if they come in and everything’s changed it can cause confusion and discomfort in your customer.
Something you want to recognize right away and ensure you deal with correctly.
Customers appreciate a bargain. Better quality and lower costs are what people are drawn to. Keep your customers options compatible to their needs as merchants.
Gather Customer Opinions
Don’t be afraid to get feedback. It can guide you on the steps to make for improving the customer service you provide.
Customer Service Tips
Ensuring the customer who keeps you in business is satisfied is crucial. Here are some simple tips on how to maximize your customer service:
- Keep in mind the quality of customer service can never surpass the quality of the people who provide it. Keeping those who work for you happy will improve the quality of service your customers experience.
- Do for your customer as you would want to have done to you. It’s an easy principle really, knowing that your Employees take their cue from management. If you the employer don’t set the services expected by example, you are not going to find your employees doing as you would like. Don’t just tell them how, show them. Customers will notice it too.
- Remember you regulars. Remember to acknowledge those who make regular visits. They appreciate it when you have an understanding of who they are. Their regular attendance pays your wages. Treat them with the respect they deserve, you will keep them happy and returning again.
- Make a good impression. When your regulars come in, they will seek you out again and again. Your good service makes them want to return for your service. There’s a sense of trust and contentment knowing you’ve been a good representative of the company to them. Your smile and kind words will leave a lasting impression, and impression that will ensure they return.
- Go the extra mile. Customers appreciate feeling like VIP’s when they are being served. Giving then you attention and any ‘special’ treatment will go a long way on how they view the service they received. Ensure you always thank the customer for their business and a smile can go a long way.
- Are your customers greeted when they walk in the door or at least within 30-40 seconds upon entering? Acknowledging your customer with a welcome and a hello, accompanied by a smile will have a huge impact on the rest of your service. If a customer feels ignored they will leave and give their business to another company.
- Give customers the benefit of the doubt. The customer is always right attitude goes a long way. Even when you believe they are mistaken, give them the courteously of listening go their complaint. Then do what you can to resolve their concerns.
- If a customer is looking for something specific, it goes a long way if you can go out of your way to ensure you can provide their request. For instance a customer really wants an outfit you have in the store, but their size is sold out. Making efforts to bring in that item will really impress your customer. This will in turn bring about repeat sales.
- Training staff on the proper customer handling procedures so all are on the same page will add an overall good impression of the customer service you have in your store.
- Talk to your customer, if you know a few things about them, you may be able to suggest items they could use in addition to the products they are considering. Don’t be pushy, just suggestive. Keep in mind that the big money isn’t as much in winning customers as it is in keeping your customers.
Customer Service Woes
Regardless of what you do in life, at some point you will have had to offer a customer service of some form, if you haven’t had to offer it, you will have at some point been a customer.
Customer service expectations are high. Even the smaller companies need to maintain a high quality of customer service if they want to keep their business going. Nothing destroys a business faster than a bad customer experience.
Customer surveys are conducted often to ensure their customers are satisfied. Mystery shoppers enter your business and will judge it for the customer service, among other things.
Customers have voiced their opinions on what they feel is not good customer service.
Some of the things people have complained about were;
- Representative does not acknowledge them politely upon entering their store/restaurant.
- Representative doesn’t smile or offer service in a pleasant manner. A mono tone or scowl on the face can really put your customers off.
- Representative is not informed. A representative who does not know what they are talking about can really frustrate a customer.
- Representative does not thank them for their patronage.
A few simple facts to consider; if you do not feel welcome or appreciated in the store/restaurant you’ve attended, chances are you will not return and you will not suggest this location to others.
Keep in mind, the service you would want if it was you is what your customer deserves.
Choosing Your Customer services Staff
When you are hiring persons to work in your store/business, you want to ensure you are promoting your ideals through the right people. Having a person who is not approachable, doesn’t “look the part”, is rude or sarcastic, doesn’t smile, or is generally incompetent will hurt your business.
There are skills and attributes to consider when hiring staff, some of these are:
- Congenial and fun personality; an outgoing individual who appears confident and posses a polite demeanor gives the customer a feeling of comfort. If a customer is comfortable with the agent they are speaking with, they are more apt to stay and return producing the sales you are looking for.
- An aptitude for managing difficult situations is a good thing. If your employee takes everything to heart, it may be hard to keep that employee feeling comfortable, and this may reflect on the customer.
- An aptitude for presenting merchandise that will help your customer takes a great person. Customers want people who are knowledgeable and can ensure they will get the item they need.
- A strong team player is a good quality in an employee. If your employee cannot work well with others it will be hard on everyone, including the customer.
Consider who it is you are hiring, they represent your company. You will want to have people working for you who can bring your customers back again and again.
Customer Service Jobs
Jobs that cover customer service can be found in the following:
- Audio Equipment Salesperson
- Automobile Salesperson
- Car Rental Agent
- Clothing Salesperson
- Computer Salesperson
- Retail Counter Clerk
- Retail Department Store Clerk
- Furniture Salesperson
- Hardware Store Clerk
- Jewelry Salesperson
- Retail Sales Associate
- Retail Sales Clerk
- Retail Salesperson
- Restaurant Servers
- Restaurant Hostesses
- Hotel Clerks
- Housekeeping Hairdressers
Virtually any business that offers a service is subject to Customer Service standards.
Job descriptions may entail:
- Greet customers and discuss type, quality and
quantity of merchandise or services sought for
purchase, rental or lease
- Seating guests, taking orders, making suggestions on
- Advise customers on use and care of merchandise, and
provide advice concerning specialized products or
- Estimate or quote prices, credit terms, trade-in
allowances, warranties and delivery dates
- Prepare merchandise for purchase, rental or lease
- Prepare sales, rental or leasing contracts and
accept cash, cheque, credit card or automatic debit
- Assist in display of merchandise
- Maintain sales records for inventory control
- Maintaining a clean and healthy environment
- Operate computerized inventory record keeping and
- May conduct sales transactions through
Internet-based electronic commerce.
There are many things you can do in order to ensure the best customer service possible. Knowing some of the basics of customer service is a good place to start.
Customer Service Training
As a business provider you want to ensure all those working for you are supplying the same service. This is so that each time a customer enters your store or place of business they can expect the same service quality.
Not all persons in your business will be the same, but, with training on how to properly ensure a quality of service is incredibly essential.
Training your employees to do more than just take the money and put the purchased items into a bag will have a huge impact on all involved. A well trained employee knows what they are selling/serving they’re able to greet their customers with confidence, and are able to maximize their service potential.
Training can be done as a seminar, manuals they’re required to review, or one-on-one training. Role playing is a great way of managing the way your employees will take care of your customers.
Customer service doesn’t have to be complicated. Let your employees know the value of good service and show them how to; by your example. It’s a skill that develops with time and experience, but, it never hurts to have refresher courses to maintain and/or improve customer services.
Well trained agents will maximize the customer satisfaction scenario keeping them coming back for more.
Handling Difficult Customers
The customer is never wrong – and some customers use this principle completely. What can you do when faced with a difficult customer?
Some customers make it their goal to ‘cause’ strife when they shop. Do you argue with them or do you let them abuse the system?
The answer is neither. Knowing that a customer may have issues from time to time and being willing to help the customer with their concern is a good thing.
If however this is a customer who repeatedly “has issues”, then it may be necessary to consider the source.
An example of a customer who abuses the system is one who buys an item brings it back when it’s not “new” anymore only to replace it with the same thing, once isn’t too bad, even twice can be overlooked.
A customer, who brings their items back over and over again, may be looking at a chance to take advantage of your stores policies. Sometimes these are the very people who will cheat a company out of thousands of
Before arguing with the customer, prepare to look into this matter deeper. It may only require a manager advising the customer that this isn’t good practice or it may require a professional look into this person’s record.
The business industry is full of scam artists just looking to make a buck. Knowing the difference between a customer in need and a scammer may not be easy, but, you may need to consider how your company will handle
After all the harm a scammer can cause not only affects your profits, it can also affect other customers from obtaining their needs.
Tactics to manage difficult customers
- Be a good listener if you hear the whole story it may help in determining what to how to serve their needs better.
- Think and respond
- Consider ways to solve the problem, talk about them with your management.
- An empathy statement may defuse a customer who may otherwise be irrational.
- Resolve the issue
- Do all you can to rectify this situation and to ensure the matter will not happen again.
The customer can make or break your business. Acting with understanding and courtesy will go a long way.
Complaints Are Not Always A Bad Thing
Complaining customers are a scary proposition for many professionals, but the complaint situation represents an opportunity – not necessarily a problem.
If you deal with a person’s concerns respectfully and helpfully, your effort and consideration will almost always be appreciated, and former “complainers” will walk away feeling happy and valued.
Recognizing how you can benefit from complaints given by customers makes for an opportunity to improve and grow.
Depending on the nature and severity of the complaint, it’s a good idea to really grasp what the complaint is, what went wrong, and what was done to resolve it?
Continue to meet with your team and review what the complaint was; consider approaches to ensure it does not happen again.
Complaints can be difficult to handle, but, don’t be afraid of them. Be grateful to the customer for bringing the complaint to your attention. Had they simply ignored their dissatisfaction and went elsewhere; it would have been a lost customer. By their bringing this matter to you he is giving you the opportunity to correct it and to make future efforts on not letting the situation repeat.
Complaints + resolution = growth and customer satisfaction.
Customer Service And First Impressions
Customers make instant impressions of a business from the moment they walk in. A messy and disorganized store/business can leave a bad impression.
If you are a food establishment, the cleanliness of your location is the primary way in which your customer makes their impression.
Even if they can’t see the kitchen, even if the kitchen is spotless, a messy dining area, serving area, and even the bathroom can set the stage for complete dissatisfaction.
In fact many have walked out of a restaurant based on the cleanliness of the restroom (washroom).
Making sure your location is up to a general standard at minimum is important to your customer and to your business.
When a customer sees the stores is busy or under renovations, they are more understanding of the ‘disorderly’ chaos they see.
Yet, if they enter to see a group of employee’s chit chatting when tables need to be cleared, the floors need to be washed, or a customer is waiting for their bill, it’s a really bad stage for business failure.
There are reasons why those businesses who are booming are growing so well. They understand that customer service, cleanliness, and friendly staff make the experience one to return to.
Those companies who have failed missed one of those criteria if not more and the customers eventually go elsewhere.
In order to ensure the ultimate customer experience, address their satisfaction, from their entrance to their exit.