The five “golden rules” of customer service are to be available, listen to your customers, keep your word, handle complaints and be helpful.
Customer service is important as makes your customers feel valued, respected and happy. This will bring them back to your service time and time again and provide positive feedback about your business to others. In turn this will generate more people trying your product or service who will also then enjoy your customer service and become repeat customers.
Providing promotions and creating expensive marketing campaigns will all help draw attention to your business. But unless you only want your customers to use your service once, you business will not be profitable without good customer service.
In essence, good customer service is about forming a relationship with the customer. Revolving around the customer is key. They must feel comfortable and confident that you are helping them. Providing good customer service is very simple providing you follow some guidelines.
1. Be available
Providing a service should be your first priority. Someone should be available during opening hours to greet customers and answer phone calls. The customer is more important than almost everything else. Once the customer wants your attention you must give it. You may be stacking a shelf or finishing a report but that can wait.
2. Listen to your customers
Forget going in with a sales pitch and bombarding them with product information. Always start with customers doing the talking. Why are they in your business today, what are they looking for, how can you help? Actively listen to their responses. Show them you are listening by summarising what they have said and checking if your understanding is correct. Use the information they have given you to help them.
How can you get them what they want if you haven’t taken the time to listen? You may get a sale with a sales pitch but if it isn’t what they want, chances are that product will be returned.
3. Keep your word
If you say you are going to deliver on Tuesday, make sure you do. If you say you will call back, always call back. Essentially customers must feel that your business is reliable and trustworthy. If you cannot keep your promises, do not make them! Always give very careful thought before promising anything to customers. Can you absolutely deliver this? If not, do not promise it. Empty promises will do far more damage to your business in the long run.
Always give every complaint your attention and do not dismiss it. Ok, you may not be able to please the person making it but if you deal with the complaint properly you may turn it into an opportunity. By paying attention to what is being said you have the opportunity to discover something about your business and correct it. If you make sure your customer feels listened to and valued you may find they feel confident to return to your business again.
5. Be helpful
Sometimes a situation may arise whereby your business will not profit from an exchange. For example, a customer in your store has a broken bag. They are struggling with their shopping. Take the time to help them fix their bag.
Whilst this does not result in any financial gain for your business it shows that you care and value you customers. Chances are your business will be the first place they go next time they need the product you provide.
Engage in Learning provide Customer Services training courses which will help you understand why good customer service should be a crucial part of your business and how you can achieve it. The Customer Service Essentials course will show you how to evaluate the real impact of poor and good customer service.