Providing quality customer service seems like a piece of cake for some of the most established and celebrated businesses in the world. With their brands being recognized for having the best products or services, to proven abilities in maintaining communication with clients and handling every complaint graciously, to beating each competitor, great customer service is certainly more than being able to meet the needs and demands of every customer.
Make every customer experience memorable and worthwhile by following the golden rules of good customer service to deliver customer delight and encourage more referrals for your business.
The 10 Golden Rules of Great Customer Service
1. Keep Good Manners
In a service-oriented environment, never expect customers to be nice and friendly from time to time. In fact, most of the time, the best customer service representatives are honed through challenging situations involving angry and irritated customers. A respectful customer service representative is capable of dealing with difficult customers without invalidating the customers’ emotions. Good manners are very important in dealing with a client’s problem and many businesses tend to focus on training their staff in maintaining a service-oriented kind of attitude to reach customer satisfaction.
Here are some ways to show outstanding service manners and keep your customers happy:
- Listen to their inquiries, complaints, or feedback attentively.
- Keep a good posture and eye contact while the customer is speaking. Never slouch, nod, or shake your head to express disinterest, agreement, or disagreement.
- Never make promises but give assurance that you will do your best to resolve their problems.
- Always talk to them with the proper salutation.
- Let them know that they are valued.
2. Respond to their Concerns Promptly
One of the most important yet underrated customer service rules is providing prompt responses to customers. It doesn’t matter if the client’s problem is considerably easy or small compared to others, make sure you’re valuing their time, and you are doing the most to give real-time answers to their concerns.
While peak seasons may affect the response time of businesses to customers, always find the need to give an assurance that you will resolve the issue as soon as possible. For businesses with functional live chat tools and software, editing and giving a personal touch to an automatic reply is one way to show that you are not ignoring your customers and that you will be back soon.
Response time is crucial in businesses. A Forrester Research found out that 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing that companies can do if they want to succeed in providing the best online customer service to them. With a percentage this high, it is safe to say that time is indeed gold for satisfied customers.
3. Set up an Effective and Updated Knowledge Base
This rule goes to both the business and the employees. You might be familiar with the knowledge bases seen on websites (FAQs, video tutorials, online manuals) to encourage self-service support and maximize the time dedicated to resolving complex concerns. While the said knowledge bases are useful, there are customer questions that cannot be answered by a typical knowledge base.
When a customer comes inside a business establishment, there is a first assumption that all staff are knowledgeable about the products and services that the company offers.
Excellent customer service starts with building product and service knowledge that staff can share with customers To give excellent customer service, every staff must be aware of all the essential information that customers might ask. A knowledgeable customer service staff is a confident staff, and in customer relations, confidence could go a long way.
According to Yonyx, “Product knowledge will make your customer service team sound confident, competent and efficient. Their conviction in the company’s offering will be reflected when they interact with the customer, leading to higher possibility of a sale and customer satisfaction.”
Conducting product and service knowledge workshops and training is an ideal way to start employee knowledge and skills development.
4. Speak a Friendly and Comprehensible Language
Most customer success stories started from plain business relationships to valuable friendships. As mentioned in the first part of this article, exceptional customer service is not as simple as maintaining courtesy, providing perfect solutions to customer problems, or issuing apologies for every single bad experience. One of the things that keep customers happy and coming back is delivering personalized and relatable service. This might sound like good manners, but deeper.
Sales professionals are known for having a different language and this goes with all professions in other industries. Language plays a pivotal role in ensuring customer loyalty and repeat business through service personalization and speaking the type of language that every customer can understand.
For example, a company that offers computer products and services hires sales and marketing staff who are competent and knowledgeable in computer hardware and software. But not all customers are capable of understanding and speaking the same IT language. Customers go to stores to get the products and services that they need conveniently, and it is not advisable for businesses to make a customer feel unfamiliar with the language they speak.
It’s easy to connect with customers if companies and staff don’t use jargon in introducing or explaining a product’s benefits. Lastly, adopting proper and comprehensible language for every customer helps a company break boundaries between them and their employees and clients.
5. Practice Empathy Before an Apology
Nothing is more impressive than a customer service agent who knows how a customer feels. After a disappointing experience, the immediate action of a typical person is to apologize. For customer service professionals, things are different.
Customer service advisers always suggest that the first step to conflict resolution is to show empathy before apologizing and coming up with a solution. To do this effectively, it’s important to follow the HEAT model, which stands for Hear, Empathize, Apologize, and Take action.
Attentively listen to the complaints of customers Don’t interrupt them while speaking and assure them that they’re being heard.
Be vocal in telling them that you understand how they feel. Put yourself in their shoes and make them feel that their feelings are valid.
Knowing when and how to apologize is a mark of good service in any industry. This is another crucial step in conflict resolution since it is very easy to let your emotions take control of you and accidentally invalidate the concerns of customers.
An ideal apology in customer service standards doesn’t have excuses or rebuttals. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done your best, if it was not enough for the customer, no ifs or buts, apologize.
Now that you know what’s keeping the customer disappointed and unsatisfied, it’s time for you to take the necessary action. By taking the proper action, make sure that they’ll get what they need without having to break the company rules and ethical practices. Staff should also learn how to say no sometimes.
Reviewing terms and conditions in customer service can help you and your staff create fair yet quality solutions to the concerns of your customers and at the same time, protect the integrity of your staff and your business.
6. Create a Solid Communication Channel
Communication can make or break a business and if you want to make sure that your business can handle hundreds and thousands of inquiries, complaints, service and support requests, and feedback, creating and maintaining a one-stop customer support portal is not a rare necessity. With an omnichannel platform, staff can handle product and service-related concerns and complaints in minutes without abandoning other important tasks.
Receiving data from many channels can be tough, so adopting the omnichannel strategy can help businesses handle and manage the reception and sending of emails, instant messages, auto-replies, and ticketing.
Knowing your product and service offerings, the shopping habits of your customers, and the in demand items for your business as well as your competitors can help you choose the best omnichannel customer service and support provider. An omnichannel platform for customer service can be a live chat software or a business suite or app with all in one access to email, messaging, ticketing, and service requests.
Check out the best omnichannel eCommerce platforms and software that could be ideal for your business to create a solid communication channel here.
7. Always Give Your 100% (or more)
One thing that sets a great business apart from its competitors is its ability to create long-lasting relationships with its customers. Businesses tend to underestimate the power of after-sales service, and it is easy to know why. Once a transaction is done and a deal has been closed, customer service representatives meet and serve other customers to seal another deal. While getting many customers is impressive, establishing long-lasting connections and converting a regular customer to a loyal one is more rewarding.
The best customer service professionals are willing to give extra effort to make sure that a customer is satisfied and for a certain product or service, a specific customer doesn’t need to go somewhere else. There are many ways to excel in customer service, and sending a “Thank You” email is a great one. Businesses may also put regular customers on a priority list for promos and seasonal offers. These simple efforts can make customers feel extra special.
8. Take Pride in Positive Reviews
There is an old saying that if you got it, flaunt it. This is true of businesses. Positive reviews solidify a company’s reputation because they come from real people with real experiences with your business. Always ask for a review after a successful business transaction and do not forget to highlight the best feedback for other potential customers to see.
You may have these posted on your website or social media pages. Just make sure to ask the permission of the customer before doing so to avoid privacy issues and complaints.
9. Track Staff Performance and Develop their Skills
Another effective way to make sure that the best quality of customer service will be delivered to your customers is by regularly monitoring the staff’s performance. Not every day is a nice and blissful day for employees and their moods could definitely affect their performance.
Moreover, unmotivated customer service representatives tend to give late responses, and they may not be able to keep level-headed conversations with customers. This might cause several complaints and decrease customer satisfaction.
To keep them motivated, set clear Key Performance Indicators for Customer Service, set up regular rewards and recognition systems, and give help to employees through seminars, workshops, and training to improve their communication, sales, and negotiation skills. You may also offer online courses and certificate programs for your customer service staff to enhance their competencies and professionalism. You will be surprised to know how these could help your business in the longer run.
10. Foster a Nurturing and Empowering Work Environment
The last rule applies to businesses in all industries. To create happy customers, you need happy employees. And happy employees are products of a nurturing and empowering work environment. During a company’s early stages, the business is like a blank canvas. If you want to create a masterpiece, you need to be motivated to draw and color your work. Employees feel motivated when they are appreciated and valued, and they will be more than capable of providing quality service when they are being taken care of.
Giving good salary and benefits packages, incentives, and new learning opportunities help in fueling the goal of employees to serve customers. When employees are being treated well with respect, you can expect them to love what they do and respect the customers as well.
Always remember that teamwork makes the dream work and no matter how much you spend to keep your business afloat, your workforce is the one that will make your business shine. A great business prioritizes employee loyalty as much as they focus on customer loyalty.
Exceptional Customer Service is Every Business Owner’s Goal
Delivering exceptional customer service is every business owner’s goal, and following these golden rules can help your business grow into a reputable, service-oriented, and customer-centric company. Keep in mind that serving customers is not a one-man show, and for a business to become successful, every responsible individual should move and go the extra mile.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the happy faces of customers and employees and the feeling of confidence that you have, knowing that your business will always be their ultimate choice for their needs. Just like Ritz Carlton’s mantra, “We are ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen.”
Never settle for less and always strive for the best.
Success in business is a tough road, but it is worth it. Share this article and motivate more businesses to always be the best!
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