Customer service

Customer service is the direct one-on-one interaction between a consumer making a purchase and a representative of the company that is selling it. Most retailers see this direct interaction as a critical factor in ensuring buyer satisfaction and encouraging repeat business. Even today, when much of customer care is handled by automated self-service systems, the option to speak to a human being is seen as necessary to most businesses. It is a key aspect of servent leadership. Customer service is the interaction between the buyer of a product and the company that sells it. Good customer service is critical to business success, ensuring brand loyalty one customer at a time.Recent innovations have focused on automating customer service systems but the human element is, in some cases, indispensable.

The evolution of customer service

Customer service has evolved from the early days of rotary phones and call centers, when the phone was the only communication channel to the omni-channel world of today. Consumers can contact support via phone, live chat, WhatsApp, social media and even Amazon’s Alexa. Nevertheless, only a few companies leverage all the available technology to serve customers.

Why customer service is important?

Offering amazing customer service is important if you want to retain customers and grow your business. … Customer support is more than just providing answers; it’s an important part of the promise your brand makes to its customers. Positive reputation leads to higher growth. Reputation goes a long way in a business. It attracts customers, investors, partnerships, and employees. When seeking to improve reputation, start with excellent customer service. When everyone at a company has the same end-goal, the entire workflow becomes streamlined. Place the ultimate emphasis on your customer, then move through each department to align them behind customer service. Customer service is one of the most under-valued assets in business. If you can prove its worth, and get your team on board to harness its power, its success impacts every level of your organization.

How to improve customer service

1.   Practice Active Listening : Behind every customer service call is a real human who has a question or concern that needs to be answered. The person needs to feel understood, heard, and served. Active listening is a key skill set you can develop by practicing daily on your co-workers and family. First, you should approach each conversation with the goal to learn something and focus on the speaker. After the customer is finished speaking, ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand what they’re actually saying. Finally, finish the conversation with a quick summary to ensure everyone is on the same page. By practicing active listening, you’re not only going to possess the ability to become a truly exceptional customer service agent, but you’ll also improve your relationships outside of the office.

2. Learn to Empathise With Your Customers : Empathy is the ability to understand how the customer is feeling and where they’re coming from. While some people seem like they’re born with this trait, it’s a skill that can be acquired. When listening to the customer, try to see the problem through his eyes and imagine how it makes him feel. This is important in customer service because the customer will be more receptive if they feel understood by you. It can also de-escalate a conflict and create a more enjoyable interaction with your company.

3. Use Positive Language : When attending to customers’ problems, using positive language takes the stress away from the situation. Words are powerful and they can create trusting relationships with your customers. Verbs should be used positively. For example, instead of saying “don’t hit the red button” say “the green button is the best option.” Future tense is also positive as it doesn’t dwell on the customer’s past issues. Phrases like “Great question, I’ll find that out for you!” and “I’d love to understand more about …” can keep the customer in the present moment. Also, remember when speaking to customers to make sure you’re authentic, positive, memorable, and to stay calm and positive, even if the customer is angry.

4. Improve Your Technical Skills ; Customers may come to you with all types of problems and they want their questions answers fast. If you don’t know how to properly implement a service ticket, you’ll be wasting their valuable time. Before interacting with customers, you should fully understand how to use your live chat and ticketing system and learn to type fast.

5. Know Your Products and Services ; In order to help the customer, you must have a deep knowledge of your products and the way they work. It’s recommended that each customer service agent spends onboarding time with a seasoned product specialist so he can ask questions and fully understand the ins and out of the product. This way, you’ll be able to help customers when they’re troubleshooting issues, and you’ll know product tips and tricks you can share to make the product easier to use.

Dealing with angry customer’s

1. Stay calm ; In some cases, a customer may be visibly distressed or angry. Despite their demeanor, use a smile and body language, such as eye contact and an outreached hand for a handshake, to show that you are open to this interaction and invested in solving their concerns. Even while communicating with clients over the phone, smiling conveys warmth in your voice although they can’t see you. Using a low tone of voice might induce the speaker to also lower their pitch and volume.

2. Shift your mindset ; It might be natural to think to yourself that the situation is not your fault. However, the success of this interaction hinges largely on you not taking the customer’s anger personally. This can be done by switching from a mindset of finding blame (what or who caused this problem to happen) to a mindset where the goal is to find a solution. Saying something like, “Let’s see how I can help,” is a good way to signal this mindset. It also helps you handle the situation with less stress to yourself.

3. Acknowledge their distress : The first thing the customer is looking for from you is a recognition that something has happened to upset them. You can acknowledge their feelings without accepting blame by saying something such as, “I can see you’re upset, and I’m so sorry.”

4. Introduce yourself : Telling the customer your name and learning theirs may naturally place the interaction on a more cordial footing. Ask the customer their name, and then use it throughout and often during your conversation. This makes the interaction more personal and lets the customer know you care specifically about them rather than if you use a formal title such as “sir” or “ma’am.” For example, “Mrs. Walters, I see here that you placed the order on May 5?” or “Let’s see how many items were in your cart, Lester.”

5. Calm yourself down ;Even if you are in customer relations and interact with irate customers on a regular basis, a state of mental equilibrium will help you refresh your mind and deal with your next customer just as effectively. Speak to a friend, take some calming deep breaths or if time and rules permit, go for a short walk to clear your mind before returning to your duties.