Quite recently an audio of a gentleman who phoned Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) went viral. This guy asked the customer service personnel to inform the operators that they should turn off his lights and bring it back on in the evening so he could sleep. As irritating and annoying as this could be for anyone, the customer service personnel was very patient and listened to the plight of the young man.
The customer service personnel later thanked the gentleman for calling ECG and assured him that his plight will be attended to. Weeks after this, the audio went viral, the customer service personnel was promoted for her exhibition of good customer care relations. This made other consumers applaud ECG for their good customer care personnel amidst the Dumsor brouhaha.
All this goes to show how important good customer experience is for the growth of a business.
One very effective way to build your business is by providing a good customer experience for your patrons and such experience can only be possible with good customer service.
There are a lot of business owners who underrate customer service but trust me, it is very necessary to build a business. Good customer service enables the business owner to build a bond and long-term relationships with his customers.Customer service simply refers to the relationship and interaction between a product or service provider and a customer during and after patronage. Click To Tweet
This includes customer relations and another customer supports such as
a. After sale services
b. Assisting customers to make cost-effective and correct use of products
c. Supporting clients with maintenance and disposal of products, etc.
A business with good customer service produces satisfied customers, eliminates complaints, generates good references from its customers and increases sales. A good customer service provider provides services through every possible channel; front desk (personal), telephone calls (Toll-free is best), mobile phones, emails (With instant assistance), instant messaging (IM), social communications, etc.
There is the saying that in business, the customer is always right, but the trouble we are having today is that most business owners and employees do not prioritize the feelings and concerns of their customers. This is one of the reasons why a lot of businesses collapse.
The thing is, you as a business need your customers more than your customers need you. Without patrons, you fail to exist as a business but without your business, customers can always find alternative ways to get themselves the same products or services you were providing, because you are surely not the only provider of such products or services in the market.
This being said, customer service must be the culture of your business. Having a good customer relation can even draw the customers of your competitors to your side. One good customer service experience can change the entire perception a customer holds towards the business.
The success of your customer relations depends on employees who can adjust themselves to the personality of the customer. A business that values customer service may devote more resources to train its employees or may also make sure that the employees are doing their jobs well by occasionally interviewing customers for feedback.
To ensure the provision of good customer services from your employees, you must make sure that they possess the following customer service skills:
Employees must exhibit professionalism and treat customers accordingly. When employees manifest such professionalism, it will project how competent they are for the job to both the employer and the customer. This will create an open and comfortable environment for customers to feel free to express their concerns and or satisfaction.
If a person has very little patience or is intolerant of other people’s behaviours, that person cannot be a customer service representative. Putting such a person in charge would destroy the entire customer relationship of the business.
Therefore, your customer care representative must be very patient; as patient as the pupil-teacher.
Patience is very necessary because every customer is different and each of them has different ways of reacting to issues. When some will be very calm no matter the situation, others will be very agitated and even attempt to verbally assault you.
Without patience, employees cannot be able to relate to such customers and calm them down.
Clear communication skills
Do not assume that the customer understands the language you are speaking and every word of it. Some customers understand English; others are more comfortable with Twi or other preferred languages so before you ask what their problems are, ask them what language they would prefer to speak.
If you cannot speak or do not understand such language, divert the call or if it is a personal interaction, direct the customer to another representative that understands and can speak that language. This is one way of making the customer comfortable and giving him the opportunity to clearly express themselves.
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Also, you must possess the ability to use positive language to give assurance and hope to the customer. Instead of saying
“We do not have some in stock and I cannot tell when we will”, say ‘We are sorry madam, we do not have some in stock right now but we can pre-order them for you and you would have them by next week. Is that okay by you?”
Here, you have given the customer the assurance and if she does not need the items before next week, she will surely wait for the order.
Paying attention to the unsatisfied customer is the only way to clearly understand them. If you only listen without paying good attention, your response to them would not be accurate and hence, you would not be able to help them resolve their issues and as a result, the problem will still be there and they will keep complaining and then you will feel they are just disturbing you.
When you are attentive to your customers, you will always be able to help them accurately and make them happy. Hence, creating a good customer experience for them and they will always come back running to you.
Customer service is also very essential when it comes to online transactions. It is very important in keeping customers and other potential clients engaged. Without online customer support, your prospective customer might not get the necessary answers they need to convert them into loyal ones. Customers become loyal to a brand when they feel their needs are consistently met.
Adjusting your online customer support and providing the right support to your clients can impact the overall success of your business. Below are a few tips to help you give your customers the best online customer care.
1. Be honest
Being honest and transparent is very important when it comes to the Internet and online dealings. Every customer support personnel must be open and honest in every conversation with a client. If it is a mistake on the side of the brand, customer support should be able to accept the blame.
If an answer is not ready for a client, it is better to say I don’t know and give the clients assurance that measures will be put in place to rectify the situation. Also, remember not to overpromise because it could lead to disappointment when the promise isn’t met.
2. Be an expert
Each customer support interaction is a chance for a company to be a friendly guide and adviser to its customers. If a customer walks into a brick and mortar shop, he can instantly spot the difference between a knowledgeable and an uninformed sales associate. This interaction often shapes the quality of the entire shopping experience. The same holds true in virtual storefronts.
Each person tasked with answering the phone or live chatting for an online store should be current on the latest products and services. Each service representative should serve as an essential resource for customers.
Customer service representatives should look to offer more than just a reply. Consider surprising your customers with an additional gift, a free shipping upgrade, insider discount, etc. A simple offer can go a long way toward resolving a customer issue and mending a damaged relationship.
Of course, bonus gifts shouldn’t just be reserved for unhappy customers and holiday promotions. Surprise new and loyal customers with unexpected treats and they’ll be more likely to spread the word about their great experience.
4. Be helpful
Modern consumers are busy, not to mention able to choose from thousands of other shopping alternatives. Customer support representatives should be driven to help customers, answer questions and solve problems, not merely focus on metrics such as wait time and turnover rate.
It’s also a great policy to pro-actively engage those customers who appear in need of assistance. For example, if someone is resting at the same checkout page longer than average or a visitor keeps jumping across three product pages, savvy online sellers can initiate a conversation to help a customer when he needs it most.
While customer support has typically been viewed as a cost of doing business, a great customer experience strengthens the customer-brand bond and encourages repeat sales. Each satisfied customer and positive experience will ripple throughout the social web in the form of online reviews, happy tweets and excellent word-of-mouth referrals.
Christmas is fast approaching and as a result, consumers would be trooping in to pay for goods and services. Giving them a good customer care experience will keep them coming the following year.
If you have had certain experiences with customer service personnel, we would love to know your experience be it good or bad.
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