These days, the phrases “go above and beyond for the best customer service experience”, “the customer is always right” and “the customer is king” have become one of the most cliched and repeated in marketing. Business owners, marketing directors and managers across-the-board keep on being focused on delivering over-the-top customer service experience. And yet, poor customer service still exists and unfortunately seems all too common. Are we perhaps overlooking some fundamentals in the pursuit of excellence?
Today, I would like to take you to the basics and share with you a short and clear list of customer service essentials. Most of them are fairly common knowledge, and they won’t take you much effort to follow, but still they are absolutely critical to ensure you perform your job professionally and serve your customers right.
5 Fundamental Do’s of Customer Service
1. Respect your customer
Any relationship, be it a personal or a business one, starts with respect. As Dale Carnegie stated, one of the key principles for building relationships is to make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely. Customer service is all about making customers feel valuable and important. Any customer deserves your full attention and polite, friendly attitude. That’s the easiest way to show that you really care and generate a wholesome experience that lasts .
2. Be Honest
Nothing destroys trust faster than broken promises. So always do what you promised. Be fair about prices, additional fees and extra charges. Establish clear return and refund policies. Deliver on time, or even earlier. Respond and follow-up when you say you will. Provide the services you say you provide in your correspondence and in your marketing. As the old adage goes, honesty is the best policy. It certainly holds true for good customer service.
3. Take Responsibility
Professionalism in customer service implies that you are ready to take responsibility for the problems or negative experiences that customers are having with your company, products or services. This means that you, as a front-line company representative, are ready to sincerely apologize to a customer on behalf of your business, even when a problem or a situation that caused customer’s frustration was not your fault at all. Apologize and do your best to make sure the issue gets fixed as quickly and smoothly as possible.
4. Always Put Yourself in The Customer’s Shoes
Have you ever tried putting yourself in the place of the customer before addressing their request? It probably comes with experience. I mean, personal experience of your own where you encountered unsatisfactory customer service. Could you recall how it feels to get frustrated or neglected when you look for support and assistance? Would you let your customers feel this way, too? Let this unpleasant situation teach you something – always think of how you look like from a customer’s perspective.
5. Express Your Gratitude
Words of gratitude will make your customers feel appreciated for their loyalty to your brand. Saying “Thank You” to the people who support your business won’t take you much effort but it will definitely show how grateful you are that they choose your product or service. Also, it shows you appreciate the opportunity to be helpful and provide assistance to the customer.
5 Essential Don’ts of Customer Service
1. Don’t Make Things Overly Complicated
Never underestimate the inexperience of your customers. Today’s consumers are much more sophisticated, experienced and technically savvy, but they still expect that the process of contacting your customer service is easy and straightforward. You need to make sure your customers have easy access to support when it is needed. It goes without saying that your customer service needs to include several, if not all, of the tools available today, including phone, e-mail, Live Chat, FAQs, self-service, social media channels and more.
2. Don’t Be Indifferent
Indifference kills customer service. It means you just don’t care anymore. Yes, you can call it an occupational hazard and attribute it to dozens or hundreds of problems you encounter on a daily basis. But for me, it is an alarming indicator. Things should not run their course this way for a customer service professional. Your job is to take care and make any customer’s problem your own problem. I recommend reading these 2 posts here and here if you would like to dig into this problem deeper and how you can solve it.
3. Don’t Treat Customers as Transactions
As Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson once put it, “Care about a customer’s heart, not just her pocketbook.” In other words, don’t treat people coming to your website or office as one-time transaction, do all your best to build strong and long-lasting relationship. Show a true interest in doing business with them and stay in touch to nurture the relationship.
4. Don’t Ignore Customer Feedback
Make sure you listen to your customers. They are the people who want your company to perform better, so let them share their opinion about their experience with you, keep open to any kind of suggestions or feedback they might have. Let them know that you really care about what they think and expect of you. Putting customers’ thoughts into the focus of your business strategy is a good practice. And it usually pays off in spades.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Complaints
No matter how hard you try, you can’t satisfy all your customers all the time. Complaints are inevitable, so don’t discourage them. As Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller stated in their book, “A complaint is a gift“. In other words, any complaint is an opportunity to find and fix a problem. The more complaints the better, as they direct your attention to the areas that need improvement.
What Would You Add?
Are there any other fundamental DOs and DON’Ts in customer service that you would like to add? Feel free to share your thoughts as a comment below. And as always, thank you for reading our blog!
- 4 Dimensions of Customer Trust: How To Get The Most of It - March 14, 2018
- The Importance of Critical Thinking in Customer Service - February 15, 2018
- Will AI Take Humans out of Customer Service in The Near Future? - January 10, 2018