How would you like to be better received by your customers -even difficult customers and get higher ratings on every call your supervisor monitors?
I have the perfect solution for you—-Introducing your Instant Personal Customer Service Improvement Blueprint. This week I am handing you 8 simple, but proven strategies to instantly improve your customer service approach. I guarantee these tips, when implemented, will give you phone finesse and the edge with unhappy customers. And your supervisors will be impressed.
1. Smile -You can actually hear a smile through the telephone. When you smile, you sound friendly, interested, and helpful. You also make the customer feel that your sole intent is to be of service and people really can tell the difference! So smile!
2. Don’t Say Anything You Wouldn’t Say to Your Grandmother – This simple rule will ensure you are polite, friendly, and helpful. Think before speaking with customers and if you would not make the statement to your grandmother, don’t say it to a customer.
3. Always tell the caller what you’re going to do – We’ve all felt that helpless feeling when we’ve been put on hold indefinitely or transferred to 3 departments and still not be able to get through to the right person. When we do this to callers, we are telling them they have no choice and certainly no control over the situation. These feelings produce frustration and a negative impression of you and your company. One way to avoid this is to tell callers what you are going to do before you do it.
When transferring callers to another person, give customers the name of the person you are connecting them with. If you need to place callers on hold, tell them so and ask if that’s acceptable. If you have to research the problem or speak with your manager, tell the caller exactly what you need to do.
4. Use the caller’s name – Using the caller’s name during a conversation helps you remember their name. Remembering names (and using names) shows you are genuinely interested in your customers and makes future dialogue or problem solving much easier because using names helps you create rapport.
5. Don’t cut customers off – I recall vividly calling my children’s pediatrician to request immunization records for my daughter a few weeks before she started kindergarten. When the receptionist answered the phone, I said: “I’d like to have my daughter’s immunizations records faxed to me so I can******.” The receptionist cut me off cold mid sentence to abruptly say: “What’s your child’s last name?” The interruption was rude and it turned a simple phone call into a moment of misery.
6. Express Empathy With Unhappy Customers – Empathy can be a powerful tool used to disarm an angry customer and show that you genuinely care about the inconvenience the customer has experienced. Not to be confused with sympathy, empathy is identification with and understanding of the customer’s situation and feelings. You can express empathy by saying something similar to, “It must have been very frustrating for you to have experienced a delay in service. For that I am sorry.”
7. Don’t Cop An Attitude When Customers Ask to Speak to Your Supervisor – Sure, some customers who demand to speak to a supervisor have an agenda, but that doesn’t mean you have to be defensive or rude. Try one of my sure-fire responses to the “Get me your supervisor!” demand: “My supervisor has me in this position to help customers. Will you give me an opportunity to help you? If I don’t resolve the problem to your satisfaction, certainly, I’ll connect you with my supervisor.” This approach will work nine times out of ten.
8. Apologize In The Wake of Problems – Research has found that when an apology is perceived as genuine, customer satisfaction increases 10% to 15%. An apology should be offered both when the company is responsible for the problem and when the company is not responsible. An apology does not have to be an admission of fault. For example, you might say, “I’m so sorry for any misunderstanding you have experienced.” Or “If I were in your shoes, I’m sure I’d feel just as you do. I’m sorry for the frustration you have experienced.”
(For more on apologizing to customers, see my article on the Corproate Apology in 5 Easy Steps.)
I urge you to implement every one of these simple tips today and I promise, you will be better received by customers and you’ll impress your bosses.