In the past two days I have been the customer to a City Council, a Utility Company, a Bank and a Recruitment Company. I've purposefully chosen to start these names with capital letters because they almost constitute a proper name.
Here's what I've learned about amazing customer services in the past two days from my real life experience:
1. Be human.
Remember you're talking to a real live human being whether that be on the phone, face to face or via email. It doesn't matter what the mundane nature of the call or email is, remember to add some personality. The lady at First Direct (I have to name them because they're so good) dealt with my mundane request really efficiently and then asked me about how my Christmas shopping was coming along. We had a brief chat about it and we both came off the phone laughing. I felt good.
2. Take every opportunity to make your customers feel good.
Whether it's a decision they've made in the past and regretted or whether it's a decision they're about to make, ensure you're encouraging your customer to think for themselves and guide them if they ask. Don't do what someone did recently and tell their customer how to run their business. Never good.
3. Offer an expert view if asked.
Amazing customer service is about being helpful. It's not about telling people what to do. By all means, guide, suggest or support your customer in their decisions and avoid dictating, even if asked. You are not them and what might be right for you, might not be right for them.
4. Accept your customer's point of view.
You might not agree with your customer's point of view and that's ok. You maybe in an industry where there is no room for manoevre and you simply cannot go along with your customer's point of view for legal, ethical or health reasons. You can always acknowledge and accept your customer's point of view though and make sure your customer knows you know where they're coming from.
5. Speak, don't email.
When things get a bit tricky, as they do from time to time. Pick up the phone or go and see your customer. Attempting to smooth a difficult situation by email is going to lead to a fall out. This is guaranteed. Most customer issues can be dealt with amicably with a phone call or meeting, thus saving everyone time, money and stress.
6. Be patient and calm.
Manage your own state of mind and your own emotions. Your customer might want to blow off steam and that's ok. You need to stay in control of your emotions whilst they do that. Then you can help calm your customer down. Sometime this might take twenty minutes or two minutes. No one can stay angry for ever (well not on the phone and angry for ever!)
7. Be clear about what you can and can't do.
There are some things that you simply won't be able to resolve with a customer. Having a size 3 shoe for a customer when the manufacturer only makes shoes from a size 4 upwards, is an impossible situation to resolve for someone who wants to buy a size 3 shoe. Be clear and apologise (even though you're not the manufacturer) and offer alternatives if you can.
8. Your customers pay your salary.
Remember, without customers you wouldn't have a job. Cherish them, nurture them, love them and appreciate them and most of them will afford you the same respect back. We all want customers we like dealing with so be the person you want your customers to be.
9. Listen. Listen. Listen.
I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your customers, properly. On so many occasions I've dealt with a supplier (let's not name this Recruitment Company) who has listened only from their perspective. When suppliers listen only from their perspective they take feedback as negative criticism instead of feedback which will help them improve. When suppliers listen from their customers perspective, they will always learn more about themselves, which can only lead to continuous improvement. Listen like a rock with ears.
10. Serve customers with love and passion.
If you don't love the service or the produce you are offering customers and aren't passionate about the experience they have working with your or buying from you, then go and do something else. Amazing customer service comes from the heart, not the head.
Contact Rebecca Bonnington at Rebecca Inspires Limited for more information firstname.lastname@example.org 07734 934084