Customers are crucial when it comes to a business’ success – without them all you’d essentially have is a product/service and a group of employees with nothing to do! Since customers are so important, we should be doing all that we can do to maintain a positive relationship; but how? Here are a few tips for improving customer service through the many interactions your business may have with customers.
Phone – The informal way we talk on the phone in our personal lives doesn’t always work in the workplace. A customer may call your office for a number of reasons. From the moment the phone is answered, the customer expects a pleasant interaction, especially if they are taking the time to show interest in your products or services. Say a customer calls and you, or a staff member, answer in a tone of voice that is not friendly or in a manner that seems like you’re being inconvenienced. It can be off-putting to the customer. Your initial greeting can set the tone for a conversation and shouldn’t be taken lightly just because the interaction isn’t face-to- face. When talking to customers on the phone, everyone on your team should be upbeat (yes, we all have bad days but it shouldn’t affect your attitude in the workplace) and welcoming. You want to make sure the customer feels as if you genuinely want to help them with any questions or concerns they may have. You never want to make them feel like they are an annoyance. We will warn that some phone conversations could involve a disgruntled customer who may not be that polite themselves. The worst thing you can do is to return the sassy attitude and risk upsetting the customer further. Keep your composure and listen to the customer to help work towards a positive resolution. They may not leave a positive review for good phone etiquette, but they certainly may share an unpleasant experience online that could be damaging to your business’ reputation. Surprisingly enough, phone etiquette isn’t always common knowledge. We recommend going over your office policy for phone procedures with the staff to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Email – Email correspondence is extremely common these days. As people are spending more time on mobile devices and have greater access to information thanks to the web, emails cut out actual personal interactions. When corresponding with customers through email (this includes potential, current and previous customers), take a similar professional approach as you would with a phone conversation. Emails can be tricky as the tone of any email is implied and left to the interpretation of the person receiving the message (unless you’re typing in emails – which we don’t recommend either), so pay attention to the word choices you use. Address the customer by name (make sure it’s spelled correctly) and specifically respond in a way that shows you’ve taken the time to read their request/complaint/inquiry. Responding in a timely manner is important. Waiting several weeks or months is not a good look and can imply to a customer that you’re, for instance, not concerned with responding or simply not checking emails frequently. If they can’t get the answers or resolve they are looking for, they can easily take their business elsewhere, to a place that can help them quicker. A word to the wise: reread your email before you hit send because once you do, it can’t be taken back (don’t forget to ensure you have the correct email address (es) as well)
Customer Reviews – This is quite possibly one of the most sensitive components of online reputation management. Thanks to peer review sites, customers who have bones to pick can share their woes with millions of online users. For the bad reviews, it’s a case-by-case situation and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Of course some reviews can very likely be fake or inaccurate, but the same premise remains: how to respond in a way that keeps your company’s integrity in tact?