Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Customer Service Charm School

In utilizing today’s business communication methods such as voice mail and email, many companies overlook the value of customer service.  Every organization approaches customer service differently, but many miss a unique opportunity: the live customer service conversation.

Responding to customer inquiries via the web or recorded voice mails may get the requested information to the customer, but there is no substitute for a real person interacting directly with a customer.

At NetPublications, we like to put our customer service representatives through “charm school.”  Here are ten points we stress to assure that our new and existing print customers receive the “white glove” treatment.
  1. Make It Personal.  Each customer should feel as if they are the most important person you are talking to on that day 
  2. Don’t Make Excuses. Don’t tell them you have had a bad day, need to return fifteen other calls, or have other pressing problems to solve. 
  3. Be Empathetic.  Try to understand how the customer feels about the problem or opportunity that they are discussing with you.  Put yourself in their situation. 
  4. Listen.  When a person is upset, they tend to turn you out; be sure that they understand what you are telling them.
  5. Ask, and Then Ask Again.  Have the customer repeat back what you said, so that both of you are on the same page at the same time.
  6. Solve It Together.  Give the customer solutions that will help them to solve the problem.  Offer them choices.
  7. Be There.  Do your job.  Get involved.   If at the end of the day you do not remember the last three problems you have solved, then you are not really involved with the customer’s needs.
  8. Always Focus On The Customer. Only when you have assessed and resolved their primary problem(s) can you recommend other services of the company as a “new sell.”
  9. Understand Your Company.  Be sure that you know your company’s services and capabilities so that you can address the customer’s issues without putting the customer on “hold”, or asking them to “hang on.”
  10. Call the Customer Back. If you must get off the phone to check something, call a customer back.  A second of hold time to a potential customer or existing client often feels more like a minute of waiting time.

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