Let’s be honest. No one really wants to have to call any sort of customer service representative. It’s always at the bottom of my to-do list because, well, it’s sometimes not an enjoyable experience. We can all think of an unpleasant customer service experience.
(Further reading :http://www.irishtimes.com/news/consumer/pricewatch-reader-queries-eircom-customer-service-not-up-to-speed-1.2039566 )
However, good customer service creates loyalty, word-of-mouth reviews, and, of course revenue growth.
At Signsolutions.ie, we believe what sets us apart from the competition is our excellent customer service. Products, services and even websites can be replicated, but nothing beats good, customer service. We pride ourselves in having a great customer service team with 5 star reviews and winners of “Best Customer Care” Award.
So what does good customer service look like? Here are three simple rules on the way to handle Customer Service. Implementing them in your business can dramatically change the way you run your business.
This is the number one rule we’ve learned: just be available. In today’s world of instant information, people want to know you’ll be there to help every step of the way. Here’s a few tricks we’ve learned.
- Have a variety of ways for customers to contact you. Some people are more comfortable calling; others like to email and some prefer to visit your business or showroom. Make sure you have ways for each type of customer to reach you. At signsolutions.ie we manage customers through email, phone calls and contact form via our website).
- If you do have the luxury of a large customer service team, make sure each representative has clear objectives so customers aren’t left waiting for service. Good team management strategy sessions are key.
- Give people clear easy ways to reach you. Plaster your website with contact details and customer service telephone numbers and any other forms of easy communication.
- If you have a large online customer service team, stagger their schedule to make sure more hours of the day are covered to answer phone calls or respond to emails.
- Display your hours prominently on your website or business shopfront. People need to know when you’ll be around to help them and for how long. (Need a business opening hours sign – check our gallery )
No one wants to be put on hold for hours or spend days waiting for an email response to a simple question. One survey calculated 62% of people are “extremely frustrated” being left on hold for long lengths of time when contacting a company. (Source: Accenture 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Survey)
Here’s our tips of responding to customers quickly:
- Have an organisational system in place. Know which customers have been helped and which ones still need attention.
- Just do it! Nike’s slogan also applies to customer service. Just type up the quote or get the product from the stockroom. Get it done and off your “to do” list.
- If you’re a manager of a customer service team, give your team tools to help customers. Write out clear guidelines and procedures for common problems, or organise a training manual to each member of your team.
- Give your team more autonomy and responsibility. Avoid transferring customers from person to person or putting people on hold for long periods of time.
- Solve a problem the first time. There’s nothing worse than having to call back a customer service line or have to go back into the shop because the problem wasn’t solved.
- Build a strong team of people that you trust. Being able to rely on others to get their jobs done means that you can focus on your own job. Ask for help when you need it. Sharing responsibilities between team members gives you more time to help those in need.
Be Understanding and Authentic.
People would much rather deal with a real human than a recorded message or an automated email. Here’s our tips of being more understanding of your customers.
- Building the right team can be tricky, but getting people who know what to say and what not to say is key. You can train anyone to stock shelves, take orders, or respond correctly to emails. You can’t train people to be compassionate and understanding
- Train everyone for customer service – from the Managing Director to the Accounts to the Graphic Designer. With a basic understanding of what the customer needs, everyone can do their job better. Customers, after all, are the reason the company is running
- Really listen. No, really listen. People can get frustrated quickly, and responding without really listending only increases their frustration. Understand what the customer needs before responding to their requests and always ask if you’re unsure what the customer needs.
- Be honest with your customers. Did you miss their email because it went to spam? Tell them so. Most of the time people are a lot more understanding than we give them credit for.
- While we’re speaking of honesty….lay out clearly your policies and terms of service. Don’t hide important information.
- If there does happen to be a misunderstanding, assume responsiblity and take care of it quickly. Let them see your doing everything you can to take care of their needs.
- At the end of the day, you know what your customers need. If you build a company that is available, quick and understanding you’ll build a reputation of consisten customer service people will be talking about.
Contact Sign Solutions on (0402) 29951 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org – www.signsolutions.ie