4 Tips for Delivering Great Customer Service (That Never Grow Old)
Customer service. What do those words conjure up in your mind? Chances are it's not good. Long lines, endless waits in the phone queue, robot operators who repeat "Okay, so…" over and over again until you are numb.
Most of us are pretty good at articulating what we don't like in a customer service experience. But what do we want?
At TTI, we have learned a few things about customer service over the years. And, in a world where automation has taken over so much of the service industry, there are a few basics that never go out of style. Here they are. Ask yourself, "Is my company delivering on these?"
- Let them have it their way: Given today's technology, not everyone wants a phone call. But if they do, you need to be there to take it. Even those who communicate via email may have more complex questions that a quick phone call can tackle. Others may prefer to use text; especially younger customers. Some prefer the online convenience of a chat session. Are you set up to deliver service to meet each need?
- Don't make promises you can't keep: As old as this rule of thumb is, we all continue to experience the agony of promises not kept. "We'll be there at 2:00" too often turns out to be 5:00. "I'll get right back to you" may stretch to the next day. Be precise as to what your customer can expect and then deliver on it. Or, at least follow up and advise of delays before the delay itself!
- Listen to complaints and Adjust: Ironically some of the strongest customer relationships are built after working through a difficult issue. When mistakes are made, listen to the complaint, just as you would want your own issues listened to. Then, when applicable, make adjustments to correct the problem. Finally, get back to the client and inform them of your progress towards amending the issue. Do this and, chances are, you'll have a customer for life.
- Do random "check-ins": When was the last time you got a "Just checking in with you" call; one that wasn't a prelude to a sales pitch? Make it a point to check in with your customers at least once per quarter, it not sooner. This is where you can use technology if the size of your database makes personal calls unfeasible. The point is to avoid leaving customers dangling out there, ripe for picking by your competitors!
Remember that, key to achieving the above goals, is having the right people (and technology) in place. People skills, even when used with technology, are still the heart and soul of a great customer service experience.