Customers are the most important part of any business. So if you want to thrive in the market, you need to offer a quality customer service. But is it always possible?
You have to deal with a variety of clients: grumpy customers, morons (sorry to be blunt!), confused lots, angry birds and many more types of customers. So, it is not always possible to maintain your mental composure while talking with such clients.
In fact, in a research, HBR found that properly managing and offering customer experience strategies can evidently result in increasing profits, reducing churn and increasing the number of satisfied clients. One thing that came as a result of the study was that it can also help in enhancing employee satisfaction as they are able to get more confidence because of the obvious reason: they are able to satisfy a client in the best way! That’s really an achievement and if you are a customer care executive, you will know why.
But there are several things that will help you win the customer’s heart and earn some precious bucks for the company.
Here are some ways in which you can be awarded by your clients: “Star of Customer Care Services”.
1. Do not interrupt
Many times you might be able to identify the exact problem even before the customer is able to finish his first sentence. That is really a good thing but sometimes it can create the problems. Problems arise when you start giving the advice even before the client finishes his “piece if talk”. In this way you are not helping the client, rather interrupting him.
So the client gets an impression that the executive is not interested in listening that irritates him. An irritated client might use some not-so-good words that will, in return, irritate the customer care executive. The result: It will ruin the conversation.
Acknowledging your clients is the best way to making a positive impact. Hilton Hotel is one of the top “loved” hotels in America, why? Because every customer executive warmly welcomes the clients in the most natural way without using any “cosmetic smiles” or clichés. They do it by heart. You have to visit them to believe us.
2. Avoid negative phrases
Though we understand that you might not be able to satisfy the client every time, yet try to avoid negative phrases as much as possible.
Instead of saying
“Sorry, we don’t have this product in stock”,
you can say……………
“We are expecting this product by next week”
However, there are 2 ways of using positive statements: the wrong one and the right one.
The wrong way
You know that product A is not in the stock now and it will take at least 3 months to procure it. But if a client demands that product, you will tell him that you are expecting the product soon. That might be helpful for the moment but in the long run, this strategy will prove to be a blunder. After a week, the client will call back only to hear the same response. By the third time, he will be irritated and may also start yelling at you upon hearing the same answer (expecting soon!).
The Right way
You might not have a product A in the stock presently, but you have product B that is very similar to A and is more economical too. So if a person demands product A, you can tell him that product A is out of the stock now but you have product B that is very similar to A and even more economical. This way the client will not be irritated and you might be able to earn some revenue for the company.
The above trait will show your courtesy and willingness to help the client. In fact, Wegman, leading pharmaceutical company of the USA is highly admired by its clients due to the courtesy and helpfulness of its staff.
GE, one of the leading names in the electronic industry, is also backed by excellent customer services. In fact, the GE’s six sigma black belts experts help the internal clients of the company in cutting cost, streamlining processes and also increasing profit margins, and guess what? All this without charging a penny. So surely “something extra” goes a long way in satisfying your customers.
3. Be short and precise
Clients have called you up because they need a quick solution, otherwise they would have gone through the whole trouble of checking with several relevant persons and trying to figure out a possible solution. So don’t use long winded replies full of technical jargons. It will only irritate the client. To the point answers using most common words and the only relevant info will help you win the clients’ heart.
In short, we can say Listen and fix, period! The daddy of all e-commerce sites, Amazon is able to rank on the top supported by its excellent customer care services. According to Forbes they “listen and they fix EVERY problem” faced by the clients.
4. Be Human-Like
Most of the customer care executives are told to say a few oft-repeated and very irritating phrases at the beginning of any call “I am ABC speaking from Xylia, this call may be recorded for the quality and training purpose, etc.” All these unnecessary phrases irritate the client. A simple “hello” is okay in most of the cases and you can also add “Hello, how are you doing today?” You might also like to add some more informal talk with accommodating and regular clients like weather, latest events etc.
In fact, apart from giving your customer service a “character”, it will also help you to gain customer loyalty. Toyota, one of the leading names in the world of automobiles, was able to retain loyal customers even without giving any discounts on their expensive automobiles just because of one reason: the loyalty of their customers. Human-like conversation and acknowledging an individual identity of a client is the reason for that hard earned loyalty. Understandably the company earned excellent scores on American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI)*.
A) Meaningful Training
Soft skill training is not a new term here, but we need to review the scope of the training. Most of the times the training is more of a formality than an active element in enhancing the customer service experience. So a few things you should make sure is:
B) It is not a classroom
Conducting a “class” where the speaker will stand near a blackboard writing what is needed to be a good client-service executive is a total waste of time. How can a practical thing as client service be explained merely by theories or slide share? In fact, many trainers use these techniques to “fill-in-the blanks” to hide their lack of practical knowledge. If you really want to check the knowledge few trainer, you should ask to make minimum use of power point and marker. A good trainer should be able to demonstrate the language practically to be used with the client, the words that should be avoided, how to tackle an irritated client, how to tackle a “long winded conversation” and even the pitch of the tone. If the trainer is not able to demonstrate all these qualities practically he is just wasting the time over slide shares and playing with marker and words.
C) Individual training
Individual and small group sessions are the best kind of training to be given to customer service executives, such training help your executives to use the best traits of their natural behavior for getting better results rather than developing new skills and acquiring a “fake behavior”. Such training is most helpful to enhance the skills of your client executives. For instance, if an executive is extrovert the trainer will help him to know how to use his extrovert and people skills for enhancing the customer experience rather than telling him to “act as a listener more than a talker”. Likewise, introvert executive will have guided accordingly.
Even while struggling with the tough competition by smaller, unorganized players of the industry, HP is one of the most loved company in its industry. In fact, in a survey, it was found that 36% of HP’s clients are in “Love” with the company. The reason is their excellent after-sales service that has a lot to do with the customer care training they provide.
5. Co-Browsing and other ways of simplifying the technical process
If you are into software field, you will see that many of the clients’ calls are regarding the working of the software. It is always difficult to tell your client over the phone that how should they tackle the current problem or explaining the steps for checking the sales pattern of the last year.
Hence, you can consider using co-browsing. Co-browsing will help you to share the screen with the client and explain him in practical way how to solve a particular problem. It will also reduce the conversation time and give the client the precise solution rather than forcing them to decipher the technical terms or fumble the menus or tools on their system while the boss is yelling at them.
In fact, you can also think of giving the simplest online platform to the customers where they can register their complaints, join the forum, get an instant solution to the general query and online chat with the customer executive.
6. Recruit additional customer care executives before expanding
Many companies are so eager to expand that they make the entire mess of customer service. In fact, they keep on expanding their services and product without recruiting customer care executives. In the starting, the things might go well but as the time passes, the customer care executives are overloaded and believe it or not, any degree of training or any amount of increment cannot improve the quality of customer service executives if they are overloaded. So if you need to expand you must know that you have to have the adequate number of customer care executives. Don’t sacrifice the quality for saving a few bucks.
One of the major reason why Sony is regarded as one of the most sought after brands by the clients is that they provide the top class customer services to their clients. Having hundreds of models and millions of customers worldwide, the company is able to provide such top-notch customer services as it has well-stuffed its customer care departments with efficient manpower to whom it pays “really” well.
Based on the above we can say that excellent customer service is sine qua non for gaining a prominence in the industry. Three major factors that directly affect the customer services are: excellently polished communication skills, a proper follow-up strategy and well-designed software to aide client service process (data collection, follow-up queries etc.) A bonus tip before we say goodbye: performance-based incentives will jeep the team motivated.