How you deal with customers can make or break your business. Good customer service is a skill every employee who interacts with your clients must develop.
The last thing your business needs is a negative review, especially one that remarks how rude or ineffective an employee was. A positive customer service experience, even after poor customer experience, can often mean the difference between giving your business another chance or storming off to a competitor.
You can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you handle and react to issues if they pop up and make sure your customers’ experience is overall positive.
In this article, we look at the skills your employees need to best deal with customers.
The 8 Most Important Skills For Customer Service
What exactly is empathy in the context of customer service? Empathy is the ability to understand and connect with a customer’s feelings, even when you cannot fix it. This is just as important as patience - which is next - because we've all been in similar situations. It's helpful for both the employee and customer to understand where the customer is coming from. What problem do they have? And why are they frustrated?
Sometimes you can't give the customer the answer they want but if you show you care about their problem and strive to steer them in the right direction, the interaction will go more smoothly than if you dismiss them or insinuate the problem is their fault.
Patience is one of the most important customer service skills any employee need. Whether it’s an employee dealing with a frustrated caller who needs technical support or if they’re in a retail environment helping a customer who can't decide on which dress to buy - you must have patience. The key is having employees understand how it feels on the other side to be frustrated or confused and just want someone to listen and solve the problem. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes makes it easier to empathize with their plight.
SURE... Sometimes customers ask irrelevant questions or don't seem to grasp what you're saying; that's where patience comes in.
Maintaining composure no matter what is crucial to providing top-notch service and solving the problem.
Getting to the heart of the problem is critical to help the customer and solve their issue. That's why communication between the employee and your customer must be clear. Miscommunication manifests in further frustration for both.
Employees must as clear as they can about what they can and cannot do and what will solve the problem. Don't overstate or oversell to appease the customer because that will almost always backfire and leave the customer dissatisfied and send them to your competitor.
Knowledge of the Product
One thing many customers find annoying is when they have questions about a product or service and the person to whom they're speaking doesn't have answers. If you're selling a product or service, you should know it inside and out. Failing to understand what you're talking about is a sure way to engender mistrust from your customers. Remember, people see the employee as an expert, so they must be the expert.
Keep Language Positive
Positive language helps put a good face on the business and makes the customers feel more at ease about engaging.
For example, if a customer contacts you about a service, but your company has discontinued it, you should say, "We've got a new service that replaces that one and it offers more value," rather than, "We don't offer that anymore."
Read Between the Lines
Many customer interactions today take place online or via phone so one can't read a person's facial expressions. Being able to read between the lines helps to not misread a customer and end up losing them because of miscommunication.If speaking on the phone, listen carefully to the tone of voice to pick up clues as to the person's mood and level of patience. This skill is crucial to keep interactions positive and have a satisfactory result.
So, not every customer interaction goes as planned which is why employees must have the ability to adapt quickly to situations as they arise. Sometimes a customer throws a curve and asks a question for which you're not prepared. The ability to think fast, react and solve the problem often means the difference between a satisfied and disgruntled customer.
Ability to Close
When people think about closing, they think about closing a sale. But in this case, we mean ending the interaction between the employee and your customer. The goal here is to end the engagement with a satisfied customer or as close as you can get.If the customer's problem isn't fixed now, are they satisfied it will be in due time? Make sure before the call or interaction ends, the customer is confident you've handled everything to the best of your ability, and the issue is or will be resolved.
Can A Call Center Help With Customer Service? Yes, It Can!
So, maybe you've never given thought to hire a call center to handle your customer service engagements, but here are a few reasons why you should consider it.
#1: You Won’t Miss Calls
Call centers can catch all of your calls, which means they won't miss a potential lead. It's frustrating for a customer to call in need of help, and they can't get hold of a person to talk to. If you can't handle the call volume, a call center makes sense.
#2: They Are the Experts
Call center personnel are highly trained representatives to handle customer service calls efficiently and professionally. The customer today has hundreds of choices to go to if they don't get help from you. Remember, your competitor is just a search away. So, keep those customers by satisfying them when they call you first by letting a call center take care of it.
#3: Opportunity to Improve
Call centers record calls which are reviewed frequently to ensure the employees are handling interactions correctly and to the customer's satisfaction. Recording calls offer the employee and management where they can improve to provide an increased level of service.
Almost every successful business is successful because they have excellent customer service. Without customers buying your product or service, your company wouldn't exist. We hope this article showed you what skills your employees need to deal effectively with customers, and how a call center may be the right move to improve your business/consumer relations.