Delivering effective customer service is paramount in today's world, with so much competition out there for the same products and services as well as people tightening their belts when it comes to spending, in most cases the service offered to customers is the difference between someone buying and not buying from you or your business.
When it comes to customer service there are four main elements that when considered altogether will ensure that a business is delivering effective customer service. These elements are:
Attitudes - People in the business need a can do attitude. They should be there to help customers, promote the business and ensure that the customer is placed at the centre of everything. This should happen regardless of pressure from targets and goals, and even if the customer facing team are feeling pressure from above to achieve more, this should never come across when dealing with customers.
We all have the ability to separate the emotions we are feeling from the outward attitude we demonstrate. This is an easy thing to do in theory, but really difficult in practice. See this post for more on this.
Customers themselves can also drive people to feel negative, but we need to understand that they are always right and we should do everything we can to help them, especially in these challenging times. See our Why Customers Are Always Right post for more details.
Skills - In order to deliver effective customer service, those people facing customers need a certain amount of skills to ensure that customers are receiving great service. Some of the skills include communication skills, listening skills, assertiveness skills, questioning skills and being empathetic.
If your organisation doesn't seem to be delivering the right level of service to customers or you are receiving lots of complaints, then maybe it time to look at the skills levels of the customer facing people to see if they have the right skills set. If they haven't, then this could be having a negative impact on their attitude towards the business and of course customers.
Structure - Your organisation should have a way of measuring service standards. These should be documented and communicated to the customer facing people in the business. These don't have to be detailed standards, more of a framework that shows the organisations approach to delivering effective customer service.
If the customer facing people in the business don't know what is expected of them, how will they ever achieve the expectations the business has of them.
Regular reviews of standards should be carried out to check they are still relevant, and customer service standards should be included in one to one discussions.
Communication - This is two fold. As mentioned previously the organisation should communicate their expectations to the customer facing staff on a regular basis.
Also, the communication approach that the team takes with customers is important. We not only need to be highly aware of the attitude we have towards customers, but also highly aware of the style of communication that we using with customers.
Thought should be given to first impressions, body language, our voice and the actual words that we use.
Ensuring all of the above four elements are looked at and are correct, this will go some way to ensuring that the service you offer to customers is highly effective.
At Revolution Learning and Development we offer a one day Customer Service Skills training course that looks at the four elements above in much more detail. Take a look at the course overview here.
For a more experiential learning approach to Customer Service Skills training, take a look at our sister company Square Earth Learning and Development.