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A guide to providing effective customer service

We all know how important costumer service is to a business. In fact, many of the most beloved companies out there owe their success in large part to the quality of their customer service.

It’s vital to stress that the key to good customer service is building good relationships with your customers. Thanking the customer and promoting a positive, helpful and friendly environment will ensure they leave with a great impression. A happy customer will return often and is likely to spend more.

With the above kept in mind, providing good customer service to your clients should naturally be a major priority in your day-to-day schedule.  This article lists tips and suggestions for ensuring that you’re providing an effective costumer service.

  • Be Accessible

Your customers must be able to contact you, or someone in your company who represents you, should they require service or have a question to ask. Offer many different ways for your customers to contact you: like phone, email, and social media. Make sure all these communication channels are easy to manage; otherwise your level of customer service could take a dive. If you provide many contact points, but you don’t increase your resources and staff, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin. The result will be a decline in your customer service.

  • Know Your Product or Service

In order to provide good customer service, you need to know what you're selling, inside and out. Make sure you, and all of your customer-facing staff, know how your products or services work. Be aware the most common questions customers ask, and know how to articulate the answers that will leave them satisfied.

  • Respond to Clients as Soon as Possible

Speed is everything, especially when a client is requesting something that’s time-sensitive. Try to reply to your clients as soon as you can. Procrastinating on a response to a client’s email, phone call or voicemail doesn’t help anyone; you’re going to have to reply eventually, so why not do it as soon as possible? Avoid that "mark as unread" button in your email client. Even if you can’t work on the task they’re requesting you to accomplish right away, at least let them know you got their request and then supply them with a timeline of when you’re able to get the task completed. If you can’t find the time to perform the task, it will be considerate of you to let them know as soon as possible so that they can make alternative arrangements.

  • Apologise And Show Appreciation

Customers are bound to complain – everyone who owns a business knows that. Sometimes they will be right and it’ll be your fault, but sometimes you will have to deal with people who are just being irrational. The latter are most likely to make you want to lash out, but try to control yourself and maintain your composure. If you lose control and shout at your customers telling them that you are not to blame for their problems, you will only make things worse. You never know how many social media followers they have, so don’t risk getting a bad review.

Whenever customers complain – whether it’s your fault or not – make sure to apologise; that is the first step in appeasing them. Show them that you understand how they feel and thank them for drawing your attention to the issue.  No matter how angry your customer is, when you take the blame and empathize with their situation, you are scoring some valuable customer service points. A proper apology and a little empathy go a long way, so never forget that.

  • Do What You Say

If you’ve promised to call a customer on Monday, call them on Monday. It’s really very simple. If you want to earn the trust and respect of your customers you must follow through and do what you said you would. From a customer’s point of view we all know how annoying and time-wasting it is to be waiting for a phone-call, email, or visit from someone who (turns out) had no intention of following through.

  • Train Your Staff

When staff members access customer service training they will be robust in providing excellent customer service, they will feel empowered to make on-the-spot decisions when dealing with customers. Make it very clear what their authority levels are, and ensure they understand completely the customer service principles that apply to your business. If you’re not sure they’re capable of doing the right thing, then you’ve hired the wrong people.

  • Ask for Feedback

You may be surprised what you learn about your customers and their needs when you ask them what they think of your business, products, and services. You can use customer surveys, feedback forms and questionnaires, but you can also make it a common practice to ask customers first-hand for feedback when they are completing their orders.

Lacking the confidence in your customer service abilities and looking for a customer service course? Find out more about our customer service training courses.