Customer service was once something that companies no matter their size thrived on. However, I feel because of the advancement of many technologies several large companies have lost their edge and new entrepreneurs don’t know the proper approaches to customer service. I have worked in customer service for 11 years from retail, sales, insurance and management positions. From these experiences I have outlined 4 key focuses that are necessary to have an excellent customer service experience.
1. Acknowledging the customer – This can vary in many ways if you work for a store where you can physically see people, you should greet them with a smile letting them know they are welcome even if you are busy. This step seems so simple but I cannot begin to count the many times I have walked into a store and not one sales associate has greeted me. For businesses that are online only this is a little more challenging so you must acknowledge your customers with creative and constant interaction on your social sites and through emails when necessary.
2. Build Rapport - The definition of Rapport is “a relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people” this simply means you should gain the customers trust. This is easy especially if you start with the first topic. Customers simply want to know that you actually care and you mean what you say.
3. Be knowledgeable- If you work for someone besides yourself you should learn the company’s product, policies, and procedures. Yes, I know this seems like a lot but if you decide to take a job you should know what you’re doing. For entrepreneurs, of course you know your own product but you should be knowledgeable of shipping processes, website hiccups, side effects, defects, and comparisons of your product.
4. Go above and beyond – After reading the first three points I am sure you think you have done enough, but for a customer you can always do more. If you are working for a company this could mean following up with a customer once they have done business with you or trying to accommodate them if they had to wait too long for a service. Going above and beyond does not mean you always have to give money away just your time. Entrepreneurs can send special emails, thank you cards, and special deals for customer appreciation days.
Remember, majority of the jobs we do or would like to start require some level of customer service. It is important to remember that you are also being evaluated on your ability to please your customers even if they don’t tell you. Lastly, it has been proven that customers are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one so make every experience great so there is no room for the bad.
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