Having worked in the customer service industry before, I know firsthand that this is not an easy job to do. Jobs that focus specifically on customer care and providing the highest quality service to each person require staff to undergo regular customer service training. This is to ensure that staffs are up-to-date when communicating with customers and continue work in keeping your existing customers.
Part of the customer service training is to experience customer interaction when at work. When thrown into the deep end of the service industry, you very quickly learn that people are approaching you for information or looking to buy a specific product. At which point you should be looking to deliver a good service and acting quickly upon their request. There are ways of going wrong in this simple exercise and below are a few pointers to customer service.
One of the key elements of customer service training is making good eye contact with the customer. Imagine if you were to walk into a shop with the intention of buying a product that does not appear to be on the shelves, the first thing you would do is approach a shop assistant for help in locating the item. Once you have approached the shop assistant you notice they immediately look away, even when you have asked them for help. At which point you feel that they are not listening to you.
This would anger me if I felt at any point I was seen to be a bother to someone who is quite clearly there to serve me as part of his or her job. How you portray yourself to a customer is important and works on the same principal as the saying 'first impressions count'. The first impression you give to the customer must be welcoming, helpful, friendly and above all with eye contact. Making eye contact will ensure the customer that you are listening to them and acknowledging what they say.
Always greet the customer or make yourself approachable in a professional manner. Obviously, try not to overwhelm them and scare them away, but a warming smile and a decent response to their queries is a good starting point. During your customer service training, you will learn that communication, body language and tone of your voice are essential to good customer service. Bad customer service will mean the customer will not return and they in turn will tell others not to use your services.
The other most important thing to remember with good customer service is to maintain the customer's attention and keep them informed of your actions. Think of your own experiences whereby you may have ordered something from the shop, taken the time to travel into the shop to collect the item and have found that it has not yet arrived. When you enquire about the item, you are told that it will arrive next week; when next week arrives, the item has still not turned up and again you are told the same thing.
The whole scenario leaves you feeling frustrated and confused. You should always inform the customer of exactly what is happening from the moment they have made their inquiry about their item; otherwise, you could potentially lose their custom. If at any point, a customer feels neglected or misinformed, they will cancel any procedures or transactions they have with you and move to a rival business. Always be apologetic, explaining why they have not received what they have been waiting for and if needed, offer an incentive or discount.
Part of the customer service training is to learn how to keep the customer satisfied, even in situations that is beyond your control. The worst thing you could do is to blame someone else or 'pass the buck' as then that will portray a lack in customer care. Trying to rush and resolve through the issue will only make the customer lose confidence in your service.
It is always a good idea to maintain a professional manner at all times and keep in mind the saying (no matter how much you disagree with this statement) 'the customer is always right'. They are after all, keeping your business running and paying your wages. However, if the customer is getting abusive and you feel threatened by them, only then are you able to take the matter into the management's hands or ask them to leave the premise.
With customer service training, you will learn the techniques of approaching a customer for potential sales, maintaining their interest and the right way of thanking them for their service with a view for them to return soon. Another key point to good customer service is to retain the number of customers and attract new customers. Once you have gained a reputation of being a business that provides good customer service, your existing customers will recommend your business to others.
By continuing, the training and maintaining the reputation will then become an easier effort for your team.
Anna Stenning si an expert of customer service training, having working in the service industry for five years.