Something I am passionate about is the care “customer service” representatives give to their customers – I don’t want to regurgitate the same old stuff I’ve read 1000 times. I have no desire to be redundant and I know that anyone who has ever worked in customer service and written a blog has at one time or another stated the obvious.
Maybe though, in this time when people are doing all they can to hang on to the jobs they have or to impress a prospective employer, it is time to write one more blog on the subject. The top five things that I have consistently tried to follow and trained others with are the items that so often get left by the wayside in an ever increasingly busy world. These tips are for internal and external customers…
I believe that these are and should be at the top of any Customer Service Representatives list of things to learn; whether the job is face to face or over the phone. The majority of my customer service experience has been over the phone so that is my focus here today.
#1 – put a mirror right next to your phone – I learned this trick many, many years ago. – Smile when you look in the mirror BEFORE you pick up the phone. People on the other end of that line can HEAR your smile. And, 99% of the time, they will respond accordingly.
#2 – speak in your normal speaking voice – there is no need to yell – PET PEEVE even today I hear people yelling in to their cell phones – if the reception is that poor then move to another area and call the person back – - boy, did I veer off on that one.
The minute you raise your voice to a customer you have just escalated any situation above the region you want to be in. Just as the customer can hear your smile (or your frown) the customer responds to your tone of voice. If you are calm, you help the customer stay calm. (I will say there are times when nothing you do is going to calm an angry customer and that will be addressed in #4)
#3 – Never ever answer a phone or make an outgoing call without a pen and paper or computer program open to take down all information the first time when the call comes in. Be courteous and forthright with any and all questions pertaining to the customer’s call. PET PEEVE – Do you have any idea how many calls you can answer and someone asks for directions or information and then when you have it for them they immediately have to stop you to look for a pen/paper? If you didn’t think I had the information – then why did you call me? And if you did think I had it – why weren’t you ready for it before you called?
#4 – The customer is always right. Really? Do you think so? I don’t and yet – - – The customer is always right. You can calm a situation down immediately by showing concern for the customer’s situation and by immediately being willing to take all his/her information down – you must ask the right questions in order to get to the reasoning behind the customer’s angst. When you have all the information available you can then determine if the answer lies within your realm of influence to handle or if it must be escalated to a higher authority.
#5 – Do not sandbag your supervisor! Do not turn over a difficult customer to your manager without providing that person with every bit of information you were able to glean from talking to the person with the problem. Make sure that all you have written down is accurate – leave your emotions in your pocket and allow your supervisor the opportunity to make their own wise decisions in talking to this person.
If you get your manager riled up by your emotions, it doesn’t serve you, the manager or ultimately the customer’s needs. If it takes time to explain the situation to the manager, check back with the customer often so they know you’re still there and that an answer is forthcoming. Leaving them on hold will only further anger them – leaving them with the feeling of not only abandonment, but also that you’re convincing someone they are wrong. They will never think you’re trying to convince someone they (the customer) are right! It just isn’t in their mindset – think of the last time you called on a customer service issue – you’ll see…
So – I’m hoping against hope that some of this is new or that it will ring true for someone and from that – a better customer service experience the next time I have to call you!