Just about everyone may have their own horror story about their experience at one time or another with a company with terrible customer service. But, at a time when people are trying to figure out what products and companies are better than others, customer service may go a long way in setting yourself apart from others.
Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts for providing great customer service to help set you apart from the rest.
DO listen to your customers. Listening to your customers is just as important, if not more important, than the actual message or answer that you convey. If a customer expresses a particular need, listen. If they share an unpleasant experience, listen. Find out what it is that your customers need and don’t just hear them, listen to them.
DON’T place unhappy customers on hold (for too long). Nothing is more frustrating that already being upset and then being placed on hold for a long period of time or transferred from department to department to department, having to tell your story and reason for calling over and over again. Before you know it, you’re more upset about being transferred and placed on hold than your original complaint.
DO handle certain calls with a live person. In the day and age of technology and trying to save money, it might seem like a good idea to have automated calling centers or to outsource your customer service, but even if you are a big company, you should wisely consider what kinds of calls should be handled be a live person versus what calls may be acceptable with a recording or out-of-country call center.
DON’T make empty promises to your customers. One of the most frustrating experiences for customers is working with a company that makes empty promises. It can be something as simple as being told that you will get back to them on Wednesday and returning their call on Friday (or worse yet, not at all, until they have to call you back!). It is important that you have a system in place that creates reminders and procedures in place to make sure that the promises made to customers are met and that, if for any reason, you or your company can’t deliver on such a promise, that it is handled directly as soon as possible to rectify the situation.
DO handle complaints promptly and with urgency. Complaints should be viewed as fires that need to be put out and handled with a great deal of urgency, care and consideration. People don’t like to be confronted and don’t like to deal with things that may make them uncomfortable or may put them in a defensive position, but customer complaints are not meant to be swept under a rug, because what may have been a minor complaint may soon escalate into a much bigger problem.
DON’T get too big to give good service. Companies that get really big cannot forget to provide great customer service. Again, turning some corners to try and save some money or streamline things doesn’t mean you forget the important details, like customer service!
When your products or services are competing out there with others, just remember that what most people are going to remember at the end of the day is going to be their experience and how it made them feel. And someone that is upset about their experience is more likely to be louder and more vocal about it than someone that is thrilled and happy about it, so your company’s reputation is more likely to suffer with a negative experience than by making customers happy. So, don’t forget that the devil is in the details and to not forget that providing great customer service will help you set yourself apart.
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