We often hear the golden rule of customer service: “The customer is always right.”
Let’s take a few moments to look past that core value of customer service and take it one step deeper.
There are several keys to ensuring a successful and positive interaction with a consumer. Customer service, whether it is a call center, cashier, information assistant or an executive, is the interaction and relationship between a consumer and a vendor. In it’s simplest terms, a vendor is selling a product or service in exchange for a monetary or non-monetary payment.
How does one measure a successful customer service experience?
1. Return/repeat utilization by the consumer
3. Positive feedback on the product/service or company
All are correct measures.
To ensure the most rewarding experience for the consumer, we would like to provide a few helpful tips to assist anyone in a customer service capacity maximize the chances of success.
1. Set realistic expectations. Making promises that have little or no chance at being met can set a false sense of hope for a consumer and ultimately, if not met, can leave a negative feeling, the potential of a lost sale/transaction or the loss of future business due to the potential for negative feedback to be shared by others in their network. By setting goals that are achievable, there is a chance of meeting most needs or coming in ahead of those needs.
2. Follow up. This is critical. If a commitment is made to follow up on an issue or request, set the time frame for response and ensure you do respond. Often a promise of a call or email will be made and for many reasons, it never occurs forcing the consumer to do the follow up. This can create the impression that in a long term relationship with this vendor, they may not a reliable resource.
3. Don’t take it personally. Not all interactions will be positive. Some consumers walk into an interface with expectations of being let down or in need of resolutions due to a commitment not being met. Understand, it is not personal and not meant to harm you, but as a messenger of the product/service, you do hold responsibility for assisting in the resolution of the issue.
4. Keep everything in perspective. Every consumer interaction has a story behind it. Some are dealing with life situations which forces them to struggle or deal with tragedy. Understand that each relationship you begin with a consumer is either a one time or continuing relationship but understandably it is to provide a product or service only. The need to bring tempers or excessive vocalization is never necessary as we do not know the complete story and in most cases, never will.
5. Approach all consumers with a positive demeanor. When the sun shines, we smile. When the clouds are dark, we frown. Our surroundings affect our emotions. If you bring a smile and positive attitude from the first instant of communication, the likelihood of a very engaging exchange is increased.
6. Approach each interaction as a new relationship. Most interactions are one time only events and in some fortunate instances, where trust and confidence are developed, they are recurring. Approach each one as if you are making a new contact at a party of networking event. Make strong eye or vocal contact, listen, provide strong and sensible knowledge and assist in a swift transaction or resolution.
The hope is that these tips will provide a little insight that could differentiate a good customer service individual from a great one.