Are you being served?

Today’s blog is looking at Customer service as our continuing theme. Last week we looked at poor service as a result of lacklustre culture and leadership team. Today we are focusing on some customer service fundamentals and principles.

Definition – Customer: noun “A person who buys goods or services from a shop or business. That person that receives or consumes products (goods or services) and can choose between different products, service and or suppliers.

A Service is an intangible product/s. Or ‘a valuable action, deed, or effort performed to satisfy a need or to fulfil demand.

Customer service: Noun – the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.

Keywords used above:

What is good customer service?

Excellent customer service means you the customer is being helped efficiently i.e. professionally and competently.  It’s provided in a friendly manner, i.e. a prompt way to manage customer that is you and your expectations. Customer expectations these days wildly differ. We are an instant gratification, and like society, we want things now and or quickly. Our younger customers expect it yesterday. Our mid-life customers may be a little more patient and retirees probably don’t even know about us or use our services. Customers all have different personalities and patience levels and things that affect their day. Your front line staff need to be prepared for this as their customers may be well behaved or misbehave.

Excellent customer service means that you have trained your staff, they have the knowledge and right training to equip them to work with customers. Training could be anything from customer service training to product/services. It is also vital to provide soft skills training for those that work in Customer service roles. Soft skills include teaching customer service agents the following:

  1. Communication skills:
    1. Key attributes include listening skills, active listening skills, clarity when talking, rephrasing, empathy, open-mindedness, respect, feedback, lots of non-verbal clues.
  2. Active listening:
    1. Key attributes include: That is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. Active listening involves listening with all senses.
  3. Information processing skills
    1. Key attributes include sensory memory – senses picking up on features from our environment, short-term – information held for a brief period and long-term memory – deposited as further information is processed into our long-term memory bank.
  4. Paying attention
    1. Key attributes include: part of active listening skills/capabilities, participate in the conversation, and take notes. You are in the moment!
  5. Listening to tonal queues
    1. Key attributes include: how is the customer’s voice being used? The tone of voice isn’t what we say but how we say it. It’s the language we use, the way we construct sentences, the sound of our words and the personality we communicate.
  6. Emotional responses
    1. Key attributes include Perceived emotions, understanding emotions, managing emotions. Basic EQ – emotional intelligence
  7. Treating customers and staff with respect
    1. Key attributes include: treat them well, be courteous, anticipate their needs, show immediate action and provide solutions, options! Just get cracking! Remember do not blame.

Customer service staff also require knowledge, the right training and attitude. It is important to handle customer issues quickly, efficiently and importantly accurately. If you can’t immediately then be transparent and advise it may take a while but you’re going to help! And then actually help your customers. Their attitude can determine whether they can ensure a good or a bad outcome for your customers.

Key principles for delivering great customer service!

Lots of information and things to think about to help improve your organisation’s customer service.

If you need help please contact me for a confidential discussion on improving your front line and customer service capability. This is a plug; we use good practices to assess and then provide solutions to service issues! we love to help its our passion!

Next week we’ll focus on responding to Negative feedback from Customers!