How to Improve Customer Service
When it comes to serving customers, ensuring their pleasure is almost all that matters. Even organizations with sterling customer service records can find ways to continuously improve customer loyalty. It starts with training employees to treat each customer as if his patronage can make or break the business. When a customer feels as though his patronage is sincerely valued, he will be much more likely to return for future purchases. In a nutshell, the goal of customer service is meeting customer expectations to improve customer retention. Customers who enjoy interacting with a business’s sales staff and feel as though their unique problems were tended to will be loyal as a result.
The challenge faced by many managers and business owners is how to improve customer service skills. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is practice. Do not be afraid to take time out of your busy workday to role play with your staff. Present difficult situations in which employees must tend to confused, frustrated or curious customers who require highly individualized attention. Even the most experienced members of your sales staff can benefit from these interactions as increasing customer satisfaction is an ever-evolving goal. It will provide them a refresher as to how to handle delicate situations and challenge them to question whether their current approach to solving customers’ problems is the best that it can be.
If you are wondering how to improve customer service in the workplace, do not hesitate to mystery shop your own business either through a paid mystery shopper or by yourself. This is especially important for those who are wondering how to improve customer service in retail. Craft a script in which you or someone that you know calls the business to ask a question, issue a complaint or make a general inquiry about the business’s products and services. Or, direct someone physically to enter the business, posing as a customer or client and have them take note of your staff’s customer service skills. Once you receive the results of these mystery shops, share them with your sales staff. Explain what they did well and what they can work on to improve customer satisfaction.
Elements of Customer Service
We all have experienced positive and negative customer service interactions. While most of our experiences with customer service representatives falls somewhere in the middle in between good and bad, we tend to remember the most egregiously negative ones more than all the others. These experiences are especially critical because they shape our perceptions of the businesses where they occurred. If someone has a particularly horrible interaction with a sales agent, the chances are quite low that he will return for future visits. This is precisely why those who interact with customers should choose their words carefully and treat customers as they would like to be treated themselves, if not better. Never lose sight of the fact that someone who has a bad experience will tell his worst customer service stories over and over to anyone who will listen. Rarely does anyone go out of their way to highlight someone for exhibiting extraordinary customer service.
In terms of the elements of customer service, stress the importance of listening. Contemporary society pressures people to demand attention, voice their opinions and be self-interested. Yet this is a recipe for disaster when applied to customer service and building relationships with potential customers. Teach your team to narrow their focus on solving each customer’s unique problem or meeting his specific desires and they will better understand the true aim of their work. Also, reinforce the importance of acting in a cordial manner regardless of how rude or angry a customer becomes. Provide your team with examples of good customer service exhibited by employees who handled challenging customers with grace. Those who keep calm and remain grounded during dramatic moments will not only calm the customer but possibly convince him to remain loyal to the company and its brand. If necessary, compile a list of customer service tips and techniques for your employees to reference when necessary. Sometimes putting these techniques in writing helps to facilitate the actualization of the concepts.
Total Customer Experience: Internal Customers vs External Customers
When someone makes a purchase at a business, his experience is shaped by a variety of factors. He likely interacts with more than one person, whether it is a low ranking customer service representative or a manager. Sometimes, it takes considerable teamwork and coordination between employees to execute a sale. The importance of internal customer service cannot be understated. The way that employees treat one another during their interactions is critical to the business’s success. If employees can’t develop a rapport with one another, share information freely and lend a helping hand when necessary, they will not function as an effective sales team. While employees might feel as though their relationships with co-workers have no impact on the sales process, these bonds really do affect the total customer experience.
Customer service representatives and salespeople are not only serving customers, they are actually serving one another as well. When they cooperate and communicate in an open manner, they boost one another’s morale and facilitate the sales process. Customers pick up on these internal interactions while on-site yet they can also sense employee hostility or uneasiness even when interacting with sales representatives over the phone. The truth is that internal and external customer service are equally important. When workers attempt to improve employee satisfaction throughout the organization, it also functions as a latent attempt to better serve customers and improve the bottom line. Ask any successful sales department and you’ll find that external customer service is directly linked to internal satisfaction.
Call Center Customer Service
Call centers are unique sales environments that require a considerable number of rapid-fire interactions with prospects. While call center agents might be tempted to treat each faceless voice on the other end of the phone as being no different than the prior sales target, doing so is a critical mistake. Call center agents must understand the importance of structuring each conversation in a unique manner. People desire to be treated as distinct individuals who require custom tailored solutions to their problems and desires. Nobody wants to feel as though they are on the receiving end of a script that has been read over the phone to thousands of people before them. While hitting the mental “refresh” button after each call is challenging, those who make an effort to individualize their conversations with sales prospects will be on the path to truly understanding how to improve customer service in a call center. Of equal importance is how to run a call center. Establish an after hours answering service so that interested prospects feel as though their patronage is truly valued by the company. Set up an overflow call center as well to ensure that you don’t miss out on any potential sales opportunities.
Importance of Customer Service in Health Care
Some health care workers make the critical mistake of assuming that customers have limited options so their retention is never at risk. This is a grave error that will backfire in the worst way. Those who interact with the public in the context of health care should never take their customers’ patronage for granted. While certain small towns might not have many options when it comes to doctors and medical specialists, most areas have a number of options to choose from. The importance of customer service in healthcare cannot be understated. Those who work in the health care industry should always strive to improve patient satisfaction, regardless of how long waiting lists are or how few specialists are available in the region. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of customer service tips healthcare.
Consider the fact that customers speak with their doctors on a frequent basis. Just about everyone requires a specialist at one point or another and they often lean on the relationships that their doctor has established to find a respected practitioner in a specific niche. The bottom line is that word of mouth means more in the health care industry than most others. The manner in which patients are treated by medical office employees and the practitioners themselves goes a long way in determining not only whether they will return but also whether they will endorse the health care provider to others.
The world has never been more interconnected. Patients share information about caregivers instantaneously. They not only share it with their family and circle of close friends, but they can also post scathing or glowing reviews to online indexes like Yelp and Google Plus. The potential for the masses to read these reviews and judge medical practitioners based on the experiences of a handful of livid customers is very real. Anyone who is questioning how to improve customer service in healthcare should check out the negative feedback available in these reviews and various customer service in healthcare articles. Then focus on preventing the errors described in these writings without exception. Take a look at the customer service in healthcare powerpoint available in the download above if you’d like to further refine your staff’s ability to interact with the public.