Are you a customer? The answer is obvious, but you might not think about yourself and your colleagues as each other’s internal customers. That’s right. We are even customers within our organizations. So, great customer service not only helps you with the customers that pay the bills and keep the lights on, great customer service can help your organization function at a higher level. Here are 10 Tips and Techniques we’ve learned work!
- Be a “double checker.” People love to hear these words, so make sure you learn to use them! Think about this situation: a customer calls and asks for an item you are certain is out of stock. “We might be out of that item right now, but please let me double check that for you.” Who knows? Maybe your inventory has been restocked! But if you are out, the customer feels like you took an extra step to help them.
- Pretend it’s you. Empathy is a great bridge builder! Put yourself in the caller’s shoes. What would make you happy? What would bring you back? What would make you satisfied? By putting yourself into your customer’s shoes, great outcomes are much easier to see!
- Get involved. Make sure your customers know you are on their team. For example, when you’re ringing up a purchase, tell the customer how nice their choice is. If you’re helping someone with a trip or accommodations, get excited with them. When your customers know you are part of the package, they love it!
- Stay focused. When you’re face-to-face with your customer, make eye contact! Eye contact is crucial in delivering excellent customer service. If you’re on the phone, pay attention to the call! Don’t read something else, and don’t type unless it’s part of the service. Remain focused on your customer!
- Do something extra. There’s almost always something extra you can do for a customer. Sometimes, it doesn’t cost anything! On the phone, you can ask if there are any other orders you can check for them, or offer to send them some free giveaway item like a mouse pad. In person, keep a few lollipops, balloons, crayons, etc. for customers with children. People love getting “extras” even when they don’t need the item.
- Show your teeth. Here at ServiceSkills and Telephone Doctor, that’s our term for “smile.” People sometimes think they are smiling, but they are not. Show your teeth! It’s especially important to smile when you are on the phone. Yes, that’s right! People can “hear” a smile.
- Ask questions. Customers know you are listening to them and working to help them when you ask questions! Even a simple, “Please tell me more,” can keep the customer engaged and build rapport. Listen carefully for details you can ask about. Remember, customer service is about connecting to your customer, and asking questions is a terrific technique for making those connections.
- Use complete sentences. One word answers rarely communicate anything positive. In fact, one word answers are usually perceived as rude. Even “yes,” can come across as telling the customer you don’t care.
- Care. Most people have a “care gene.” The problem is that sometimes we forget. It’s important to care about your customer, what they are saying and what they need or want. Care about your customers, and they will take care of you.
- Laugh at appropriate times. Humor goes a long way towards building rapport. And let’s face it. Sometimes customers are funny and have problems where humor can help. A shared laugh can take the air out of a difficult situation. Take the time to laugh with your customers!
Put any one of these tips or techniques into practice and see what happens. If you apply all ten, you might be surprised at how much more business you’ll earn. Inspired by the book, “54 Golden Nuggets,” by Nancy Friedman the Telephone Doctor.