Customer Service Rx for Your Business

The top four recurring customer complaints focus on employees who completely ignore customers, don’t listen to customers, fail to follow up or follow through and aren’t knowledgeable about their products or services.

Teach your employees how to give great customer service and you are on your way to building healthy customer relationships.  Here’s a quick manager’s teaching tool.

Stop everything you are doing when a customer comes in or calls. Greet the customer.  Give your name.  Ask how you can help.  Form a mind-set that this particular customer is the reason you have a job.

Look at the customer. Focus only on the customer with whom you are speaking.  Make eye contact, smile when you speak, present a positive attitude, be interested and maintain an open, relaxed demeanor.  If you are in the middle of a conversation with a face-to-face customer and the phone rings, answer the call and ask the caller to please hold.  Finish with the customer in front of you first.

Listen actively and completely. Pay complete attention and really listen to what the customer is saying.  Before responding or forming your conclusion, gather as much information as you can to make sure you understand the request. Remain objective and never judge a customer.  Listen also for what isn’t said.

Pay attention to nonverbal cues and tone. Is the customer agitated or upset? If so, make sure your responses show compassion to the customer’s situation.  Act on the customer’s request.

Be prepared to offer an alternative solution if the customer isn’t satisfied. Let’s say you offered your standard delivery date but the customer wants it tomorrow.  If that’s impossible, say, “All of our service people have been scheduled for tomorrow.  I checked with my dispatcher and here’s the best I can do.  I can schedule you for the first appointment the day after tomorrow.”

By acting in a confident and caring manner, you will give your customer the peace of mind that you are capable and interested in helping.  If a customer immediately wants your supervisor, say something like, “Please give me the opportunity to resolve the problem.  I’m confident I will be able to help you, but if you are still not satisfied, I will escalate your problem to my manager. ”Next, always do what you say you will when you say you will.  Show that you are reliable and accountable.

Your role as manager is to consistently follow up to ensure your employees are stopping, looking, listening and acting.  First, though, make sure your employees are completely familiar with your products, services and company policies. Finally, make sure customer service is important to you.  Treat your customers the way you expect your employees to treat your customers.  When customers are important to you, they will be important to your employees.