By Carla Jones
In today’s world of social media, news travels faster and wider. You want satisfied customers to share good news that represents your brand in a positive way through word of mouth, on personal Facebook pages, Twitter and other means of social media.
Achieving these loyal fans through customer service is simple: Just provide the excellent service you would expect to receive if you were the customer. (Remember, your customers are the reason you are in business!)
But sometimes, the simple actions we know to do can be overlooked. Let’s get back to the basics:
1. Greeting. Your greeting is the first impression the customer receives about your organization. Greet the customer with a smile whether on the phone or in person. Even while on the phone, your smile can be heard in your tone of voice. Take this simple test: Say “Good Morning” with a smile and then say it again without the smile; hear the difference? The greeting with the smile sounds inviting, upbeat and friendly.
2. Active Listening. Listen to what the customer is saying without interrupting and then re-state what you hear to ensure your understanding of what was heard. Through active engagement you can demonstrate to the customer that you are listening, while articulating your understanding of the message.
3. Don’t Take It Personally. If the customer is yelling, screaming and being unkind, don’t take it personally and respond in a manner that is unprofessional. What matters is not how they behave, but how you respond to their behavior. From the customer’s perspective, it all about them, so remain calm, stay positive and listen. By not taking it personally, you can work with the customer to determine a solution that is acceptable for you and the customer.
4. Have a positive attitude. This starts when you wake up. Your positive attitude is contagious and will be reflected in the manner in which you treat customers. To help you choose the right attitude, practice habits that are conducive to having a positive attitude (like upbeat music, exercise, positive affirmations, etc). Fresh air also works wonders when you need to regain control of your ‘tude.
5. Watch your body language. Body language is just as important as your verbal communication. Remember, a smile goes a long way. Use eye contact when serving the customer, but be mindful of cultures in which this could be a barrier. Beware of negative body language, as this could be an obstacle to clear communications and make for a negative customer service experience.
6. Exceed Expectations. Do you view your customers as important? Do you value their business? How you view your customers is reflected in how you treat them. If you treat your customer like the star they are, you will have provided great service. Great customer service happens when you exceed the customers’ expectations by adding your special positive touch that makes the customer feel appreciated.
7. Say “thank you.” “Thank you” can go a long way. These simple words are a great way to show appreciation and gratitude to customers. Use it often and be sincere when you do.
Serve your customers with excellence and remember, you represent customer service at its best!
Carla Jones is the Training & Development Manager at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare.