Have you ever called a company to make a purchase or inquire about their offering, only to be greeted by a customer service agent that wasn’t well trained in service at all?
As an entrepreneur, the best way to improve your customer service, whether internal or outsourced is to think like a customer. What do you dislike most about customer service (or call centers) and what type of interactions make you feel secure and positive about purchasing products and services?
Here are five customer service tips that can help you ramp up trust, loyalty and sales amongst prospective customers and deliver more than the “goods.”
1. Have a script ready, but don’t read from it.
If you outsource customer service to a call center, it’s important to identify, first-hand, how their agents relate to your customers. A script is useful depending on the type of call center – whether they are simply order takers or sales generators, but ensure they’re not too dependent on it. Agents should be human in their communications, not robotic, and make customers feel comfortable purchasing your products.
2. Be human, and take interest in your customers.
When you or your customer service team picks up the phone, remember, you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Why? Because people can quickly pick up on tone and just as quickly misinterpret it.
Your goal is to make every interaction between customers and your company positive. A simple, “How are you doing today?” will suffice. You’d be amazed at how many companies don’t take five seconds to learn more about their incoming leads.
Inquiring about your customers will help to put them at ease and give them an open door to communicate their true needs and concerns.
3. Develop and utilize an internal knowledge base.
The worst answer a customer service agent can give a customer is “I don’t know!”
Preclude internal knowledge gaps by creating a product and service knowledge base. Start by gathering data on the most frequently asked questions you receive and provide detailed answers. Use an online system, such as Zendesk, to store your data and make it easily accessible to all team members.
4. Be honest about the features and benefits of your offering.
It’s easy to get lost in the space of wanting to close a sale. But don’t compromise your integrity or company reputation to do it.
If a customer expects your product to take them to the moon and back – and it won’t – be upfront and reset expectations. Start by inquiring about their true needs. Often times customers will purchase products thinking it is an omnipotent solution when in reality it may not be what they truly need. Asking a set of qualifying and simple questions will enable your team to better serve a customer’s true needs.
5. Don’t keep customers waiting on-hold for extended periods.
If you think your time is valuable, the same respect should be applied to customers. Waiting on hold for long periods of time cannot only aggravate a customer, but it may make them feel as though you don’t respect their time. If you know that finding an answer may take more than a minute or so, respectfully ask them for a good contact number to reach them at within a specified time period.
What other simple customer service tips can entrepreneurs use to improve trust, loyalty and sales? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Chadwicks