As a customer, I always want to retain my identity and not become faceless in a crowded store or on a customer service line. Lately, however, it seems like some companies are slipping in their otherwise satisfying customer service. “Have a nice day” is about as considerate as some service representatives get today – at least with me – which is funny because, in a tough economy, I thought the idea was to retain customers. However, bad experiences allow me to learn. If the notion “one person’s bad experience is another’s learning experience” is true, here are some tips I’ve collected over the last few weeks:
- Listen. There is nothing worse than telling a story over and over because a customer service representative isn’t listening.
- Recall. Remembering even a little about a client goes a long way. My tax preparer works with hundreds of people every year, and she remembered things about me this year that really helped me with my tax return. Customer for life.
- Focus. Being distracted while you’re speaking to a customer or client makes you seem disinterested. Focusing on customers’ needs helps them feel important, and since they like to feel important, they will keep coming back.
- Pay attention to detail. This one sounds more difficult than it looks. Spelling a person’s name correctly is a small detail that can mean a great deal to a client, especially when it’s a difficult name no one ever seems to get correct.
- Be nice. In a customer service world, being nonchalant isn’t going to cut it anymore. Being genuinely nice will go a long way. Don’t let a bad day ruin a good experience for a customer.
- Be helpful. Even when you can’t solve a customer’s problem, try. As much as I love Yoda, his mantra, “Do or do not; there is no try,” doesn’t apply here. Doing what you can will let customers know, again, they’re important and their problems matter. Even if their problem can’t be solved, at least they are left with a pleasant conversation.
- Know your limits. Know your customers. Before I went back to my old tax preparer this year, I tried someone new. When I made the appointment, the receptionist should have asked a couple questions to make sure I was given a preparer with experience in difficult tax returns. However, because she didn’t, I ended up with a sweet, inexperienced preparer who was way over his head. Had I not jumped ship and went crawling back to my old preparer, I would’ve lost nearly $1,000. Sometimes a couple questions saves time and money for the customer and the business.
- Be confident. If you know what you’re doing, act like it. Don’t be afraid to show your skills. Nothing is worse than working with someone with that uneasy feeling in your stomach that he or she has no clue.
While I’d rather not have racked up enough bad customer service experiences over the past few weeks to flesh out an entire blog, I hope some of my experiences can benefit you and your business in some way. After all, it’s often the little things that truly make or break your clients’ view of your company.
Tiffannie Bond serves as media relations specialist for Imagine Marketing.
Contact Tiffannie at firstname.lastname@example.org.