Effective customer service is the defining quality that keeps customers loyal to a business. Unhappy customers will go elsewhere after a bad experience and will most likely express a low opinion of your company to others. To avoid the potentially devastating loss of customers that can accompany a poor experience, here are the ten most important elements of good customer service.
Customers want to contact customer service quickly. They don’t want to dig for email addresses and phone numbers. Customers expect to have their contact efforts answered promptly. Being placed on hold for several minutes listening to tinny music is not the best of their time.
No matter their complaints or concerns, customers expect to be treated politely and respectfully. A customer service representative who is rude or careless creates a bad impression of the company.
A customer service department should have accurate information. They should be able to quickly identify a product by UPC code or other criteria so it can be addressed. Customers expect helpful information in knowing how their problems will be taken care of. A representative who gives out wrong information or who lacks information will irritate customers.
Problems need to be addressed in a time-sensitive manner. Customers do not like waiting long periods of time to have their problems fixed. If a delay is unavoidable and a part must be ordered that will take six weeks, for example, the customer deserves to have that information.
Every company should have a process used by its customer service department to resolve concerns. The process should be clearly stated in a handbook as training for customer service representatives. If they ask about the process, customers can then be told the process that will occur.
Chain of Command
If a problem cannot be solved by the customer service representative, the next person in the chain of command should be notified. Customer deserve to know who that is and how to contact that person, so this information should be available if requested.
Customers should be told when to expect a response to their concerns, as well as an arrival date for any shipping products, and the target date should be followed by every department involved. An expert from Meyers Transport Ltd, an Ottawa trucking company, says strict adherence to this timeline enables each step of the shipping process to progress quickly and efficiently. This standardizes response time and establishes a habit of quick, attentive customer service.
Customer concerns should be resolved in the customer’s favor whenever possible, and within a reasonable time frame. Failing to do this should be acknowledged by the company, which should take full responsibility for the mistake.
Suggestions and reviews should be encouraged by customer service representatives through a suggestion box, online or print survey, or follow-up phone call.
Customer service should document complaints and keep them on file, preferably with a copy for the customer. This is not only good for customer service, it’s an essential part of good record keeping.
Following guidelines like these can help a customer service department do an excellent job to satisfy customer concerns. A company’s customer base is their lifeblood and every employee should strive to meet their customers’ needs and expectations.