“Excellent Service = Delighted Customers = Prosperous Business.” Though this appears to be a comprehensible equation, it is an extremely challenging mantra to apply, more so for those who genuinely aspire to engineer it as the very DNA and the culture of their organisation. It goes without doubt that profit for a business is directly proportional to customer service. And, the only thing which is constant here is the competition among businesses to outclass one another. Those with the ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ tag are in a different league all together, having a vantage point to focus on outperforming themselves with every single opportunity.
An addiction of such a kind for excellence is highly pleasurable and harmless. While everyone craves for happiness and peace, for the realised souls in business, ‘customer service’ is the lifeline, and not a mere department or function in their company. While no business will refuse extra profits, everyone wants a better bottom line. However, the biggest challenge faced by most companies is to motivate their employees into imbibing the service attitude. It is an issue that pertains more to will than to skill.
Customer service: An important skill
Customer service is not a mere ‘job’ performed at a call centre or a BPO. It is an extremely important skill, the product of a growth-driven attitude, and is a must for all professionals who aspire to excel in their chosen field. Be it a rude driver, a lethargic executive, or an indifferent manager, a mistake from a single individual across the value chain of an organisation can crumble down a well-set business in no time, especially in today’s era of social media, wherein negative publicity spreads faster than wildfire.
In Quotes “Be it a rude driver, a lethargic executive, or an indifferent manager, a mistake from a single individual across the value chain of an organisation can crumble down a well-set business in no time…”
Hence, HR professionals in many companies have evolved as business partners in the true sense. Not only do they have to understand the overall market dynamics, they must also be a lot more involved in critical decisions with regard to their business. With such high stakes, a business cannot ignore one of its most important stakeholders - its employees. If a business wants to keep its external customers pleased, it should also be willing to not only coach its internal customers, but also pamper them responsibly.
Delivering excellent customer service
Here are a dozen Do's which can be of assistance to deliver excellent customer service.
1) Be genuinely passionate to deliver excellent customer service: Passion for your work is the best medicine for all your miseries. The more you hone your ‘customer service’ skills, the better you will get with your ‘life skills.’
2) Treat your team members the way you want them to treat your customers: If your ‘internal customers’ are not delighted, external customers will not be delighted either. Remember, your team members will always appreciate genuine and timely care. The more you give, the more you get in return.
3) Greet customers with smile and energy: If you are not enthusiastic and delighted about your own work, how could you possibly delight your internal and external customers?
4) Have a pleasing voice and body language: One needs to allow the ‘service attitude’ to radiate through their persona. 'How' you speak to your customers is as important as 'What' you speak. Emotion when expressed in the right manner at the right time gives you an opportunity to bond, and build a long-lasting relationship with the customer.
5) Always listen to the customers with care and understand their requirement: Listening is the building block of developing excellent communication skills. One should have the basic etiquette of not interrupting the customer, and should give full attention to the customer to ensure a clear understanding of their requirement.
6) Respect customers: Give respect to gain respect is a highly simple transactional rule. Never take customers for granted. Have a freewheeling yet professional interaction with the customers. Remember - no customers, no business; no business, no salary!
7) Focus on the resolution: Never lose focus from resolving a customer's query and always provide them with accurate and complete information. Provide an alternative and realistic turnaround time when you are unable to deliver to their expectations immediately.
8) Go an extra mile to delight the customers: Exceeding the customer’s expectations works wonders, not only to excel in the business, but to also build one's character. Every customer can be made happy and to achieve this, it demands passion, patience, and persistence.
9) Empathise with the customers: In case of a dissatisfied/irate customer, neither focus on the negativity, nor take customer's anger personally. Empathise, apologise where required, focus on calming down the customer tactfully, and ensure correct and quick resolution to meet the customer's requirement.
10) Focus on counselling rather than hard selling: Explain the features and benefits of your offerings in a language which the customer understands. Focus on educating the customer to make the right choice. Never mislead/cheat the customer. Remember, trust lost is business lost forever.
11) Look for opportunity to build rapport with the customers: The biggest room for an opportunity to build rapport is after the customer's requirement is fulfilled. Always focus on 'Building Rapport with Performance' rather than resorting to any unwarranted gimmicks.
12) Document the interaction for future research and development: Keeping a record of the interactions with your customers helps you to analyse service gaps, if any, and improve upon your service levels through customised training interventions.
While all of us are busy increasing our top and bottom lines, reading between the lines too is an extremely critical tact that one needs to hone, especially when transacting with both our internal and external stakeholders.
“While increasing our top and bottom lines, reading between the lines too is an extremely critical tact that one needs to hone, especially when transacting with both our internal and external stakeholders.”
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