Can you hear me smiling?
Customer Service Part 1
If you are a business owner, a happy customer is a REPEAT customer and you don't have to "sell the farm" to achieve this. If you are the Consumer, you want to be treated with RESPECT. I have found the Golden Rule is to "Treat everyone as you would like to be treated" and you usually achieve the results you want. I know everyone has had a bad experience with customer service at one time or another. I too have been on both sides of this coin.
This article is the first part of a series I will be sharing on the topic of “Customer Service.”
Customer Service by Phone:
1. Always, ALWAYS answer the phone with a SMILE on your face. Now, you may be wondering why, because they can't see you, well they may not be able to see you but they sure can HEAR YOU SMILE! A smile can easily be heard through a voice. No need to go over-board; find that sincere smile to let the person on the other end know you really want to help them and you are so happy they called. Jot down their name as soon as they give it to you so you can use it while talking to them keeping the call personal and friendly.
2. Listen to what they are saying. If you hear frustration and anger in their voice, let them know you “feel” for them using comfort words like: I understand and my goodness. Tune in to what they are expressing and take notes so you will be prepared to respond appropriately when they are finished. Allowing them to finish uninterrupted is very important.
3. After listening, call them by first name or Mr. /Mrs., and REPEAT the problem to make sure you understand it. Ask questions; don't just assume and start answering right away. Sometimes people have trouble explaining what the trouble is. This also helps to calm an upset customer and reassure them that you’re sincere with wanting to help. Then, once you understand the problem, suggest how you can help. Give the customer choices with solutions and suggestions. Replace, refund, or whatever suits the situation.
You won't always end with everyone being happy, but the customer will remember that they had a good experience talking with you and more than likely, they will be a return customer in the end.
Bottom line; Keep smiling with your voice!
Further reading: Part two: A Written Smile http://www.practicalecommerce.com/my/posts/923-A-Written-Smile
These are great tips for pleasing and keeping your customers through good customer service. I had occasion to work with 6 or so CS representatives at 4 different airlines recently and I can tell you that most of them could do with your advice. Just one (American Airlines) was all that you describe and I will remember that when I am taking my next trip. She won me over with her style and understanding.
Yes I can hear the smile! It is surprising to me how many customer service agents talk super fast and seem like they are reading from a script. Your suggestions are great for giving friendly, personalized customer care! Thanks for the article.
Good point, Danna. Replying the other end with smiling on a call can put the good business image in the mind. To certain extent smile is an important factor and plays a spectacular role. Thanks for illuminating such a great fact.
Danna Crawford says:
Appreciate your comment iPhone. Thanks for taking the time! And ElegantKB plus Pat, hope you ALL could hear me smiling :-)