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7 Best Tips for Great Customer Service

The hope is that you’ll apply these tips to ensure that your business doesn’t make one of the top 3 mistakes of poor customer service:

The hope is that you’ll apply these tips to ensure that your business doesn’t make one of the top 3 mistakes of poor customer service:

  • Your customers don’t feel valued or appreciated once they become a customer
  • Your customers experience long waiting times to speak to someone or to find an answer
  • Your customers experience rude and incompetent customer service reps

Let’s dive in and find out how you can address these issues and deliver top great customer service.

1. Know Your Product

The first rule of great customer service is to know your product. This can’t be understated. I, myself, would be willing to overlook a rude customer service rep if I got an excellent answer to my questions and my issue was resolved. Wouldn’t you?

42% of customers are willing to leave after dealing with rude or unhelpful staff

When customers speak to a rep that doesn’t know their product, their issue won’t be resolved. When their issue isn’t resolved, well, your business risks being lumped into the growing pool of companies with “poor customer service.”

Here are a few ways that you can increase your knowledge of your product.

  • Provide a product training refresher and implement a training plan.
  • Compile a list of commonly asked questions and distribute them to your reps. Assign your reps the task of providing responses to these questions, then review the answers as a team.
  • Review the log of customer inquiries and:
    • Share the most common questions asked.
    • Share the most difficult questions asked.
  • If you have a support community, browse the most common support questions.
  • Implement a shadowing program within your organization so your customer service reps can expand their product knowledge.

2. Listen to your customers 

People want to be heard, however it’s common for customers to feel as though their words go in one ear and out the other when speaking with customer service. It’s even more apparent to your customers that they aren’t being heard when they get a response that doesn’t address or solve their issue.

Maybe I should rephrase this – customers want to be understood. They want to know that you understand the definition of their issue and the frustrations that go along with it.

27% of customers rate their highest frustration as "lack of effectiveness"

Listening to what your customers have to say is a crucial part of delivering excellent customer service. Here are some strategies to improve your listening skills when it comes to customer service:

  • Don’t interrupt your customer when they are speaking and wait until they are done talking to respond.
  • When responding to an inquiry, make sure you summarize their question back to them in order to illustrate that their question has been understood.
  • Ask questions if you are unsure – don’t make assumptions.

Listening and understanding your customers often goes hand in hand with empathizing with them, which we will talk about in tip number 6. When you understand your customer, you are better able to put yourself in their shoes and be more empathetic.

3. Respond quickly

It’s not surprising that in today’s age, people want everything as quickly as possible. As a result, speed is one of the most important contributing factors to great customer service; though it could be said that fast service is not just appreciated, but rather, expected.

43% of customers expect a response within 4 hours or less

When a customer inquiry is responded to quickly, it tells the customer two things:

(a)  You actually care about them.

(b)  You’ve got your ducks in a row.

It won’t be seen as anything extraordinary, but you will be seen favourably. On the flip side, if you don’t have a quick response time, that could certainly be reason enough for you to be put on the chopping block.

Here’s how you can avoid a long response time:

  • Make use of your “quick response” or “canned response” function for commonly asked questions. You can refer back to tip number 1 to determine what these questions are.
  • Use automatic responses to acknowledge that you’ve received their email or inquiry. This will provide them with instant gratification and make the wait for a human response a little more bearable.
  • Employ customer service tools to help you manage responses, have all your inquiries centralized, and have readily available records of any previous conversations.
  • Use templates to help speed up the processes for responses that require more than just a quick response option.
  • Provide all customer service reps with an internal knowledge base that has appropriate responses to all types of inquiries to help guide them. This is especially important for new employees.

4.  Provide a self-serve option

One of the most important factors that people attribute to great customer service is having 24/7 support. People want support whenever and wherever they are. More importantly, people want to be able to service themselves and solve their own issues, because let’s face it, people don’t like speaking to customer service.

In fact, self-service interactions have overtaken all other customer service channels for the third year running. People love having this option, so really, you’ll need to provide this to your customers or risk losing out to your competitors who do.

73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own

What you need to do is design a people centered self service support system for your business. This will allow your customer service to be seen in a better light since this will provide a wider range of options to your customers.

Some self-service options include:

To learn more about these options, take a look at our blog on Self-Service Support Options for Every B2B Business.

5.  Maintain a positive attitude

Being positive, watching your tone and staying polite are key ingredient to delivering great customer service. This may seem simple enough, however it seems that sometimes, this can be relatively hard to find. Remaining positive creates a better experience for your customer and is actually incredibly important.

66% of customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service rep

Staying positive means continuously using positive language and seeming eager to solve an issue. It might be difficult to remain positive if the customer is very frustrated and isn’t the nicest person to be speaking with, but if you remain positive, it could very well improve the tone that the customer is using.

No one wants to yell at someone who is being positive and creating good vibes!

Here are some tips on how to maintain a positive attitude:

  • Make sure you unwind after a long day – imagine yourself as a Sim whose “fun” bar is low! Do something to improve your mood every night so you can refuel for the next day.
  • Constantly work on using positive language, since talking positively can help to influence your mood and demeanor.
  • Employ customer service tools, as mentioned in tip number 3. This will provide you with a record of previous conversations so that you can jump right into it.
  • Always expect the worst reactions so that you can grab some positivity and relief when you get customers who are cooperative and friendly.

6.  Empathize

Always empathize with your customer and apologize for any inconveniences. Customers want to feel like their issues and frustrations are heard and reacted to accordingly. They want you to be on their side, so make sure you pick up on their tone and then respond appropriately.

37% of customers want an apology when the service is not satisfactory

You ultimately want to speak to every customer with the goal of making their problem your problem. Besides the obvious way to convey empathy, which is through listening and putting yourself in their shoes, you can convey your empathy through a number of different statements.

Try to incorporate these types of phrases when speaking to customers:

  • “I’m so sorry to hear that”
  • “I can definitely understand your frustration”
  • “That does sound confusing”
  • “I can only imagine how frustrating that was, sorry to hear that”

Ultimately, incorporating empathy into your customer service involves making statements of agreement with your customer.

Agree that their frustration was warranted and that you’ll do your best to help them out.

7.  Provide a space for proactive feedback

Getting feedback from your customers is incredibly important for you and for them. Getting proactive feedback, however, is even more important because a large majority of customers aren’t complainers. This makes getting information about your customer service more difficult without doing it proactively.

91% of unhappy customers who are non-complainers will simply leave

For your company, getting proactive feedback on your customer service allows you to:

  • Identify your flaws and address them before customers leave
  • Show customers that you care about their experience with you and their input matters
  • Identify focus areas for future team training initiatives
  • Get a wholesome picture of your general customer service performance

Giving feedback is also important to customers, and they generally view organizations that look to gather proactive feedback in a positive light. The benefits of providing a space for customers to give their feedback includes:

  • Making them feel involved, invested and important
  • Giving them a platform to be heard
  • Providing them with a space to make a complaint that they might otherwise not submit to you, which helps you improve your services

And there it is – the only 7 tips you’ll ever need to ensure that your business has great customer service. Hopefully you can put these tips to use as soon as possible, as the competition out there is plentiful and harsh!

Best of luck!

Sarah Robinson-Yu