9 Customer Service Basics

December 2, 2010

Great customer Service

We all know the story… it costs 5 times as much to bring in a new customer, than to keep an existing one. When people become your customer, they want to be loyal. So, why do they leave? Most of the time, they leave because of small oversights and lack of attention to plain, old customer service. Following are some tips – none of them new – most of them under practised, that will help you create more loyalty from your customers and will help you to the roots of your divine purpose in business: To be of service to you customers.

Here are 9 Useful Customer Service that you can start using right now!

This is the first post in our new weekly feature:

Thoughtful Thursday – Tips for your Small Business

1. The Customer is always right

You are in business to provide to your customers, and you can only do that if you know what it is your customers want. When you really listen to your customers, they will let you know what they want and how you can provide good service.

Bonus tip: Remember – the customer pays your salary and makes your job possible.

2. Be a good listener

As good questions and listen carefully to the answers your customers provide. I mean really listen. Listen to their words, the tone of their voice, their body language – this will tell you volumes about what they are really saying. Don’t assume that you “know” what they want. Pay attention, listen and learn.

3. Identify and anticipate your customers needs

Customers don’t buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. You are their Dr. Feelgood and the solver of their problems. Your Customers and Clients make their choices with their hearts and not their heads – their need are emotional not logical. Social media allows you a platform where you can communicate regularly – so do so. The better you are able to understand your customers, the better you’ll become at anticipating their needs.

4. Make your customers feel important and appreciated

The two most important and under used words often are: Thank you. When you say thank you, or for that matter, offer any compliment, always be sincere. Your customers and clients value sincerity. Everyone want to feel cared about – we all want to feel that our service provider (or Starbucks Barrista) cares. Your sincerity will breed customer trust, customer trust leads to customer loyalty.

5. Help customers understand your systems

You may have created the best systems for getting your customers from point A to point B. But if they don’t understand your system, they could be left feeling frustrated and angry. Take the time to explain to them exactly why you created the system (to make their life better, silly…) and how they can use it to simplify their buying or learning process. This is a system touchpoint. Never use these to replace the “Human Touchpoints” in your organization.

6. Always look for new and better ways to help your customers

When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. This is a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach.

Online retailer Zappos.com has set the bar for customer service. Its approach focuses on making authentic connections via social networks rather than selling or promoting products.

Since meeting customer needs is the goal, Zappos staff will spend time to help a person find an item they don’t carry — even though they’re making no money off the sale. Still, it’s valuable in building customer appreciation and trust. CEO Tony Hsieh recognizes that the web gives everyone a voice — including Zappos customers — and what customers say on blogs and social networks can reach millions. That’s why Zappos treats every interaction as an opportunity not to make a sale, but to shed positive light on the brand.

7. When something goes wrong, own it and apologize

It’s easy and customers like it. The customer might not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done. Always over deliver on your promise. If you made a mistake the first time, fix it and then give more than your original promise. Remember, you are Dr. Feelgood the problem solver… This time you created the problem – fix it and your reward will be your customers loyalty.

8. Always Over Promise & Over Deliver

Over promising is a problem only when you under deliver. There are a number of ways that you can ove rdeliver to your customers or prospects, and as a result create a win-win situation for you both. They will be provided with some additional value, while you will be upgrading your learning around a particular issue, adding another product or service to your business, or even increasing the mastery level of your craft.

9. Make it simple for customers to complain

Value their complaints. As much as we dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. Even if customers are having a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable. Again Dr. Feelgood – Listen to your customers, learn from them and if need be, apologize for any shortcoming – even if it is just in their mind.

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