Every day new products and services are being developed and introduced in the world. The market is ever growing, ever evolving at a staggering pace, and with it, companies and its employees are struggling to keep up with the times. Customer expectations are harder to meet, more than ever before with the rise of information and online accessibility fueling individual needs, wants and demands. This means even employees who have strong customer service backgrounds need to put in the extra effort to understand each customer and their individual requirements. In this environment, as managers, our job is to instill in all of our front liners and customer service staff how having a customer service-oriented mindset is vital in delivering a positive experience.
So what are the 3 steps?
1. Instill a positive outlook and attitude
We know everyone has days where going to work with a confident disposition can seem just too difficult! But what every employee needs to understand is that bringing in negative energy to your work often translates to unenthusiastic responses, poorly worded conversation and potentially destructive behavior to the brand.
Customers come to a shop or call a contact centre for help for a reason: they need the front liner to assist them with their query and to help solve their problem with the product or service. They may have attempted to solve their problem online before they make contact. Many customers are already irate even before they begin to explain what they need.
It’s a test of your team’s customer service capability to manage the situation, be patient, empathise, understand and guide the customer to a positive, satisfying experience.
2. Be in the moment
Have your team been doing their jobs for a while? If so, they may have they slipped into automatic behavior. Being in the moment is particularly important to remember especially for veteran employees.
Customer service professionals don’t just go through the motions of asking routine questions. They listen to what the customer is actually trying to say, not just with their words but look at body language in face to face encounters and listen to paralinguistic and verbal cues. Is the customer rolling their eyes? Do they seem bored or annoyed? Are they tapping their foot out of impatience or habit? Does their voice seem high-pitched because they’re irritated? If they cut in mid-explanation does it mean they’re rude or eager to finish with the problem?
Team members may need to practice making eye contact and engaging rather than just nodding their head nonchalantly as they tick off the problems. Do your team show genuine concern and smile when appropriate? Are they confident to take the lead in the conversation and respond to your customers in an authentic way? Being in the moment, pausing and responding rather than reacting will reap dividends.
3. Treat every experience as a learning opportunity
Encourage team members to go into every customer interaction with a fresh perspective. Every customer encounter is unique. The problems or needs may be similar but how they connect with each individual customer will change how they respond. Whilst, not every encounter may end up with a positive outcome encourage them to take note of what was said, how they reacted to the customers response or gestures and learn from each experience.
Ask them to discuss what happened with you or their colleagues and receive inputs on what worked and could be done differently Task them to apply their insights and learning the next time they encounter a similar situation, share what happened and celebrate successes!
Whether you’re a manager of a new or established customer service team the challenge is the same, how to ensure your customers consistently receive the best possible customer experience. Whilst these pointers may seem like common sense, are they common practice and default ways of working in your team? If not, encourage your team to keep in mind these 3 steps and it will help them have a better perspective of your customers, their role as a representative for your product or service and a better understanding of the behaviors the company they work for value.