People talk a lot about customer service, but what are you doing as a business to ensure your customer service is exceptional? More importantly, what are you doing to deliver better customer service than your competition? Here are fifteen customer service tips to get you started. When reading these tips, ask yourself, or ask your customers;
- Are we doing this?
- How well are we doing this?
- How could we empower our people to do these things better?
Once you have read our customer service tips, we would love you to share this article with as many people as possible on social media (use hashtag #customerservicetips) or even link it to your articles. The better customer service can become around the globe, the better the world will become.
We will keep expanding our list of customer service tips as well, so please bookmark this page and check in regularly, or subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we update it. Alright, let’s get into these tips on customer service.
Customer Service Tip 1: Have Enthusiasm When Answering the Phone
Enthusiasm when answering the phone is essential for the first call of the day and the 500th call! It sets the tone for the level of customer service your staff member and organisation will provide. You only get one chance to make a great first impression when you answer the phone, so make the most of it.
It’s not easy, either. Your staff are only human, after all.
Some of your team might be having a bad day or dealing with complex personal issues. Or perhaps a colleague just started eating dried fish in the cubicle next to you!
Either way, you need to provide an environment so that your organisation’s customer service standards are high, and there is no significant drop-off between your best and worst.
Here are some customer service tips for answering the phone that can help maintain enthusiasm levels
- Try to smile on the phone and use a mirror. A mirror can help you see your facial expressions while talking. It will tell you much about how you are coming across to your customer.
- Create a list of phone greetings to use. Saying the same thing all day will drive even the best customer service person mad. Mix things up to keep the energy levels up.
- Take a deep breath and be mentally ready before answering the call. Answering the phone call while rushed, stressed or unprepared is guaranteed to give the caller a less than ideal first impression.
Customer Service Tip 2: Focus on One Customer At a Time
In the modern omnichannel world, it is easy to get spread too thin when delivering customer service. Being busy is not an excuse for poor customer service; every customer deserves your complete focus and attention.
So how can you manage this more effectively, whether with customers in person or over the phone? Here are some great customer service tips to keep your focus on your customer.
- Remember to smile and make contact if you are in a customer-facing role, even if you have been serving a long line of customers all day.
- Please answer each question like it’s the first time you have responded to it. While it might be the 100th time for you today, it is the first time for the customer. Getting them the answer is not the only objective here. You want them to feel that they are important, that they were listened to and ultimately leave a positive impression about your brand.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. How often have you been served, and the customer service representative is busy chatting to another work colleague rather than focussing on the customer? Frustrating. Things take longer, and mistakes get made. If this is happening in your business, it’s time to take action with some customer service training.
Customer Service Tip 3: Focus on the Customer’s Lifetime Value
One of the biggest customer service mistakes is considering a customer as a single transaction. The reality is that this is far from the truth!
Each customer is a potential customer for life. Not just for your current products but future products and services as well. Not only that, they are potentially referrers of new customers to your business.
When you think of it that way, the customer is worth far more than the $10 gross profit on the current sale. Their lifetime value could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Now let us ask you this? If you were selling a product to a customer that would generate a ten thousand dollar gross profit, would you be trying harder to provide fantastic customer service?
You and your staff must understand the importance of customer lifetime value and align your customer service philosophy accordingly.
Customer Service Tip 4: The Overcorrect Strategy
Would you agree that how a customer feels about something will influence their opinion of your business rather than what may have happened?
Feelings are facts in the world of customer service.
If the customer feels they have had a poor experience, simply fixing the problem is unlikely enough. That’s where the overcorrect comes in.
Here is an example of an overcorrect.
A pizza delivery company delivers the wrong pizzas to a customer. Rather than take the wrong pizzas away and make them wait another 45 minutes, they leave the incorrect order with the customer so they can at least eat that while waiting. Even if they don’t accept, the mere presence of the offer makes a positive impact.
What are some overcorrects you have done in your business? Have you ever brainstormed some ideas that you would be comfortable for your team to offer to customers?
Customer Service Tip 5: Complete Post Service Reviews
Learning & Growth through coaching first starts with discovery. How will you know what to focus on without actionable insights about the customer service you provide?
Completing surveys after specific customer interactions is a great way to discover what is going well and is not going well. It is not always about focussing on the bad. You can learn just as much from a good experience so you can bottle it, train it and ultimately live and breathe it.
There are popular systems like Net Promoter Score (NPS), but it is important not to focus on the number. One of the most important customer service tips when it comes to surveys is that the commentary is more valuable than the score itself, so don’t ignore it.
Customer Service Tip 6: Know What Makes Your Customer Tick
Not all approaches will work for all customers when it comes to going the extra mile to try and make them happy.
As a business owner, you want maximum ROI for the effort, so keep these basic customer service tips in mind when trying to over-deliver customer service for a customer.
- Understand your customer’s expectations
- Discover how to exceed those expectations
Having an intuitive CRM like Pipedrive that can capture these insights at a customer level is hugely valuable and makes it easier for your team to deliver.
Customer Service Tip 7: Find Some Common Ground
One of the best ways to excel at customer service is to find some common group with your customer or potential customer. Finding common ground helps build rapport and gives you something interesting to discuss.
The common ground could be a mutual love for a particular sport or sports team or perhaps an event you have both recently experienced, such as a hurricane or cyclone that impacted you both.
The key to finding common ground in the context of customer service is to listen and ask intuitive questions actively. That way, you will naturally find common ground with your customer, and your customer service levels will naturally improve.
Customer Service Tip 8: Don’t Mistake Small Problems for Bigger Ones (Tips of the Iceberg!)
Solving all the micro problems that customers have each day makes it easy to feel satisfied that you have given excellent customer service. After all, if you fixed the problem and the customer was happy, that is excellent customer service, right?
These minor problems may be a sign that there are some fundamental problems with your systems or processes. As a business owner or leader, it is crucial to understand these minor issues so you can analyse the root cause.
Wouldn’t it be much better to eliminate these issues for customers altogether rather than successfully fix them one at a time?
100% it would!
Customer Service Tip 9: Avoid Multitasking For Great Customer Service
Did you know that multitasking negatively impacts customer service? Why? Because most people can only process one thought at a time, and by multitasking, you dilute focus and become more susceptible to mistakes or, even worse, not listening to your customer.
A classic example where customer service goes wrong is texting on your phone while talking to the customer – even worse if it’s face-to-face interaction with a customer. Another example, try writing an email to one customer while talking to another customer on the phone! There is no way you are giving either customer the best customer service possible.
It sounds simple, but take time to observe the customer service standards of businesses around you. You will no doubt see these bad habits regularly. Often people think multitasking is a good thing, and in some aspects of business, it may be. But not with customer service. Avoiding multitasking is one of our best customer service tips as it is often misunderstood or misused.
Customer Service Tip 10: Make Sure Customers Know Your Name
It’s proven that customers who know the name of the customer service representative they are dealing with are likely to experience excellent customer service and rate their customer service experience highly on surveys.
Remembering people’s names is hard, especially if you only hear them once. So find strategies to say your name several times during customer interactions so that it comes across naturally.
Here are some customer service tips to help customers remember your name;
- Introduce yourself at the start of the customer conversation
- Remind customers to ask for you when they call back
- Write a personalised thank you note on their receipt, or provide them with a business card if you are dealing with a customer face to face.
- Use your customer’s name as it will make them conscious to remember your name.
How well have these tips been used in your business?
Customer Service Tip 11: Us “We” Instead of “They”
When things are not going well with a customer, like a customer complaint, there is a tendency for the customer service representative to refer to the business as “they”. The reality is that the customers see you and the business as one and the same, and using “they” creates a negative impression. It comes across to the customer that you are trying to pass the buck and are not genuinely committed to their concern.
Listening to customer calls or interactions is a great way for business owners and management to discover if your staff are in team “we” or team “they”. If it’s the latter, time to step in and do something about it.
Customer Service Tip 12: Choose the Right Words at the Right Time. Not the Wrong Words at the Wrong Time.
Depending on the customer’s circumstances, certain words can go down like a lead balloon and lead to confrontation or damaging escalation of a customer experience. We call these trigger words. We call them trigger words because they trigger a negative or angry response from the customer.
Words like “no”, “I can’t”, and “our policy” are pretty common trigger words. Train your people on how to avoid these trigger words and use alternative words or phrasing instead.
For example, replace “I can’t” with what you can do for the customer as an alternative.
Customer Service Tip 13: Prevent Email Miscommunication
Customers often write emails to businesses in a hurry or rush due to the overwhelming emotion they may feel when angry.
The worst thing you can do from a customer service perspective is rush your reply, especially if it’s in the heat of the moment. Here are some email customer service tips to avoid this from happening:
- Before you start drafting your reply, take a deep breath and ask yourself – what does the customer want?
- A rule of thumb is that if you can’t be crystal clear on the customer’s needs after two emails, you should pick up the phone and call them.
Businesses we know that have implemented this customer service strategy have significantly improved customer satisfaction. Make a point to make to send better customer service emails after reading this article.
This customer service tip also applies to your social media strategy. This often involves interacting with customers on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook via direct message. The risk of miscommunication can be even greater as customers are looking for immediate replies, and can often see when a message has been seen, or if you are typing a reply.
Customer Service Tip 14: Under Promise and Over Deliver on Customer Expectations
Exceeding expectations does not mean you have to do the impossible. In fact, as a business, you can shape the customer’s expectations to make it a certainty that you will exceed them.
Customers will always judge you based on how you have performed to their expectations. Even if you can do a task in 1 hour and all your competitors can only do it in 2 hours, if you tell the customer you will get it done in 1 hour, they won’t be that impressed. You delivered what they expected. However, if you told the customer that it would be completed in 2 hours like everyone else, then delivered in 1 hour, they would be blown away.
Setting expectations is critical to exceeding customer expectations and making your customer feel like they have received outstanding customer service. For that reason, this is one of our favourite and most important customer service tips.
Customer Service Tip 15: Do Not Make Assumptions
It is easy to jump to conclusions when dealing with a familiar scenario. The minute you make assumptions, you stop listening to the customer and start focusing on the pre-conceived solution that you want to tell them.
Try not to make assumptions. Instead, listen carefully and be very clear about what your customer needs.
It is also important not to make assumptions when greeting people. For example, due to people’s diverse backgrounds and beliefs, not everyone celebrates Christmas or Easter. So wishing someone a Happy Christmas may not get your desired reaction.
How well do you know about all the important days happening throughout the year? If you need some help, we have a 100 Important Days content pack that may be useful.
The Final Wrap on Delivering Outstanding Customer Service with our Customer Service Tips
Your customer service levels will also influence whether customers become repeat customers with a significant lifetime value or whether you turn them into your competitor’s customers.
Finally, fantastic customer service is one of the best ways to grow your business via referrals and word of mouth. Happy customers will tell family & friends, and this can only be good for your business.
So, if you haven’t put too much time and effort into the customer service standards of your business of late, there is no better time to start than now by implementing our tips to provide great customer service to your business.
We hope these customer service tips have been helpful. We will continue to add more here over time, so bookmark the page and check in regularly.
Once again, we kindly ask a small favour – please share this article with as many people as possible. If we can collectively improve customer service standards around the world, then the world is undoubtedly going to be a more enjoyable place for everyone.