Customer service is a skill. Some industry veterans may even argue that it is an art, similar to sales. Whatever the case, like any skill it requires time, experience, and an unwavering dedication. Learning how to speak to your customers and how to be nice to your customers is vital. Following the above commitments will lead to superior customer service.
We have already discussed in detail why this is necessary for any business, from startup to corporation. Now, let’s get into the “hows” of great service. How you speak to customers greatly impacts your customer service success. This ranges from general tone and demeanor to how receptive you are to their concern or request. Take a look at the three points below for more insight.
#1 - Tone
Tone is important. Your demeanor and emotional state can actually “travel” over the phone. What that means is that a customer can usually tell if a representative (rep) is literally smiling during the conversation. Hard to believe perhaps, but it’s true. Humans are generally very intuitive when it comes to vocal changes, pace and detecting stress or annoyance in the voice. This trait has been solidified over tens of thousands of years of language and communication. The customer service rep must always, without exception, deliver a pleasant tone. Avoid broadcasting stress, annoyance or any other emotional state. Otherwise, the customer will be able to tell. This typically inflames difficult situations or increases the difficulty of what would be simple interactions.
#2 - Attitude
The customer is certainly not always right, and yet they are. Simple reason? They are paying for your product or service. Thus, your customer service is (supposedly) there to help them. Part of enhancing that vital customer services includes keeping a positive attitude. This principle should remain constant regardless of the customer’s attitude, emotional state or disposition. The customer service rep is a direct extension of the company itself. Keeping a constant positive attitude exudes a willingness to help and conveys a high degree of professionalism, which reflects positively on your company or organization. In contrast, letting the customer’s attitude or state impact you (as the rep) reflects poorly on the company. Without attitude control, things can quickly spiral out of control to the point where two individuals (customer and rep) are having an argument. Things can never get to that point, as it’s highly unprofessional and will hurt your company’s reputation and customer retention.
#3 - Empathy
Angry or disappointed customers are common in customer service, regardless of industry. It’s the nature of the beast. If a customer is contacting your company for service, it is very likely they are having a problem with the service. Some customers may be more patient then others. Still, others will be upset from the start. The reason is simple: they paid money for your product or service and did not get the intended results. The rep must empathize with customers, again by putting themselves in the customer’s shoes. This is a skill. Further, it is a vital skill because customers can tell if the rep does not care. Understand and acknowledge the issue, apologize and commit to solving it, because that it what you would expect, should the roles be reversed.
Regardless of industry, most companies deal with (or choose to ignore) customer service in some capacity. As we’ve covered, customer service is a skill. We will explore more of those specific skills in future posts. For now, emphasize tone of voice, attitude and empathy. These three points will aid your reps in properly talking to and “being nice” to customers.