What is good customer service?
Good customer service is ongoing and prioritises the customer, with the goal of solving their needs. Customer service impacts the perception of your business, beyond marketing and advertising alone. And great customer service involves skills and activities that can be organised into these eight core principles:
1. Empathetic customer service
Great customer service can’t exist without empathy. Your business can use empathetic customer service to engage customers with warmth, understanding, and a sense of familiarity regarding their feelings. Empathetic customer service demonstrates to customers that they are valued and not merely monetary transactions for your business. Increase empathy in your customer service by finding employees who possess empathetic qualities, like sensitivity and compassion.
Employee training that uses customer scenarios and standardised empathetic communication, are also effective ways to foster empathy in customer service––phrases like, “I understand,” “I’m here to help,” and “I hear you” are great empathetic phrases.
2. Active listening
Active listening involves paying close attention to your customers throughout their communication to best address their needs. Listening attentively for details such as dates, times, pain points, anecdotes, and customer preferences for example, ensures that your business can accurately assess, solve, or resolve the needs of your customers.
Offering multiple channels of communication to your customers is a smart way to improve your ability to actively listen to their needs. Using an omnichannel strategy, your business can develop communication guidelines for active listening, tailored to each channel.
3. Service and product knowledge
To provide the best service to your customers, your customer service managers must be knowledgeable about your business products and services. Educate your employees on your products and services and provide them with regular product insights and training. Being knowledgeable about product capabilities and service offerings communicates to customers that they are well cared for, and that your business can address and solve their needs.
4. Technical expertise
Technical expertise involves the knowledge of more complex service and product features, relevant use cases, and business scenarios. Customers regularly have needs, questions, and challenges that can’t be addressed with basic product knowledge, that’s why technical expertise is so important––think of product developers, product managers, industry experts, and specialists.
To increase expertise within your business, hire or consult relevant technical experts. In addition, provide your technical experts with insights and workshops that help them learn, and stay current with industry innovations and advancements.
5. Good interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills describe the ability to interact, engage and communicate well with customers, and they are a necessity for great customer service. Interpersonal skills bring a human element to your business interactions with people, and help determine if they’ll become your customers, and then remain your customers. Good interpersonal skills help differentiate your business from similar businesses in your industry, because they are difficult to duplicate.
The best ways to improve interpersonal communication are through training and feedback, understanding the goal of the customer interaction, maintaining a positive and controlled tone of voice, and the use of conversational guides. But when using conversational guides, employees should be sure to modify them a bit to fit their own speech patterns, tone of voice, and personality.
6. Clear communication
Communicate clearly to help your customers understand the parameters of your business, products, and services. Helping customers understand exactly how you can be of service benefits them and your business. Clear communication can help you save time spent on troubleshooting and has a positive impact on your customers’ experiences. Enhance your communication by offering more channels of communication for your customers to interact with your business. Whether through live chat, online video calls, text messages, social media, email, or other channels, providing multiple avenues for communication helps you provide better service to your customers.
Multitasking skills are needed to serve multiple clients and perform activities while addressing customer needs. Your customer service representatives should be comfortable with managing different tasks, and clients in sequence and often, simultaneously. However, multitasking should never hinder your employees from performing business tasks correctly. To better improve multitasking efforts, and avoid losses in productivity, your business and employees should be aware of workload capacities, and set thoughtful, attainable goals.
8. Follow up
Following up with your customers can be a proactive way to nurture customer relationships. Follow up is important because it allows your business to keep an accurate understanding of your customers’ interests, plans, and challenges.
A great way to improve follow up is to use personalised outreach. Personalised follow up entails using customised emails, promotions, and other communications tailored to your customer’s profile. Personalised outreach shows your customers that they are unique and valuable to your business.