This time of year is a big one for many customer-driven organizations around the nation, as hundreds of thousands of shoppers take to their favorite retailers. It’s not only the largest revenue-generating season, but also the time to make a positive impact with consumers through a superb customer service strategy. How any organization handles customer service says a lot about their focus, and consumers are wise to this nowadays.
So, how can your department or organization make a great impact this year by providing above average customer service? In a recent Forbes article, the telecommunications giant, AT&T, gave some of their steps for extraordinary customer service, that you can learn a lot from. Here’s our review of the 5 Key elements of great customer service.
Warm, welcoming greetings. The first impression is everything. From the moment you speak with or see a customer, smile and welcome them to your establishment. Make a positive impression by acknowledging each person warmly, then offer to help in any way you can to make their visit a good one. This is especially important if you are working with people over the phone, when you don’t have the benefit of a face-to-face greeting. Use your warmest voice and provide a nice greeting that removes any worry immediately.
Personalize by using the customer’s name. It’s natural for people to like the sound of their own name, especially when dealing with a customer service person. By greeting someone, providing your name, then asking the customer for his or her name – you are making the contact much more personal. Remember the customer’s name, and refer to it often to continue this personal feeling throughout the conversation, much like you would with a new friend.
Give your whole attention. A big no-no when dealing with customers is allowing yourself to become distracted or disconnected from the customer in front of you. When you are working with a customer, give this person your 100% undivided attention and reduce any other distractions. This sets the precedence that you value the customer’s time, opinions and needs. If you are on the phone with a customer, do not allow other distractions to make you place the person on hold repeatedly.
Keep a positive attitude. People respond to those who have a sunny disposition in a positive way. Likewise, if you are negative you can expect a negative response from others. Smile and use direct eye contact with all your customers, regardless of how you may feel on the inside. Your demeanor is just as important as the knowledge you have, and people can pick up this immediately.
Treat customers like guests. The goal when working with any customer is to make this person feel special, valued and respected. Use the “Golden Rule” and treat the person like you would like to be treated. Image that this person is coming to your house to enjoy a fabulous meal with you and your family, and you want this customer to feel welcome and comfortable with you.
Need more tips for providing the best customer service to clients and customers? Consider the benefits of attending a Dale Carnegie course “ Effective Communications & Human Relations/Skills For Success”, and learn to develop your interpersonal skills to become a supperb customer service professional. Now taking registrations for January 2012!