Customer service can be challenging. It's hard to deal with customers every day, especially as many of them can be unpleasant or downright rude. One bad experience with a customer can quickly spiral into bad word of mouth or overall poor customer service ratings. To avoid this, there are a few fundamental customer service principles companies can utilize to create excellent customer service standards.
One of the principles of excellent customer service is empathy, according to Groove, a help desk software company with stellar customer service practices. Empathy in customer service means putting yourself in the customers' shoes and looking at the experience through their eyes. Take time to understand who they are, where they are coming from and what is important to them, and appreciate how they feel. Communicating that empathy in the way you deal with each and every customer will make them feel more comfortable and cared for, and those feelings go a long way. Comfortable, happy, cared-for customers not only become repeat customers, they also find a way to get the word out about your incredible commitment to service.
Another one of Groove's key principles of customer service is next-level helpfulness, or going above and beyond to assist the customer. This does not necessarily mean it has to be a huge, grand gesture. But anticipating the customer's needs and proactively fulfilling those needs is something that can be built into every customer encounter. Graduating to this level of helpfulness requires some empathy: you need to put yourself in the customer's shoes in order to think of what you might want or need in certain situations. Use that inner knowledge to be of better assistance to customers. Don't be content with just solving the customer's current issue; see what you can do to go one step further and be of long-term value to the customer. This is true customer care.
Another fundamental principle of customer service is expressing and creating delight. This one can be challenging during bad days or when faced with dozens of customers, but it is invaluable to a company's customer service reputation. One study concluded that when servers brought candy to the table along with the customers' checks, diners tipped more. When the servers came back after payment with extra candy, the tips grew even more. That's the idea: delight your customers with "candy." This could be a coupon, a promo code, a small gift, a happy face drawn on a receipt, a hand-written thank-you note or any small token that the customer is not expecting. These small tokens make customers feel special.
Another fundamental principle of customer care is focusing on the customer. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many companies fall short of this. Making customer service available and easy to access for the customer, as well as solving problems as quickly and efficiently as possible, is paramount to good customer service ratings.
There is no magic formula for customer service. Knowing the principles--showing empathy, going above and beyond to be helpful, creating delight and focusing on the customer--and applying them to all aspects of business is the way to excel at customer service. Companies that do so routinely find themselves the subject of excellent word of mouth and repeat business.
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