Customer service is a tough industry. Customer service representatives deal with customers day in and day out, and not all of them are as friendly or as pleasant as the rep would like. Poor customer service could even stem from a representative who’s having a bad day or an off week. To avoid nightmares before they happen, here are two essential principles that can help create stellar customer service.
The first major principle of stellar customer service is to ensure that all customer contact is beneficial, meaningful and appropriate. For example, not all customer contacts need to happen on a daily basis, if at all. Confusing product descriptions can cause meaningless customer contacts, and the solution should come from changing the product description to be clearer, not tasking potentially hundreds of customer service reps with answering the same question. If a company feels that one question or issue comes up more than it should, the root is probably with the product or product description.
Likewise, good customer service should be proactive, not reactive. Most companies and customer service agencies should be aware of issues and problems before the first customer calls in — this way, reps are prepped with an appropriate and helpful answer rather than fumbling for an excuse. Companies can make consumers aware of issues and solutions to common problems through automated emails and phone calls, rather than wait for the customer to call in — which doesn’t always happen.
The second principle is to focus on the customer. This includes ensuring that the company is easy to contact and that customer service is available when it's needed most — for instance, if a company is serving a market in another time zone, having customer service reps available in that time zone is critical to ensuring that customers are happy or have help when they need it.
Similarly, problems should be solved quickly once they’re brought to customer service’s attention. Dawdling around a problem without fixing it can lead to repeat calls and questions that waste the reps’ time and leaves customers with a bad, neglected taste in their mouths. The company should be quick to resolve consumer or product issues such as issuing returns or sending replacement products.
Good customer service doesn’t have to be a three-ring circus, and having stellar customer service isn’t a magical formula. Companies that focus on the customer and have a proactive customer service team may find that their company’s reputation and loyal customer base increase. Problems should be solved at the root, especially if some questions are very common or frequently asked.
Customer service should be easy to contact and easy to deal with — if customers have a hard time getting in touch, they may be a lot less likely to call in the future, which can lead to negative reviews and harsh criticism to friends.
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