I really can’t stress enough the importance of great customer service skills for anyone who works in a customer-driven industry. I’ve just taken on a couple of new employees and, while I was giving them their induction training, I made sure that I placed plenty of emphasis on how important it is to address the customers’ wants and needs. After all, if we don’t have any customers, we don’t have a business. I’ve noticed, however, that when I use services at other companies, sometimes the staff are really rude and have terrible customer service skills, so I thought I should give my advice about how to run customer service training so that other companies can improve their employees’ skills.
Which Skills Matter?
All employees who work in an industry that involves contact with the public should really work on their customer service skills. While most employers know this, they aren’t really sure what skills need to be developed or are just too vague about what customer service really entails. So here is my advice.
Patience is vital, not just for customers who might be frustrated or confused, but also for the business as a whole. It has been proven that excellent service beats speedy service each and every time. Of course, service shouldn’t be too slow, but if you take the time to work out exactly what they want, they’ll be happier than if you rush them and they end up with incompetent service.
Listening to customers is essential to providing good service. Sometimes, they might tell you outright that something needs to be changed, but sometimes, they’ll phrase it in a slightly different way. You need to work out what they are telling you, even if it comes out in a slightly obscure way.
Customers don’t want you to be silent and sullen, but at the same time, they don’t want to hear a story about your day. Keeping it friendly but to the point is the key to good customer communication, and of course, always making sure that important points are relayed clearly to the customer so that they don’t get the wrong impression about things.
Your employees need to know really well how your product works so they can explain it thoroughly to customers. Lack of knowledge means that they won’t be able to assist customers if they’re having a problem.
By changing conversations just slightly, it’s easy to create a happy customer. Language can be very persuasive and can create a particular perception about the company. Turning a negative situation into a positive through using the right language and way of speaking helps customers to focus on the good and ignore the bad.
There will always be that one customer that just can’t be made happy. There’s nothing you can really do about it, so acting as if you’re happy and cheerful in the face of grumpiness is pretty important.
Customers want efficiency, so if your employees can’t help a customer, they need to find another staff member who can as soon as possible.