Customer service is one of those topics that seems deceptively simple on the outside. Learn the Golden Rule and you’re halfway there, right?
But beneath the surface, customer service has the potential to add value to your business the same way great project management or design expertise can add value. Setting up reliable processes for customer service can save time, boost client loyalty, and distinguish you from the competition.
Here are a few pointers on how good customer service can create value:
Manage expectations from the start. Failure to follow through on what was expected can damage brand integrity and reputation in a way that makes it difficult to regain trust. As the saying goes, under-promise and over-deliver.
Think of your customers’ needs before they even know they have them. The best way to do this is to provide comprehensive solutions.
Create a Customer Issue Resolution Path (CIRP).
Have a documented way to fix customers’ problems. Setting up scripts and process flows for common customer service issues will speed up the resolution process each time these issues arise, freeing up you and your team to move on to other pressing tasks.
Ever find yourself getting impatient and asking follow-up questions before the client has finished describing their issue? Formulating your response while they’re still explaining their concern? Don’t do this. Listen actively – and respond to the content of their message, even if their tone shows frustration.
Own the error.
Resist temptation to make excuses or try to absolve the company of blame. The focus should be on fixing the problem, and the sooner you own any mistakes, the sooner you achieve resolution. Rather than thinking of the customer’s concern as a hassle, think of it as a new opportunity to go above and beyond.
Show a sense of urgency.
The customer should be able to see that immediate action was taken to resolve the issue. Even if it takes some time to fix the problem completely, a plan should be set in motion right away.
Check to see if the customer’s issue has remained resolved after your solution and make sure they’re satisfied with the way you addressed the problem. Ask open-ended questions to capture honest and helpful feedback you can use next time.
These are just a few of the ways you can ensure your employees are offering the type of customer service response that will lead to happy clients and the all-important referrals. (And maybe equally importantly, prevent clients from retelling bad customer service experiences to everyone they know.)
What are some ways you ensure your team is offering top-level customer service at every turn? Any examples of how your customer service led to new business, repeat business, or other great outcomes?
Ready to dig deeper into customer service? Get the full rundown in the CEDIA University course ESCR201: Customer Service Best Practices, available for purchase through the CEDIA University Courseware Marketplace as an e-book or paperback.