We may work in Customer Service, but when we aren't working, we become customers ourselves. These traits below are some I've encountered while being a customer, whether at the store or on call with tech support. They are very important in giving your customer the best experience, the same way it gives you a better experience when you're the customer!
1. A Friendly Voice
Whether you're on the phone helping a customer or face to face, tone is everything. We've all made the call to tech support for whatever reason, starting off the conversation frustrated and guilty of giving a little attitude to the rep on the other end. I've had that person on the other end start off apologizing in the friendliest of voices for my frustration, assure they will help me figure it out, and then ask "aside from this, how's your day going today?"
I called angry at my phone/tv/computer/internet not working, I wanted to vent that to whomever was on the other end, yet I would find myself unable to answer back with attitude. It's called "killing them with kindness," and it works! Most of us are frustrated and angry, but not irrational. When someone shows us kindness we can't help but let go of some of that frustration.
2. Remaining Calm
I've been in many check out lines, lines at the DMV, lines at the bank, etc. So have you. We've all witnessed someone ahead of us freak out. Why usually doesn't matter and sometimes isn't known. By the time voices get raised it becomes a series of insults and curses and demands for a manager.
Ever see an employee argue back? Your first thought is usually, "I can't believe they're talking to a customer that way." Even more so when it adds fuel to the customer who, before that employee began answering back, looked like the fool.
What's the consensus like when the employee remains calm, doesn't give in to insults, never raises their voice? Almost always I find once the situation is over the other customers compliment the employee for keeping their cool. Try to lighten the mood with jokes.
Customer's can have problems that are the fault of the company, or you've just got one of those customers who always has a problem with everything. No situation calls for insults, raised voices, cursing, or demeaning an employee. Keep your calm and you'll be the better person. Your employer doesn't pay you to argue with customers, (although wouldn't that be nice?!), so don't work for free.
3. Understandable Explanations
Being on the other end of a technical call sucks. When our printer at work breaks, or anything for that matter, I want to know why it broke. It doesn't matter to me if shutting it on and off 5 times fixed the problem. We need that running constantly. So I want to be told why it happened, is it going to happen again, and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
I've had the answer on the other end be, "Oh, don't worry about that, it won't happen again." I've had the answer on the other end explain it to me using words I can understand and usually giving a great example comparing it to another object that's easier for me to get my head around.
This is important. While you may think what went wrong is irrelevant to them or above their head, it's important for the customer to know why the product they paid for from your company stopped working. Explain it in a way they can understand, and let them know if it were to happen again what the fix would be.
This may be the 5th time they've called your company with a problem. You may not always know. So give the customer exactly what they ask for. Think about yourself in that situation. When you're given a confusing explanation, or no explanation, you don't get off the call feeling great. When it's explained properly, it can actually minimize how major the error previously seemed.
4. Being Kept In The Loop
At my previous job, we lost our phone system. Our T1 was down and our backup was failing. It seemed that we had a faulty switch causing the problem. So with our T1 down and a fix for our backup days away (don't ask why that would be), we had no choice but to deal with no phones.
I was constantly on the phone with our provider checking in on any progress.They didn't actually oversee the T1 so they could only pass to me what they were updated with themselves. This all happened on a Friday, and before I left for the weekend, I asked the gentlemen from support if he could provide me an update before Monday.
I explained to him how if we were still looking at the outage for Monday morning, it would be a disaster. I needed to come in Monday prepared and with some ideas for a work around.
This employee didn't just e-mail me once before Monday, he e-mailed me a total of 6 times throughout the weekend!! He kept me informed every time he heard something. His last e-mail being Sunday that everything was back up.
I can't tell you how refreshing it is when a support rep like that actually gets back to you, or does what they say they will. Follow through is seriously lacking in the majority of customer support departments I've dealt with as a customer. It means the world to your customer when you update them on outages, resolving problems, or check in to see a fix held up.
As a customer, I've learned that these 4 tips make a huge difference when dealing with customer's. I've dealt with customer service reps who employed these tactics and I found myself in a better mood having talked to them. It can always go the other way.
Your attitude towards customer's calling in frustrating situations can turn their mood around and earn their loyalty.
It's very simple. Remember what your mother taught you: Treat others the way you want to be treated.