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10 Rules for Great Customer Service
Negative buying experiences are almost always linked to shoddy customer service. Even though most businesses claim that they put people first, it's rare to find really good customer support. However, customer service isn’t extinct, and providing it isn’t too difficult if you and your employees follow 10 basic rules.
1. Commit to quality service.
Everyone in the company needs to be devoted to creating a positive experience for the customer. Always try to go above and beyond customer expectations.
2. Know your products and services.
Convey an articulate and in-depth knowledge of products and services to win customer trust and confidence.
3. Know your customers.
Try to anticipate the types of questions that customers will ask. Update and amend your online FAQ page frequently. Try to learn everything you can about your customers in order to tailor your service approach to their needs and buying habits. Talk to customers about their experience with your company, and listen to their complaints. In this way, you can get to the root of customer dissatisfaction.
4. Treat people with courtesy and respect.
Remember that every time you, your employees and your colleagues make contact with a customer – whether it’s by email, phone, written correspondence, or a face-to-face – the interaction leaves an impression with that customer. Use conciliatory phrases – "Sorry to keep you waiting," "Thanks for your order," "You’re welcome," and "It’s been a pleasure helping you" – to demonstrate not only your commitment to customer satisfaction but your dedication to courtesy.
5. Never argue with a customer.
You know very well that the customer isn’t always right. However, it is important that you do not focus on the missteps of a particular situation; instead, concentrate on how to fix it. Research shows that seven out of 10 customers will do business with a company again if that business resolves a complaint in their favour.
6. Don’t leave customers in limbo.
Repairs, call backs, and emails need to be handled with a sense of urgency. Customers want immediate resolution, and if you can give it to them, you will probably win their repeat business.
7. Always provide what you promise.
Fail to do this and you’ll lose both credibility and customers. If you guarantee a quote within 24 hours, get the quote out in a day or less. If and when you neglect to make good on your promise, apologise to the customer and offer some type of compensation, such as a discount or free delivery. Overall, only make promises that you are confident you and your business can keep.
8. Assume that your customers tell the truth.
Even though it may appear that a minority of customers lie to manipulate a situation to their advantage, it is to your advantage to give them the benefit of the doubt. The majority of customers don’t like to complain; in fact, they’ll go out of their way – perhaps all the way to a competitor – to avoid it. If you hear unhappy rumblings from your customers, take their complaints to heart and do your best to appease their dissatisfaction.
9. Focus on making customers – not on sales.
Salespeople, especially those who get paid on commission, sometimes focus on the volume instead of on the quality of the sale. Remember that to keep a customer’s business is more important than to close a sale. Research shows that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Moreover, happy customers are the best and most effective way to find new customers.
10. Make it easy to buy.
The buying experience in your store, on your website, or through your catalogue should be as easy as possible. Eliminate unnecessary paperwork and forms, help people to find what they need, explain how products work, and do whatever else you can to facilitate transactions.
Please be aware that all of the views expressed in this Blog are purely the personal views of the authors and commentators (including those working for AIB as members of the AIB website team or in any other capacity) and are based on their personal experiences and knowledge at the time of writing.
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