Top tips for great customer service

A business can be built on the level of customer service it provides. While a customer, or client, may initially be attracted by value for money or unique product offering, there will be no loyalty without great customer service from a team.

But great customer service isn’t just about what happens when interactions occur between staff and customers, but also the context of that. Someone who has a negative image of a product, such as, it was broken easily, or they had a bad experience, waiting for a slow elevator to take them to your business, their perception of your customer service will be worse than if the elevator had been efficient, or the product not faulty.

While you can’t control every aspect, doing your best to give an overall good impression of your business will work miracles for how your business is perceived. For example, always having a clean and tidy office or store, ensuring products are of the highest quality and making things as easy as possible for the customer will all go a long way to fostering customer loyalty.

Below are my top tips for customer service:

1. Answer the phone

If you have a phone, it must be answered. How many times would you ring a business before giving up and moving on to one of their competitors?

Using tools such as call routing or a live call answering service is a great way to ensure that your customers feel as though you are always on call for them, in today’s world of instant gratification this is expected.

If you do miss a call, ring them back as soon as possible. Their business should be top priority to you at that moment and that is the impression they need to have.

2. Openness and honesty

Building a relationship can be hard work, some customers you may immediately click with and others you may not. But always being open, honest and polite to a customer, no matter if you like them on a personal level or not, is key to building loyalty. If there is a problem, or a mistake has been made, be honest about it. Ensure you have a solution available for them and apologise.

Most people will understand that mistakes are made and a long as it doesn’t happen twice and a satisfactory solution can be found, it shouldn’t damage the relationship beyond repair.

Foster this environment in your own workplace by always being open and honest with employees and regularly giving feedback, both negative and positive.

3. Exceed expectations

Think about what a customer expects from your business and always go that one step further, it doesn’t have to be a big step, but just something thoughtful. This could be as simple as remembering someone’s name, or personal details they may share with you that you can ask them about next time.

People like to know that someone is paying attention to them and cares enough to ask. Or, if you prefer, do something you know your competitors aren’t. For example, someone who sells artworks could give customers a wall hook when delivering the painting, something so small can make a large difference to a customer’s perception of your business.

4. Ensure quality

Being able to see your business from a customer’s perspective is an invaluable tool, if you can’t understand your customer and their requirements how will you give them the service they crave?

You can assist your team with their customer service by ensuring they are always up-to-date with product and business information. As a customer there is nothing more annoying than having to wait on hold while the customer service representative asks a team leader or manager about a product or service on offer.

Great customer service can’t be faked, you must have a dedicated team who truly believe in what they are doing every day and who love to make other’s happy, without this your business will lose sales.

- Kim Irvine, General Manager of Zintel. Zintel delivers call tracking solutions that help businesses monitor, optimise and measure both online and offline marketing.