High-quality customer service is the foundation of any successful business. In today’s ever-changing market, smart businesses understand that consumers have virtually limitless choices of who to do business with. Customer service is one of the best ways for businesses to differentiate themselves. As the marketplace has evolved so have consumer expectations of what constitutes good service. Below are four customer service skills that are essential to modern businesses.
Having excellent communication skills has always been a staple of good customer service, but today’s employees must also be well-versed in a number of different forms of communication. They need to be able to move seamlessly from dealing with customers in person, on the phone, and online. What works when you’re talking to a customer face-to-face won’t necessarily work on the phone or email when you don’t have the benefit of reading body language. Improve your communication by focusing on improving these skills:
- Listen: No one likes to be interrupted. Make sure you are listening to what the customer has to say instead of looking for an opening to make your point. Listening helps you get to the root of the customer’s problem. This knowledge gives you the ability to solve those problems quickly.
- Maintain eye contact: Maintaining eye contact goes hand in hand with listening. There aren’t many things more irritating than someone looking at a text or seeming disinterested in what you have to say while you are speaking with them. Stay engaged with the customer at all times to avoid frustrating them.
- Show empathy: Many times customers are looking for someone to express understanding to their situation and offer to help rectify it. Sometimes showing empathy can be difficult, but it is an essential part of good communication.
- Present a clear message: Whether speaking in person, on the phone, in an email, or online, it’s important that your message is well thought out and easy to understand. This will help customers avoid confusion. Additionally, you should always ask follow-up questions to make sure the message the customer received was the message you intended to send
2. Conflict Resolution
As hard as you try, not all of your customers are going to leave your business happy. Training your employees to deal with conflict is a must. At Podium, we have developed a four-step process that has proven helpful to businesses responding to negative comments. The process is outlined below.
- Apologize: It’s amazing how far the words “I’m sorry” can go with your customers. Apologizing shows your customers that you are listening to them and recognize when you’ve done something wrong.
- Stay calm: Hearing criticism about your business is hard, but don’t let it make you mad. We recommend the person responding have some distance from the situation. Doing so will ensure that cooler heads prevail.
- Offer a solution: Apologizing to your customers is great, but what they really want is a solution to their problem. You should include a detailed plan of action to remediate the problem as part of your response.
- Escalate when necessary: Frontline employees can’t solve every problem. They should quickly identify if they can help or not and escalate to their manager when necessary. However, it’s important to empower your employees with the tools to solve many problems without escalation.
3. Time Management
Typically customers want to get in and out of your business as quickly as possible. To ensure this happens, train your employees to focus on providing fast and helpful service. Doing so will create happy customers that will continue to frequent your business.
In simple terms, resourceful employees are focused and get the job done. If they don’t know how to do something, they take the initiative to learn. Resourceful employees are also highly adaptable. Having the ability to adapt comes in handy when dealing with unhappy customers. When times get tough, these employees will rise to the occasion rather than shrink under pressure.
Highlight customer service skills with Podium
Customer service is a key differentiator and should be highlighted. This is accomplished by proactively seeking customer feedback in the form of online reviews. The best way for businesses to collect online reviews is to implement an online review management platform that streamlines the review invitation process. To learn more, request a demo to see how Podium can help you significantly increase the number of online reviews collected on sites like Google and Facebook.