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The Keys to Stellar Customer Service

January 08, 2015
improving-customer-service

All of us have experienced both sides of the spectrum when it comes to customer service, from stellar to very poor. There are many successful brands out there that know the value of customer service and spend millions of dollars training the right people, and these are the brands that really shine.

Customer service has changed drastically over the years, and so has the reach of jaded consumers. In 2015, the first place that angry customers will go after a bad customer service experience is to the internet to complain.

This poses a much larger risk in this day and age because now their negative comments will be seen by a much larger audience. The internet has become a mega phone for angry consumers. This is exactly why customer service is more important now than it has ever been.

Here are some interesting statistics about customer service, which just go to show how crucial it really is. (Source)

  • 78% of consumers have left a transaction because of a poor service experience
  • Most businesses only hear from 4% of their dissatisfied customers
  • Loyal customers are worth up to 10x their first purchase
  • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for just 1 unresolved bad experience
  • Negative word of mouth reaches twice as many people as positive word of mouth
  • It is 6-7 times more expensive to obtain a new customer as it is to keep a current customer
  • 3 out of 5 Americans would be willing to try a new brand just to have a better service experience
  • 7 out of 10 Americans said they would spend more with companies that have excellent customer service
  • 91% of dissatisfied customers will not do business with a brand again when given a choice!

The Right People

Having the right people in place to deal with your customers in any situation should be a priority, especially when it comes to dealing with angry customers. It takes a special type of person to be able to calm down an irate customer who feels like they have been wronged. An upbeat personality with a positive outlook and calming voice can make a world of difference when dealing with them.

Anyone can deal with the happy customers that are just looking for advice or guidance, but things can change quickly when something goes wrong. This is why all customer service training should have a heavier focus on communication skills specifically for dealing with dissatisfied customers.

Skills

Communication skills are key in these touchy kinds of situations. This is why when you are hiring for customer service positions, you need to look for the individuals with the best communication skills. In addition to hiring the proper people, your training program should also be focused on continued development of your teams communication skills.

Another factor that is very important when dealing with upset customers is patience. The worst thing that could happen during a negative customer service call is the rep losing their temper and getting short with an already irritated customer. Patience is a required virtue when you are trying to calm someone down, and calming the customer down is necessary in order to listen so you can find an acceptable resolution.

Tips

  • Names

To help make a better connection and ensure the customer that you are listening, use their name during the conversation. Using names can help a customer feel confident and relaxed because it is the first step towards creating a personal connection. Just be sure not to overdo it by saying their name every time you speak to them during the conversation. The most important times to use their name is at the beginning of the call, and once again at the end.

  • Smile

Smiling can make a world of difference to help you stay in a positive mindset. Even if it is just over the phone, having a smile on your face will have an impact on your demeanor in many situations.

  • Listen

This is one of the most important factors, LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS! Actually take in what they are saying and think about it for a second before responding. Many people will be half listening, while trying to think of their response before the customer is even done talking. Do not do this! Listen to everything they have to say before responding. Cutting off your customer and interrupting them will only make a bad situation worse.

  • Repeat

After you hear the customers concerns, you should repeat your understanding of the situation back to them. This helps to make sure that you are on the same page with them before looking into a solution.

  • Empathize/Apologize

Let the customer know that you understand why they are upset, and that you would also be upset if you were in a similar situation. This reminds the customer that you are human just like them. It is also important to apologize to them after you hear their concerns, but also let them know that you will help them with a solution.

  • Solutions

This is one of the final steps into calming down an upset customer. Once you hear the problems that they are having, offering a solution that will appease them is the end goal. Taking action quickly to get the problem resolved will have a positive impact on the customer, and in most cases, will help retain them as a satisfied customer.

  • Follow Up

After you work with a customer to help resolve an issue, it is important to follow up to make sure you helped them get their problem straightened out. A follow up is another way to show the customer that you have genuine concern and did what needed to be done to fix it.

2 Comments
Kingsley on Jan 10, 2015 in 11:00pm
Hey Shawn, Thanks for such a valuable post. I agree with you that customer service is now important more than ever before, no thanks to the fact that the "internet has become a mega phone for angry consumers". And if a company/business is really bad, that single voice can gather momentum when other angry voices (based on their equally negative experience) add to it, all from the comfort of their homes/offices. No company/business wants that at all. And it doesn't matter how good your product/service is - you don't want dissatisfied and angry customers! Thankfully you not only drew attention to the problem but excellently provided very helpful tips that any business or service can use to improve their customer service. The best for me is that of "Having the right people in place to deal with customers". That's very key to successful customer service. I have had very negative situations turned around just by dealing with the right person at the support desk. And right person in this case doesn't have to be someone with authority, but someone who best implements the other tips you listed, re - calls customers by their names, smiles, listens, repeats, empathize/apologizes, and of course, proffers solutions to the customers' problems. :) Again, very valuable post. Thank for writing and sharing this on the Internet marketing social networking site - Kingged.com.
Reply
Sunday on Jan 12, 2015 in 05:52am
Hi Shawn, Stellar customer service should be the desire of many individuals and businesses. With the level of investments made to achieve great customer service, there would be increase in the acceptance and trust for a product or company. Stellar customer is virtue and it takes great skills, patience and experience to achieve this all the time. I agree that companies must train the "right" people for customer service job. This is not never to be ignored. The statistics speak volumes and I urge businesses to take proactive steps in helping training employees that would get practical knowledge in in helping create a great customer service experience! I saw this post in kingged.com where it was "kingged" or upvoted!
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