Past the Front Line: Customer Service Skills Everyone Needs
Customer service is everyone’s responsibility
We’ve all been there. We need help with something at a store, and we ask an employee who stares at us blankly, not understanding why we’re asking them, after all, it’s not their department. Why would someone in apparel know anything about an electronic? They may try their best to answer, but unless they love electronics in their downtime, they’re not going to be able to help us much.
But that’s where they’re different from a lot of companies – they try to help us. They don’t tell us it’s not their department and turn their back on us. The reason for this is they’re customer focused. They’re trained to handle customers, and that’s what they do. If they’re unable to help, they will be kind about it and find someone with more knowledge of what we’re asking.
Why are we talking about retail when it has nothing to do with the businesses we serve? Because it does have something to do with the businesses we work with – none of our companies would exist without customers. Customers are our lifeblood, and every member of your staff should know how to help and handle customer service.
Customers want to be respected
They know their worth to your business, and they don’t care who you are in the hierarchy of your company. Some customers believe the higher you are in the company, the better you should treat customers, and that’s true. The higher up the chain we go, the more a person should lead by example.
A few ways you can respect them is by listening to what they say. Don’t interrupt and don’t talk over them. If you’re meeting face-to-face, let them know you’re present in the interaction by looking at them when you speak, rather than something else that has your attention more. Lastly, use their name. Know their name. Don’t go searching through documents to find it when you’re talking to them. Here are a few more things you can do to respect your customers:
- Be attentive to their needs. To them, their need is paramount, and they expect it to be just as important to you. If you tell them you will follow up with them, make sure you’re the one following up, and you actually follow up with them. Failing to do so will upset them. Following through will delight them.
- Stay upbeat and partner with them. A customer loves feeling like their problem is your problem too, which it is. They’re having an issue your company can solve, so their problem becomes your problem. You have solutions they need, that’s why they’re contacting you. Use terms like “we” and “us” to make them feel like they’re part of your team and that you’re working together to resolve their issues.
- Be humorous. There’s little else like humor to put someone instantly at ease. When you joke with them, it helps take their mind off the issue at hand and feel a bit more confident in your abilities. You don’t appear stressed, so they feel like you encounter this type of issue regularly and you will be able to resolve it.
- Be patient with them. The issue may have a solution that seems like common sense to you, but they don’t work in your field, so it’s not always going to be common sense to them. They may ask you a ton of questions or have you repeat yourself. Never get impatient with a customer. Take a breath if you need to, and explain as many times as it takes for them to get the message.
- Admit you don’t know. We all hate to tell a customer we don’t know something. But they will be happier that, even though we didn’t know the answer, we got them in contact with someone who did. This shows that you value their time and you didn’t waste it by blundering through something you had no clue about.
- Know your products and services. A way to avoid admitting you don’t know is to know what you’re working with. Know your products inside and out. Know what your services do and don’t do. When you know these answers, you’re able to answer customers’ questions from a place of knowledge.
All of this helps foster better customer service. When the customer feels understood and taken care of, they’re more apt to spread the message and let others know of their experience. That’s where CrewHu comes in. When our new review feature gets feedback from a customer, it will automatically invite them to leave a review of your company on Google!