In this guest blog we have called on the expertise of customer service training provider Margaret Hartley, of Benchmark Media Services, to provide us with some helpful tips on how to keep your clients happy!
Whenever I see a company proudly displaying a ‘Customer Care Charter’ sign I have to smile – and here’s the reason why…
Now don’t get me wrong, client care and service are very high on my list of ‘must do’s’ for my company because it’s what makes people come for more training. However, when certain ‘rules’ are written down – and often quantified – it gives the customer service deliverer rather a hard time.
Here’s an example, the ‘Customer Care Charter’ states:
‘We will answer the ‘phone within three rings’ or it’s sometimes called ‘the three-ring rule.’
This is doable when there are enough staff on hand to answer phones and you aren’t busy. But there is also nothing wrong with it ringing six or more times, if you pick up and say something like: “I’m sorry to keep you waiting ABC company, you’re speaking to Charlotte, how can I help?”
It’s important that your tone of voice is warm and sincere, as this can often diffuse someone who is angry and complaining, creating an atmosphere of wanting to help.
Something else stated by the Customer Care Charter is:
‘We will respond to emails within 24 hours.’
To overcome this, some firms will set an automatically generated reply that says: “Thank you for your email, we will be investigating your request and someone will get back to you shortly.”
While this is ultimately going back to them within 24 hours, it isn’t necessarily answering your query – and is rather impersonal!
I believe that delivering excellent customer service comes down to four main areas – and these are things that can be easily implemented, for very little cost.
Make me feel important
Every person wants to feel like they are special. Here are some ideas of how this can be achieved:
- Spell the person’s name correctly (I have had the name Heartley and Hagley before). This is a very small detail, however if you can’t get this right, what chance have you got of achieving the right brief or order?
- Use their name during a conversation or email. In other words, make it personal – twice in one exchange is ideal.
- Offer to carry items out to the car, not because they are old or infirm, but because you can and want
- Don’t be over familiar and call customers ‘pet’, ‘mate’ or ‘darling’ – be respectful.
- If someone recommends you, say thank you by calling or emailing them – or send a hand-written note. In these busy days the niceties of life are often forgotten, and it shows you’re grateful.
If you receive a complaint, thank them for bringing this to your attention – let’s face it, if nobody complained, how are you ever going to get better?
Keep your promises
You can do this by following these simple steps:
- Deliver when you said you would
- Call back when you agreed – even if you haven’t got the answer
- Email back as soon as you said – even if you haven’t got the answer
- If you’re running late, let them know
- When giving a refund, do it on time – don’t make them wait.
If you’re unable to stick to what you’ve agreed – let the customer know. These tips will help you to manage the situation:
- Give the client a call and let them know as soon as you can, if something has gone wrong or is going to be late
- Choose the right form of communication depending on the situation. It is so easy to send an email, but consider picking up the phone and chatting things through
- Relay the details to colleagues – the more everyone in the company knows about what is going on, the better
- Keep your CRM up to date, so the organisations has relevant records. I love it when I ring a call centre and they say, “Do you mind if I read the notes on the system to update myself?”
A statistic reveals that ‘68% of customers stop buying from companies because of an attitude of indifference shown to them by one or more person representing the company’.
This means that EVERYONE in the firm – from the MD to the sales person, all the way through to the cleaner and delivery driver – has to agree to give good customer service.
If the person who takes the order is considerate, makes a note about which packages and items need placing in a certain area, and then the delivery man throws it off the back of the waggon without a care, all of the first person’s work has been in vain.
It’s ‘all for one and one for all’ in the customer service game, so get it right first time!