The late Steve Jobs once said: “Get closer than ever to your customers… so close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.”
Jobs intuitively grasped that customer service is so much more than providing assistance and advice to people who buy or use our products.
It is also an opportunity for up-selling (persuading them to buy something extra, or a more expensive variant of what they were initially seeking), and cross-selling (selling a different product or service to an existing customer).
Businesses that want to grow ignore this opportunity at their peril. Properly motivated customer service representatives are agents of sales closure; of increasing the loyalty and lifecycle of clients; and of business growth.
1. Minimise ‘Hold’ Times
Waiting for customer service is the bane of the contemporary consumer. It is enough to put them off entirely and form a negative opinion about your business without ever having engaged with you.
A modern office phone system that is tailored to the needs of your business can help immensely in efficiently connecting the client with a customer service representative.
PBX and VOIP systems can facilitate the creation of inbound calling systems that redirect calls to an available employee if the primary customer service agent is busy on a call.
This in itself is reason enough to invest in a modern business phone system, and with all their other benefits, including significant call cost reductions, they are the ultimate win-win that keeps on winning for 21st-century businesses.
2. Know When to Make Your Move
Not every engagement with a customer is an opportunity for cross-selling and/or up-selling. There are times when to paraphrase the words of network marketing guru Dr. Ivan Misner, it’s more about farming and cultivation than about hunting.
The most obvious rule to adhere to is that you don’t try to up-sell or cross-sell to a client who is angry or upset. Trying to sell to a customer who is aggrieved with your product or service will only exacerbate their mood, and not only will you have damaged an individual customer relationship, but also the reputation of your company.
3. Mind Your Language
The language your customer service reps use when providing assistance to customers will go a long way to creating a lasting impression, for good or ill, about your business.
That is why it is vital that your reps adopt a professional, consistent and uniform mode when addressing customers. It’s generally best to adopt the collective “We” when referring to your business, rather than “I”, which indicates that you are personally taking responsibility for a situation.
Of course, the latter should only be done when it is indeed the case that you are taking personal responsibility. Language is nuanced, and customers do not appreciate it when it is used incorrectly: this confounds the customer experience.
The rep should also work hard to convey a sense that the customer is valued and appreciated. Use of the word “value” in conversations with clients really does go far in creating a positive impression in the customer’s mind.
4. Handwritten Appreciation
Positive business-client experiences can be effectively copper-fasted through adhering to bygone traditions, such as sending a handwritten thank-you or follow-up note or card via the post to your customers. These cannot but succeed in impressing the client, and they are also a great opportunity to send them, perhaps, a promotional voucher that they can use against a purchase on their next visit to your store or business.
5. Automate Ongoing Client Communications
The workload of a busy customer service representative can be considerably alleviated through automated processes which will periodically keep all of your customers up to speed with your organisation and notified about any offers on products or services.
For instance, the customer who purchases a specific product can be provided with a suite of timed emails that will educate the client on the product and familiarise them with all the various aspects of the product or service.
Come back to the blog for more customer service tips