What should you expect from great customer service?

You should never underestimate the importance of customer satisfaction. Excellent customer service encourages the clients to revisit your service or product as well as recommending you to their peers.  There are many factors contributing to your business’s success and customer gratification is a vital part.

We’ve all spoken to “that” customer service advisor and practically ended up apologising for disturbing them due to their sullen, disinterested and sometimes rude manner.

As a customer service advisor, the voice at the end of the phone – your client/customer – is a person…each call is a different person with a different problem, wanting their own unique solution and if you are a customer service advisor your job is to serve each customer in an individual way to the best of your ability.

Answer the phone with a smile

No, they can’t see you but they CAN “hear” that smile. Have you noticed that when you are smiling you sit up straighter, your voice is clearer, you feel BETTER and if you feel better your customer will feel good and cared for and will come off the phone with a positive feeling about the company.

Always use positive language

When you speak with a positive tone even disappointing news can be received in a more positive way. Avoid focusing on what can’t be done and focus on what you can do. For example, somebody waiting for an appointment in a diary, if they are told “unfortunately, we do not have any appointments until next week” you have highlighted the delay until their appointment. Replace this with “yes, we have appointments, we can book you in next week”. Keep your language positive, helpful and supportive.

Match your client/customer

If you have a quietly spoken, hesitant customer calling you, you will frighten them off if you are loud, brash and trying to race through the call. Match their tone, speed and volume – speak slowly and clearly for them and slow the pace down! Likewise, if you have someone who’s boisterous and booming, there is no point in you practically whispering on your end of the line…they will speak over you and your customer ‘service’ will be lost.

There are a couple of instances where you DON’T match…if they are shouting, if they are aggressive. If this happens you should slow the pace down. Listen, let them rant and then ask them the question “what would you like me to do for you?”, very often this stops the aggressive client in his tracks, you should feel them begin to calm as they realise you genuinely do want to help them, very often you will find the client will apologise for their aggression and at that point you can get onto a level of good, calm communication and move forward with their issue.

Building upon the above points, the following list may help when it comes to giving great customer service:

Communicate clearly – so the relevant information comes across loud and clear. Can the person at the other end of the phone hear you, are you mumbling? Speak clearly.

Understand – listen to the client and make every attempt to understand the outcome they are hoping for.

Smile – they can’t see you but a smile can be ‘heard’ and ‘sensed’.

Tone – the tone of your voice will help you to communicate – it’s not necessarily what you say but how you say it.

Outstanding – Always endeavour to go the extra mile for the client, providing them with outstanding customer service.

Match – match your clients tone and speed of conversation.

Empathy – having empathy within the customer service setting gives your client the confidence that you understand their feelings and why they are upset or feel the way they do, you are able to “walk in their shoes”.

Respond – do this quickly, if the phone rings, pick up within 3 rings, it will get the call off to a good start, the client will be happy they have not been left hanging for an age waiting for someone to speak to them.

Service – Give the very best service to each customer, no matter what the issue. Leave them wanting to come back for more.

Extra mile – go the extra mile! Your client will appreciate the extra help you are giving them, the end result will be happy client and if you have a happy client not only will they come back but they will pass the word around about the great customer service they have received.

Resolution – resolve any issues the client may have in the best way you can find. If you promise to call them back, then do so, even if you don’t have an immediate answer. If you promised them a call-back then let them know what stage their issue is at as they will appreciate being kept informed and no matter how minor the issue, let them think theirs is at the top of your list and treat it with the same urgency as all other problems.

Valued – Make your clients feel valued, remember the small things about your clients. Maybe make a small note on their client record, i.e. last time we spoke client was due for an operation….then when you speak to them next, ask them how they are feeling now, have they recovered well, etc. They will feel valued and cared for…there is of course a line that you should be careful not to cross over, there’s a big difference between showing an interest and being intrusive.

Instinct – if you are in customer service it is because hopefully you are a “people person” and therefore can quickly tune in to the person on the phone, their manner, their tone and their volume and use your skills positively towards a resolution.

Care – hopefully it goes without saying that you care about your client and you care about your company and want the relationship between the two to be as harmonious as it possibly can be.

Exceed – Last but not least – EXCEED YOUR CLIENTS EXPECTATIONS – do the unexpected, maybe an email to confirm your last conversation, perhaps a call to ensure they are happy with the outcome of a problem, but let them know…they are not a number…you do care and remember after-care is just as, if not more, important than the sale/the solving of the issue etc. It is the icing on the customer service cake!

Lynn Dumbarton
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Lynn Dumbarton

After spending many years in bookkeeping and associated roles, Lynn decided to embark on training in a much broader range of office skills culminating in her becoming Director and Manager of Smart Office Services who offer and deliver a complete range of administrative services from diary and email management to customer service provided professionally whilst maintaining your business ethics. Although remote, Lynn becomes part of your business, working closely with you, managing the tasks you don’t have time for. Putting the heart of your business in the heart of her business, supporting you above and beyond your expectations - it’s not our job it’s Lynn's passion.