It might be the oldest rule of business: “the customer is always right.” That doesn’t mean they’re always easy to deal with. Customer service requires nuance and tact. Developing your technique is a long-term commitment, but, with the right upgrades, you can significantly improve your customer service interactions.
Making this improvement doesn’t just help if you’re in the customer-relations field. Strong service competencies are crucial in any position. Even if you aren’t officially part of the customer service team, having strong communication and problem-solving skills will help you get ahead.
Here are a few tips to get better at dealing with customers, turning even frustrating encounters into positive interactions:
Learn Everything You Can
In order to help a customer, you have to understand your own system and your own products. Following on-screen prompts or a pre-set script will get you through most routine problems. But, in order to go outside the box to solve an unusual complication, you’ll need to cultivate in-depth knowledge of the situation.
Research your company and its products. Understand your customers, and what the firm’s offerings do for them. Most importantly: ask questions. Get as much information as you can from your supervisor and from the people around you. The more details you have, the better positioned you’ll be when a customer calls with an unusual problem.
Practice Active Listening
The first step to solving a problem: figuring out what the problem is. That’s not always a simple task. Your customers might not have the vocabulary to describe the exact issue they are having. You might need to troubleshoot or coax additional information out of them in order to grapple with the underlying issue.
This process requires your active listening skills. To get the best info out of your caller, you need to ask questions, drill down, and (gently) press for more details.
Form a Connection
By the time a customer contacts the service department, they’ve probably already been dealing with their issue for some time. You have to expect some level of frustration. But even if the customer starts off the interaction in an agitated state, your job is to calm them down and instill confidence in your ability to solve the problem.
To do this, you need to form a connection. Sympathize with the caller and let them know you have their back. And whatever you do, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm and upbeat, even during tense encounters.
Become an Advocate
Make sure you stay on the customer’s side. After all, you both have identical missions: to solve their problem. Continuously communicate that fact and position yourself as their advocate.
Use words like “we” and “us.” Keep them informed as to the steps you’re taking to solve their issue. If you can’t fix the problem, direct them to someone who can take further action.
Talk to the People Around You
Your coworkers are a great resource. By sharing war stories, by hearing details of tough calls and how your team members dealt with the situation, you get better at your job. At the same time, you can spread some of your hard-earned wisdom to your colleagues. This process allows everyone to improve, creating a more pleasant, and more satisfying, experience for every customer who calls.
Once you develop strong customer service skills, you can apply them in almost any job. The key is to find the perfect position for you. A top-flight recruiting firm, like SmartTalent, can help. They can place you in the ideal situation to utilize your skills and advance your career.
Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.