Is the customer always right? This has been the advice I’ve heard the majority of my life when getting trained to work with people in retail or service. Even if they aren’t right, how can we make them happy? Granted, there are some people who will never be happy no matter what you do to help them. Despite those hopefully few and far between individuals, there are several things we can do to provide excellent customer service that will leave the individual(s) content and hopefully coming back for more.
- Prioritize active listening and communication
Whenever possible, try not to multi-task when helping customers. Focus on the person you are trying to serve and problem solve before you go on to the next one. It’s easy to get distracted if there is a big line or multiple things are occurring at once. However, people want to feel as though they are being listened to and that they have your full attention. It’s also a lot easier to make mistakes if your attention is divided among multiple things.
2. Ask clarifying questions or repeat to confirm information
Do not pretend to know everything if you truly do not understand what they are asking. Be prepared to ask follow up questions or seek clarifying information. You do not want to get to the end of a transaction only to have missed a vital piece of knowledge that would have changed how you handled the situation completely. If needed, have the individuals write down or spell names if you are not sure because getting people’s names correct is the bare minimum of positive customer service.
3. Follow-up and Follow Through
If you say you are going to do something, then do it to the best of your abilities. I recently took a phone call at work, but was too busy to truly answer the person’s questions. I asked for their phone number and said I would call them when I had a free moment that day. I actually called them back several hours later when I had time to process their questions and give it the attention it deserved. They were so appreciative that I remembered their name and the information they told me (I had written it all down!). Additionally, it is important to follow through. Place a call to the proper people or connect them to whatever they are asking for. I have found that even if you don’t have the answer, the effort taken to find it out for them does not go unappreciated.
And then simply be a kind and empathetic person. Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what type of service and assistance you would want if you were in that situation. It’s easy to become jaded by repetitive questions or complaining customers. However, if you choose to work in customer service, try to change your mindset and focus on the primary objective: how you can help them reach their goals.
Categories: Personal Skills