In today’s fast paced world customers need access to information in a timely and efficient manner more than they ever have before.
Speed is a priority, but giving your customers world class customer service should never take a back seat. Providing customer service can be done in person, over the phone, or even online, but regardless of the medium being used customers are able to sense certain things about the individual who is assisting them. Tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, clarity, and confidence are just some of the non-negotiable elements that make up the customer service experience. For example, if you were to call me to get your checking account balance and I was distracted over some disappointing news that I had received earlier that left me in a foul mood, unable to smile, and I was eager to get you off the phone as soon as possible, do you think this would have an impact on the customer care that I am supposed to be providing for you? Would you be able to detect my rotten attitude even though you are unable to physically see me? Of course you would!
Now in the above example we discussed customer service during a phone call, but would this example have been any different if you were a live teller and your customer was visiting you at the bank you work at? Probably not. It’s easy to think that if you were helping a live person, that you would be more conscious of the person looking right at you. This is not always the case. If you let the personal problems that you are struggling with interfere with the efficient and courteous service that the customer is due, you risk using a negative tone of voice, failing to smile, and displaying an overall image that says “I can’t wait until your gone.” Now, what does that say about your company? Does that give your customer confidence and a feeling of pride when they purchase your company’s product or service? If you are the one providing the service, your responsibility should be to take “ownership” of the situation at hand while assisting your client. So what does taking “ownership” mean? It means that if I am an auto mechanic and my responsibility is to diagnose and repair a problem with your automobile’s emissions control system, I will treat your car as if it is my own. In other words, if you were working on your own car, you would more than likely be extremely careful not to damage anything and make sure the job gets done right the first time. If you do damage something or the car doesn’t get repaired properly you are going to be out even more time and money. We need to keep this in mind when we are helping our customers and representing the companies that we work for. Remember the golden rule, treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Another key component in providing the ultimate customer service experience is possessing confidence. When I ask the clerk at my local hardware store for advice on building a shed, I want to know that the clerk knows what he is talking about. If he stutters or seems unsure of the proper procedures, I’m going to question his knowledge and experience in this area. The best cure for this is preparation which involves getting the training we need and having our procedures and instructions organized and easily accessible. Having confidence is vital especially when helping irate customers. Customers who are unhappy need reassurance that their issues are well understood and that the representative knows exactly what needs to be done in order to get the problem resolved once and for all. We should also remember to give proper time expectancies to customers so that they know when to expect their request to be completed. For example, if a customer calls and simply requests that you mail them some information about a particular product that your company offers, make sure you give them a time frame of when they can expect to receive the mailing. If unsure of how much time it will actually take, it never hurts to add a little extra time when giving a time expectancy. Remember, it is better to give the customer a longer time expectation than to have a customer call back wondering why their request has not been processed yet. In closing, if we are confident in our abilities to serve our customers, we can be assured that those same customers will not only find confidence in us, but also your entire organization as a whole.