The basics of customer service are very simple. Provide the product or service that they are demanding, however there is always much more to it. Hiring the right staff and treating them right will always help as if they’re happy it will always show when they deal with customers. Good customer service is required more now than ever especially with the ever growing competition.

Improving Customer Service

Word of mouth still very much exists even in the era of technology and can make or break a business. People who receive fantastic customer service will always shout about it to their friends and family. Providing great customer service can be the main reason a customer returns even if your more expensive or further afield then competitors, remember it’s not always just the price of your products or services. It can be your experience, advice, recommendation or even just the friendly atmosphere. It’s always a combination and treat customers how you’d want to be treated! 

Here are a few tips to remember when dealing with your customer whether it is in store or online these will come in handy:

Greet.

Be sure to greet every customer that comes through your doors, It shows a nice gesture from you or your staff and lets them know there is someone to go to if they need help. Always be polite, smile and try and remember regular customer’s names to add that personal touch, make them feel more of a friend than a customer. Once you greet them continue with the task you were doing, never linger and follow them round the store. If you seem them struggling with something or taking a long time looking at a certain product feel free to ask if they need any assistance, some people don’t like to bother you even if they do need help.

Listen.

If you start talking to a customer whether it be a specific problem they are having or just a general chat always listen properly, be authentic and not fake but of course throw in a fake laugh here or there if they are telling a joke and you don’t find it funny, be sure it’s believable though! Make sure your body language is open and inviting, don’t shrug your shoulders or cross your arms, you might be helping the customer out fine but your body language might show you don’t care. Customers may have a lot of questions so be patient and take your time to answer them all. When they talk to you make sure you listen to everything they say, empathize with the customer and ask questions about anything you are unsure about what they’ve said. You can even try and anticipate their needs from what they are telling you even if it’s something else from what they’ve come in for they might need more than they think.

An example in a pet store would be

Customer: “My dog is getting very overweight and I think I might need a new dog food”
Staff: “Let me show you our dog food section”

A typical but ok response but a much better response would be:

Staff: “Ok what food are you feeding your dog at the moment? Are you feeding many treats or other food? How often does he get exercise?”

Then after: “This is the food I’d recommend its low in fat and should help your dog lose a bit of weight”. To go the extra mile you could offer a sample if available and if the dog likes it then they can come back in a buy a full sized bag.

Know the Product / Service.

Make sure you are fully informed on every product or service you provide and stay up to date with new and upcoming products/services. Never say you don’t know or guess an answer to a customer, not only does it show that you are uninformed it’s also makes the customer trust you less when it comes to you offering advice. If you don’t know an answer to a question they’ve asked try and find it out, locate information you may have on the product or service, look online or pass the customer to a more knowledgeable member of staff. Try and consider their level of understanding, for example if your fixing a computer for someone or just selling one explain it to them in terms you think they will understand, there is nothing worse than leaving the customer confused and feeling stupid by having you repeat it in layman’s terms.

Timely Response.

Hopefully complaints will happen rarely but when they do be prepared. It’s common that the complaint will be with a product or service which could have been nothing to do with you. Don’t argue with the customer even if they are in the wrong. Explain your points in a calm manner and try and come to a solution. Don’t take what they say personally, people can say very silly things in the heat of the moment. Understand that you can’t please everyone and some will just try it on however always try your best to resolve the matter.

Complaints.

Whether this is in store, through an email or on the phone always make sure that the customer is never waiting too long. While using social media and email for customer relations always make sure Reponses are done as soon as possible and in a professional manner. Always act like the customer would be in front of you in person when you respond if they are not. Nothing shows you don’t care better than not responding to emails or waiting a long time for someone to answer the phone.

Feedback.

Allow customers to provide feedback, learn from mistakes and provide follow up. This can be done by allowing them to fill out a questionnaire when they leave the store or an online feedback form. Make yourself available; let the customer know that they can reach you either by coming back into store, online, email or phone if they have any questions or problems. Enjoy yourself; if you’re not then you’re in the wrong job. If you are enjoying yourself it will show in your customer service. Let them know of any upcoming deals or any launch of new products or events you are running and try and get the customer to come back again.

All these combined will make one happy customer! But be sure to take the time and make sure your staffs are implementing these steps. Training your staff in these areas will be very beneficial. Having some sort of reward system if they receive phrase or good feedback and not only reward on sales could help improve a good rate of customer service. Mystery shoppers are always a great way to see if customer service is at the level you would like and gives a great way to improve on their feedback. Before you go check out our quick customer service mistakes list below and we look forward to receiving some great customer service off you.

Mistakes

  • Following a customer round the store and lingering.
  • Limited knowledge of the product/service or equipment such as tills.
  • Shouting, Arguing and being rude
  • Carry on a conversation with a colleague while serving a customer
  • Not apologising for a problem even if it wasn’t your fault
  • Using mobile phones in front of customers and especially answering a phone when dealing with a customer (even the business phone). There is nothing more annoying and disrespectful when a member of staff picks up the phone while serving a customer.
  • Not being accessible
  • Standing by your policy no matter what and having no leniency. Every customer and situation is different.
  • Not keeping promises
  • Sending generic responses on emails or other forms of communication
  • Bad return policy
  • Long wait times