How you deal with customer service can make or break your business. Even a single customer on the receiving end of bad service can damage your reputation. The best option is to give excellent service across the board.
Good customer service communication isn’t as complicated as it might sound, especially if you follow a few simple rules. When you take the time to interact with your customers and deal with any questions in a positive way, you’ll enjoy increased customer loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.
As good customer service techniques have such a dramatic effect on your business’ reputation and success, it’s one of the first things you should learn about when growing a business.
We’ve outlined the eight golden rules of great customer service communication below so you’ll be able to implement them easily.
1. Outline Your Communication Times
There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than not being able to reach a business when they need to. Yet everyone can appreciate that business’s don’t usually operate around the clock.
By clearly outlining the times when your business is available to contact, customers will adjust their expectations accordingly. This also extends to email response times and callbacks. Be clear about how long a customer can expect to wait for you to get back to them about their query.
We’ve all had that experience when we’re talking but know the person isn’t listening. One of the main keys to outstanding customer service is to listen and pay attention to what your customer is saying.
Even if a complaint or issue is difficult to solve, when you proactively listen, you’ll show the customer that you’ve understood them and will work hard to rectify it. Often, unhappy customers will forgive even large mistakes if they can see that you’ve listened and taken their complaint onboard.
One way to show you’ve listened is to use similar language to them and repeat their problem to them along with how you will solve it.
3. Use Positive Language
Choosing to use positive language over negative language is a simple yet effective way to make customers feel better about their experience with you.
There will be times when you cannot provide the customer with exactly what they’re looking for but you can use positive language to help them. If you can’t help the customer directly, proactively connect them to someone who can and keep the conversation helpful and positive.
In written communication, always check the tone from the customer’s perspective. If the communication is conveying something negative, such as an out of stock item, positively suggest alternatives or easy options for a refund.
4. Speak in Their Language
Chances are, your customers won’t know as much about your business, products or industry as you do. When you use lingo and jargon that customers don’t understand, you’re at risk of alienating and irritating them. You never want your customers to feel stupid or inferior.
This can be a risk in technical and legal industries but getting the right balance is crucial in allowing customers to feel comfortable talking to you. As much as you don’t want to use complicated terms, you also don’t want to patronize your customers.
The key to speaking in your customer’s language is to know who your customers are and clear ways in which to describe products, services, or solutions.
5. Use a Consistent Brand Tone
Your customers will make assumptions about your business based on industry and branding. Creating and sticking to a brand tone allows you to stay consistent and give customers what they are expecting.
When your customer service tone is at odds with your business, it creates a contrast that will make customers lose trust in your company.
An example of this would be a law firm that used casual and colloquial language in some of its customer service communications. By using very informal language in an industry that is typically formal and serious, customers will feel confused and see it as unprofessional.
This is in contrast to a business that suits informality more, like a skate shop or an entertainment company.
6. Add a Personal Touch
If you have a small business, returning customers or account holders, you can often make your customers feel valued by adding a personal touch. This could be anything from simply remembering their name to asking about their families.
Remembering the last conversation you had with a customer and referring to it is a powerful way to make customers feel cherished.
In certain industries, personal touches could even be sending cards thanking them for doing business with you. A conveyancer could send flowers on completion date or even a Christmas card for the customer’s first Christmas in their new home.
Even large companies reap huge benefits from keeping things personal. By using a customer communication management system, your customers can update personal preferences and control the services and communication they receive from you. This will make customers feel individually respected.
7. Manage Customer’s Expectations
Overpromising and under-delivering is a surefire way to lose customers. It’s far better to accurately and honestly describe what you will do for them or underpromise and over-deliver.
Managing the expectations of a customer comes in many forms. This could be giving them a timeframe for a service, an honest estimation of cost or letting them know how their issue will be resolved.
When your customer understands the process, they will be far happier even in difficult situations. Providing updates is a good way to manage a customer’s expectations and keep them in the loop.
8. Don’t Be Pushy
Few people like to be pressurized into something, even if it’s a service they want. Good customer service is providing a customer with all the information they need, being helpful, and giving them control over their own decisions.
Being pushy will most likely intimidate customers and lose your business. Keep communication upbeat and cooperative.
Exceed at Customer Service Communication and Retain Your Customers
When you follow these rules for better communication, you’ll be showing your customers that you value them. By taking the time to listen to their queries and provide positive responses, customer loyalty will improve.
To take control of your customer service and provide better communications, request a demo of our customer service communication software. By streamlining your communications and offering personal preferences, you’ll be on track to offering excellent customer service.