What is customer services? - Part I
Written by Maggie, Account Manager
Customer service begins with the first contact with any employee no matter their rank or position – and never ends. The first contact represents the window of your shop, metaphorically speaking, and their attitude will determine whether that customer walks through your door, or carries on window shopping and entering another store. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Keep your greeting pleasant but professional and simple. Long winded introductions can be quite off-putting and in reality, no one really listens to them anyway.
It is important to be able to interact with your customers and build up a good rapport. This is not always easy, and many skills are required. Always give your name and obtain that of your customers – and use it. This removes the impersonal aspect of a call and helps to put the customer at ease. It is a person on the other end of the call – not just a disembodied voice.
Have a sense of humour without being disrespectful. Be patient and compassionate. Walk in your customers' shoes. We’ve all been on the wrong side of poor customer service. Remembering how it felt and your thoughts on how it could have been better a serve as a good example of how not to do it. Use your experiences, good and bad. Pass on the good and avoid the bad. Your customers must be able to trust and have confidence in you. There is nothing nicer than anything answering a call to hear someone say ‘oh I’m so glad it’s you
Harder skills are needed in a sales environment, the ability to sell is at the top of the list. Even this is subdivided into many areas, which combine to make a successful outcome. Fact-finding involves asking the right questions, analysing the answers and matching the product to the need or not. Never sell something that is unnecessary. You will lose the trust and your integrity will be in question. Your fact-finding may reveal that an additional product or service would be beneficial. Always include it in the full solution not added on at the end, but always ask if there is anything else before ending the call. Try to adjust to the personality and level of understanding of the customer, never assuming that they understand and check for clarity during your conversation. It is ok to ask for the business. Summarise the sale and the cost and close the sale.
Competition is fierce. To grow your business you need to attract new business. This can be sometimes achieved via discounts and special offers which can promote a buying frenzy. New business is the jam on your bread and butter. The bread and butter is steady repeat business from your loyal customers. Keeping your new customers can be achieved with something as simple as a regular contact – the personal touch. Something that could just tip the sale in your favour.