It’s easy to sometimes not give customer service the bandwidth it deserves. As long as you and your staff are polite and friendly to customers then surely that’s it, right?
Unfortunately this type of thinking underestimates its critical importance to your small business. Get the customer experience right, and you’ll have happy customers. Happy customers are loyal customers, who’ll then give you some free marketing in the form of referrals. Bad customer service on the other hand results in a lack of repeat business, bad reviews and a trashed reputation.
So, given its importance, what customer service skills should you and your staff learn?
At its core, customer service is about making sure your customers feel valued, treated fairly and appreciated every time they interact with your small business. The skills that help you do that are known as interpersonal or people skills. They include:
- Listening: You should always listen carefully to the customer to know exactly what they need and how you can help them. Never interrupt and always ask clarifying questions if you are confused.
- Communication (written and verbal): It is essential that you can communicate clearly so customers know what they are getting and what to expect. In verbal interactions, always try to use positive language. In emails or other written communications, good spelling and grammar is a non-negotiable.
- Empathy: You need to learn how to put yourself into the customer’s shoes. This goes hand-in-hand with good listening skills.
- Calmness: Staying calm when confronted with a visibly angry customer is a vital customer service skill. It stops you saying anything inappropriate and helps tone down the conversation.
- Taking responsibility: Apologising when something does go wrong (even if it’s not your fault) goes a long way to smoothing any situation.
Focusing on these skills will go a long way to ensuring that the customers of your small business feel heard and that their needs are satisfied.
If you struggle with written communications, then it is a good idea to have template responses that cover a variety of situations.
Working with an agency like Hunter & Scribe will ensure that these corporate communications are always well written, reflect your brand positively, and demonstrate the best in customer service techniques.