Do you run a business where you contact customers on the phone? Can customers contact you by phone? For nearly every business, the answers to the above questions are “yes”. Even in 2010 (soon to be 2011, can you believe it?), the primary way to contact potential clients is through the telephone.
For the most part, contact through phone is the main way to communicate with your customer base. Therefore, it is essential that you express yourself as courteously and as professionally as possible when you are on the phone. How else will a person you are speaking to, but not seeing you face to face, get a good impression of you?
Consider that word-of-mouth promotion is the most popular type of promotion out there. Most often, word about bad customer service spreads a lot quicker that news about good customer service. There’s nothing worse than calling up a company for assistance, only to be greeted by someone who is rude or condescending.
On About.com, Susan Ward discusses her “8 Rules For Good Customer Service”. Following these rules can literally mean the difference between your business being highly regarded and terribly represented. Rule number one, according to Ward, is simply to answer your phone. These days, there is nothing more annoying to a customer than having a “fake recorded robot” answer a call.
Be sure to not make promises that you cannot keep, she continues. Many customers get extremely agitated when a business offers something that they do not follow through on. Agitated, the customer calling back that company is bound to give a piece of his or her mind to a representative that did not even make that promise to begin with. Be sure to add credibility to your business by keeping to your commitments to your clients.
Listen to your customers, advises Ward. It is extremely frustrating for customers to explain their concerns only to have the customer service representative not pay attention to them. Be sure to listen attentively and suggest ways that the problem can be solved. Sometimes, an understanding ear is all a customer needs to calm down and feel valued.
Deal with complaints, says Ward. “No one likes hearing complaints,” she writes, “and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, ‘You can’t please all the people all the time’. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.”
These tips only cover half of Ward’s eight customer service rules. We will continue to take a look at the second half of her rules in tomorrow’s blog. Until then, be sure to uphold your company’s commitment to customer service on the phone, as well as in-person. Maintaining your business’ good reputation depends on it.