Customer service is an essential part of business. When you run a company, you need to know that everyone who walks through your front door is treated just right; are they greeted? Are they served as soon as possible? Is there an easy way for them to come back and return a product for any reason?
Customers come around often, but do they stick around? And do you have enough techniques on your side to keep them coming back and back again? If you don’t, now’s the time to work on your customer service; here’s a few ideas you could possibly get started with.
Service right ahead! Make sure the customers coming to your company know where they stand!
Are You Patient Enough?
Often enough, this is for your staff’s benefit, rather than the customers, but it’s just as important. When someone comes in with a problem, the person behind the counter needs to have a certain patience and understanding about them, so they can find the solution to any kind of problem (no matter how the customer is acting!). But at the same time, often there will be customers who are confused or who have a hard time understanding what a problem is and how you can help them.
So you need to be very patient, and adaptable with this skill; make sure any staff that are scheduled to man this area of the store regularly are trained in handling calm and difficult situations alike, and are always able to keep their calm when faced with a customer that may start shouting or get aggressive. After all, it can be hard as a human being to stand there and take some kind of verbal abuse, so be ready to step in as the manager or the owner whenever you see the opportunity arise.
Is All Information Clear and Concise?
You don’t ever want to overflow a customer with options and words they don’t understand; form 51-E656 doesn’t make sense in their mind (and probably doesn’t in yours either!), and it’s just going to confuse the whole, already negative, situation further! So now’s the time for you to make sure you take every available opportunity to give information across in its simplest form: speak in layman’s terms and the customer will be in and out of the door in no time.
Cut straight to the point whenever you can, and then lay everything out: for example, if there’s any extra bills or fees a person needs to pay to return something, or to trial something, make sure you tell the person. Don’t let them go on the assumption that something is free, or discounted, simply because of the language you use. Being able to always use the right words is part of your branding after all!
Is There a Web Chat Option?
Your business probably has a website to it, and because of that, it’s the main way your customers locate you. It’s the modern day and age after all, there’s always going to be an online portion to how you run your business! Seeing as the internet allows them to see the products you offer, the mission statement you have as a company and whether that rubs well with their ideals, and how close you are to them in case they want a day trip, you need to make sure it’s a priority to service people there. And because of this accessibility, you should make real time, human support as readily available as possible.
And that involves installing some kind of technical support, or a web chat option for anyone who needs to clarify something you haven’t listed in a description or on the homepage. You can’t fit everything there after all! And remember, not only is it a good idea for your customers to have some kind of specialised IT support, but your business will benefit from being able to contact one too, seeing as this will make sure your network and website servers are always up and running with minimal fuss!
Can You Get the Queue Moving Quickly?
If not, now’s the perfect chance for you to work on your time management skills, as a business. You want to clear customers as soon as possible, giving your staff as many mini breaks throughout the day, as well as clear more room for more and more customers to come to you. If there’s a long queue for the checkout, potential customers are going to turn around as soon as they walk in the door!
It’s clear that the customer service world is on a time limit. You only have about 8 hours to make as much of a profit as you can, day by day, and you need to get through as many customers as you can because of this. But no one is superhuman, and you don’t want to have to automate the entire process: instead, be quick and simple with any small talk, address any problems or queries immediately, and pass someone on to someone more experienced than you if you cannot help them.
Your Customer Service Has Two Sides
Last point to remember. Having good customer service is as dependant on your staff being well trained and mannered as it as on the kind of customers you get in your store. So when it comes to handling a situation where the kind of support a customer received wasn’t right, make sure you check in with the staff member they talked to first. Get their side of the story, ask them what practices they used to help out, and then move the customer out of your store either with a solution or a consolation.
Photo by Adam Solomon