In business, the customer is always right. While this may be hard to take at times, this is the foundation to good customer service. Customer service is about making sure customers are happy and satisfied at every phase of the sales process. Happy and satisfied customers lead to happy and healthy profits.
For many, this seems like common sense. However, common sense is often no so common. Neuroscience proves that when we are stressed, we are not always operating at higher levels in the brain. During these times, interpersonal skills can take a backseat, as many of you who have tried to have a political debate may have noticed. Unfortunately these effects of stress in one area tend to spill over into all aspect of lives, including work.
Still, when it comes to business, inter-personal relationships are the foundation stones to good customer service. This requires good communication skills and, often, leaving your personal opinions at home. From there, consider the following 5 do’s and don’ts for enjoying happy customers and healthy profits:
1. Don’t talk over customers – Do listen
When talking with customers, you want to lead the conversation not control it. If you spend the entire time talking, you will have no idea what the customer is looking for. By leading the conversation, you can facilitate their sharing what they are looking for. This allows you to respond in ways that are specific to their interests and needs. When they are ready to buy, stop talking and close the sale.
2. Don’t be pushy and aggressive – Do provide value
Have you ever called customer service where instead of them helping you to solve your concern, they try to sell you something else? Annoying, right? Overly pushy and aggressive sales tactics lead to a bad business reputation. I don’t know about you, but I strongly dislike buying a car for this reason. Instead of aiming to sell as the priority, aim to please first. The sale will then follow.
3. Don’t ignore negative reviews – Do accept feedback
The increasing popularity of online purchasing channels has also made it easy for online, real-time customer feedback and reviews. For every person that takes the time to share a good review, there can be many others who are not so complementary. It is important to respond to both. Being proactive about thanking happy customers and addressing unhappy ones demonstrates that you care about everyone’s input. It also provides the opportunity to strategically promote how well you turn negative experiences into positive ones.
4. Don’t be defensive – Do be professional
When a customer calls in with a problem, they are usually already in a negative mindset. Responding defensively to this will only make matters worse. Instead, try a little empathy. By putting yourself in their shoes, it may be easier to convey that you understand where they’re coming from. When people feel validated, they are often in a better position to collaborate in moving on to a solution. Positive energy invites positive engagement.
5. Don’t over-promise – Do be honest and follow through
While it can be tempting to over-promise to convert an unhappy customer into a happy one, this strategy can often backfire. The last thing you need is for this same customer to return later – after what you represented does not happen – even more upset. If you don’t have the capacity to fully resolve their concern, be honest. Often, people will respect this and be more open to working with you to come up with a workable solution. This may be in the form of correcting an order, issuing a refund or offering a promotional credit. Whatever the outcome, be sure to follow through.
Just like you, your customers are people too. Perhaps most importantly, without them, you would not be in business.