If you were to ask representatives of companies what contributes to building a brand in the market, they would undoubtedly say that commitment, positive attitude, willingness to help, professional advice, and high-quality service from the customer service team are important. Undeniably, such behaviors increase customer trust, and great customer service standards help in building and maintaining it, regardless of the industry. With appropriate standards, more of your customers will be satisfied with the service, leading to a better overall image of your company.
Professional customer service is a top priority in the vast majority of companies (such as banks, stores, service points). With proper management and well-implemented standards for customer service, any company can approach consumers in a professional manner, respond to their needs, and meet their customer expectations. These are incredibly important aspects, especially now, when building a brand image is so crucial! By understanding and exceeding customer expectations, businesses can establish a strong reputation, foster customer loyalty, and ultimately thrive in a competitive market. Minimum standards can always be improved according to what consumers expect. Remember that customer service standards refer to standards of customer, as well as standards of customer experience.
Well-developed customer service strategy in a company makes the recipient feel satisfied, important, and appreciated. As a result, they speak highly of the company, recommend it to others by word of mouth (family, friends), and continuously raise awareness of your brand. Exceptional customer support is a powerful tool to keep customers engaged and loyal, creating a positive cycle of word-of-mouth referrals and customer retention. In the long run, this has a profound impact on attracting new customers and, consequently, increasing your revenue. By prioritizing customer satisfaction and investing in quality customer service, businesses can build lasting relationships with their clientele, ensuring long-term growth of sales.
Of course, every company (including its Customer Service Department) needs to establish standards and systematize the quality of customer service based on individual procedures, taking into account the industry in which it operates and the target audience it serves. The golden rules presented here are quite universal and can be adapted to suit the unique needs of each organization. Implementing these principles in your organization will undoubtedly bring many benefits, as they foster a positive customer interaction and contribute to a seamless customer journey.
By focusing on personalized, efficient, and empathetic customer interactions, companies can build strong relationships with their customers and create memorable experiences at every stage of the customer journey. A well-defined and consistently applied customer service approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also builds customer loyalty, promotes positive word-of-mouth referrals, and strengthens the overall brand reputation. Ultimately, prioritizing customer service excellence can lead to increased customer retention and continuous business growth.
Read more: Customer Service Quality impact on Sales
It is important to engage in a dialogue with the customer in a way that makes them feel understood, listened to, and valued. Together, we create customer experiences when interacting with our brand. Serve the customer the way you would like to be served. Conduct customer conversations according to the standards and best market practices. This is the key to your company’s success.
Below, we present several key principles regarding customer service and provide examples. We have divided the customer service process into 8 customer service standards.
Let’s start with the basic rule before your employee picks up the phone. Proper preparation for the conversation and acquiring knowledge about the customer is one of service standards that will help you to appear as a professional who understands their needs and is ready to handle customer of any type. This will allow you to build a business relationship and convince the customer, increasing your chances of a positive conversation. If it is a conversation aimed at encouraging the customer to make a purchase, appropriate knowledge and conversation techniques are the key to success.
Before the conversation, make sure to prepare its purpose. The well-defined purpose should follow the SMART rule:
Specific: Clearly and specifically define what is to be achieved. This is the most important criterion for a well-defined goal. It contains clear and specific parameters.
Measurable: This criterion distinguishes a goal from a task as it assigns a value to the goal, allowing us to determine whether the goal has been achieved or not. Ambitious: The goal must be developmental for both the company and the employee. If it is not ambitious enough, it will not be motivating. Its bold formulation triggers previously untapped resources of potential and effectiveness.
Realistic: The goal must be grounded in the reality of business. This parameter is opposed to the previous one (ambitious) because, like being too low, a goal that is too high can be demotivating – lack of belief in success.
Aligned with company goals: This parameter determines the goal’s alignment with the company’s priorities.
The SMART formula increases the chances of achieving goals. Each word simultaneously represents the characteristics that should be assigned to a given goal. SMART assumes that appropriately formulating the goal is the key to success and provides guidance on how to achieve it in a simple way.
Once you know what to ask, prepare the rules for effective communication with the customer. Pay attention to your speech style – clear diction facilitates message understanding and suggests to the customer that they are speaking with a professional. Relax, sit up straight, put on a smile (which can be heard), speak calmly and clearly. Never shout into the phone.
Adapt your speech to the pace of the interlocutor, keeping in mind that older people may need information delivered slightly slower so that they can take notes, for example.
Your voice must inspire trust and sound in a way that emphasizes important elements of the conversation. Speak in a calm, composed voice with a smile that can be heard. Actively listen to your interlocutor and refer to their statements. Nothing is more boring than listening to a monotonous voice for fifteen minutes. The listener loses contact with us and thinks about completely different things than the topic of the conversation. This happens when you ask them a question or they become irritated.
Lastly, sit up straight, as it will allow your voice to resonate clearly and make it easier for you to express your engagement in the conversation. Now, it’s time to start the conversation.
Customers should be greeted warmly and friendly – the first impression is the most important, and you only have a moment and one chance. In contrast to conversations via live chat or emails, clients mainly focus on the tone of the respondent tone. The customer should feel important and surrounded by positive energy and attitude, creating a friendly atmosphere and professional image. When starting a conversation with a customer, remember to greet them appropriately according to the established clear standard. Each time, greet the customer, introduce yourself, inform them where they have called, and ask, “How can I assist you?”
From this moment on, you begin to build a positive brand image, ensuring that customers have the best possible experience with the customer service department. This will translate into their subsequent discussions, both in their immediate surroundings and in online reviews, as well as help to set expectations for the service.
Create awareness in the customer regarding attractive and possible solutions for them and their loved ones. Shape customer needs through effective dialogue, try to understand and learn about their expectations regarding the type of offer, products, or services, try to think like customer.
Encourage their active participation in the conversation. Present selected facts resulting from the offer analysis, summarize the conclusions from the conversation’s goal, ensure that the customer understands all the agreements, and ask open-ended questions. Keep it simple while interacting with customers: be curious about the customer, gather as much information as possible from them, let them talk about themselves and their loved ones, make inquiries about the services they use daily and what their loved ones use. Show that you understand their needs – find answers and be an expert. Refer to the words, paraphrase, inquire, and ensure a good relationship through engagement in the dialogue.
Present the offer in the simplest and most understandable way for the customer: by listing, highlighting, comparing, converting, and presenting the prices of the product. Speed and efficiency are the key. Based on the established relationship, address the customer’s needs by showing the basic benefits resulting from the presented solution. Ensure customer satisfaction and efficient handling time. Handle the customer with the lowest possible customer effort score – make an effort for them. Respond to the needs by demonstrating initiative and interest, offering the product according to the standard and uniform rules. Be available to the customer and respond to their needs and expectations. Make sure the response is comprehensive and leads to good customer service.
One of the most important concerns is the customer issues that may arise during the conversation. Recognize them, diagnose the cause, listen carefully, and show understanding – address the customer’s problem, seeking the best solution.
Also, utilize other available sales arguments while emphasizing the benefits of the offers and services.
Conduct the conversation with the customer in a way that addresses all their concerns. Utilize your experience based on professional standards and techniques – strive to meet the need to provide the customer with a comprehensive answer. Remember transparency standards and see if you can provide any additional help. Then, ensure several times that everything is clear.
It is also adequate to recommend a customer communication channel where customers are able to read answers to most frequently asked questions (FAQ), as well as send their concerns in writing, in case they couldn’t find the answer. Let your customers know where they can find help outside of the conversation, recommend customer service software, self-service site if the company has any, and don’t forget to include the expected response time. If any of the concerns exceed customer service help or require legal insight, recommend speaking to a company representative.
Summarize the offer – list everything the customer has decided regarding the identified needs. Then, obtain acceptance of the presented solution and invite them to finalize the process, giving the expected resolution time.
The customer must be certain that they have made the right decision! Ensure their confidence and then correctly enter the order into the system. Success consists of both service and support, and the customers’ well-being directly affects their positive opinion of the company.
Thank the customer for their time and the conversation. Make sure the customer has been fully serviced by asking if the information provided was clear to them. Leave a good impression, remembering that every customer contact builds relationships. Keeping customers happy during those helps with building trust between existing customers and attracting new ones.
Draw conclusions from the conversation, take a moment for self-reflection, and consider whether you conducted the conversation correctly. Were you able to finalize the offer?
Building awareness of areas that need improvement is a key element that will lead to better and more effective customer conversations. Strive to learn about market practices – use various sources, regardless of the type of business you conduct.
Regardless of the conversation’s goal, it is essential for the consultant to approach it professionally. This allows for the establishment of a proper relationship with the customer and is a way to sustain the entire conversation. The more customers are satisfied with the high level of service, the better the company’s image and customer service experience, ultimately leading to increased sales.
Gathering customer feedback through calls, surveys, metrics, and CSAT questionnaires goes a long way in ensuring exceptional service, helping you evaluate what the customers want, and improving your company’s quality performance.
Working on the quality of customer service is a process of continuous self-improvement and gaining experience. Remember that the quality of your conversation plays a significant role in achieving goals in customer experience. Good customer relationships are crucial in gaining trust. Keep your promises, provide reliable information, be honest – when difficulties arise, apologize and explain the situation, make sure the customer knows how to use the purchased equipment or services. Raising your customer service standards, meeting customer expectations, and listening to what consumers say guarantees improving your customer service interactions.
Optimize the conversation time to select the appropriate solution. Utilize different communication channels, answer customer inquiries, but adjust the conversation time to the customer’s preferences. Treat each customer individually, taking care of their needs and the needs of their loved ones. Listen to what the customer says and ask questions to always find the best solution. Before presenting an offer, inquire about what the customer may need. Take responsibility for customer satisfaction and seek solutions, take initiative, suggest new products and services, consistently search for alternative solutions, be calm and confident, and demonstrate it using appropriate phrases.
Place the customer at the center of attention, encourage open conversation, adapt your communication style to the customer and their individual preferences, acknowledge choices, and create a friendly and warm conversation atmosphere. Go above and beyond to create customer-centric conversations. Excellent customer service performance is part of a larger service strategy. Each customer is an important customer, so ultimately raising one customer service standard like making them feel understood helps with the customer satisfaction score and lowers the amount of time it takes to ensure their loyalty.
Customer service guidelines and standards are a norm in all companies that have direct or indirect customer contact. They are treated as the key to maintaining quality, provide guidance to employees, support daily tasks, and ensure a high net promoter score (NPS). Their popularity is not accidental, and it is not without reason that customer satisfaction is considered one of the most important statistics for a company. A satisfied customer brings numerous tangible benefits to any business and its development.
There is no single pattern or scheme on which you can base your customer relations approach. Each business has its unique specificity or form, so when talking about customer service principles without the context of a specific company, we use very general terms. To tailor customer relations to the specific characteristics of your own company, you will need to listen to customers, your employees, and reflect on your company’s vision.
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