Before I get into further analysis of my own personal experience, I am going to explain about different characteristics that are involved in customer service. Most businesses will tell you that quality customer service is the keystone to success. An essential component of outstanding customer service is the possession of a great staff. Larger companies may be weighed down by employee handbooks that specify the customer service guidelines. Independent, smaller businesses have the advantage of selecting employees that possess excellent customer service know how and capabilities. The customer service department should also be extremely familiar with the inventory, services, and policies entailed in the store. Knowledgeable employees satisfy customers.
For customer service face-to-face, employees should concentrate on their own appearance. A sloppy look, chomping on gum or an employee lacking hygiene can negatively reflect on the company. Having a dress code or grooming evaluations can motivate employees to excel in face to face situations. Every small aspect involved can affect the business as a whole.
Once the right staff has been hired, there has to be an example set for them to follow. Rewards are a good incentive to inspire employees to go the extra mile. Establishing employee of the month recognition programs, giving gifts, or verbally acknowledging accomplishments are good ways to drive the staff toward the set out goals of a business. Some companies train their staff by asking them to put themselves in the customer’s position. When people consider their own preferences, they may be more apt to see where the customer is coming from. It is important to have the dual goal in mind of keeping the customer happy and at the same time working toward benefiting the business. One way to keep this practice is the LEAR method of handling customers. LEAR is an acronym for Listen, Empathize, Ask Questions, and Resolve the Problem. All employees should try and practice this method of handling customer problems, with the end goal being to send the customer away in a good mood. Treating people the way they want to be treated is generally a good approach to a problem.
With a well trained and qualified staff, the customer service department has a better chance at success. In my experience, handling customers is much easier when a step by step exact approach given to the employee, but also giving them the freedom to integrate their own methods that can correspond with the employee’s personality and the personality of the individual customer. In general, the employee should first listen to what the customer has to say without interrupting them. At all times, the employee should stay very calm, it takes two to make an argument. They should give an indication that they understand and sympathize with what the customer is saying. The problem then should be logically analyzed. There should be a differentiation between the assumptions, facts, generalizations, and emotions. Try and find out exactly what happened by digging for the facts and not placing blame anywhere. Then, try and read the person better to figure out what the true problem they are having really is. Are they actually angry at what is happening right now, or are they just in a bad mood and looking to release their problems somewhere? One of the easiest questions to ask is: What can we do to make this right so you are a happy customer when you walk out the door, when you hang up this phone, etc.? Take full responsibility for finding a satisfying solution, and make sure to see the customer through to ensure they are getting what is owed to them. The response made should call for immediate action to be taken if it is possible, this will make the customer feel important and raise their level of satisfaction.
Many times the problem can be simply solved by letting the customer talk to someone in authority. This also raises the level of...