"Customer service" has been the buzzword in the consumer world for years now, and it's only just beginning.
In The Global State of Customer Service report from 2015 to 2020 by Microsoft, 90% of respondents reported that customer service is a deciding factor in whether or not to work with and remain loyal to a brand. Based on that stat alone, customer service should be every company's number 1 priority if they want to have long-term success without shelling out hundreds of thousands on customer acquisition.
While there are likely hundreds of components to outstanding customer service, these are 6 big traits that are an absolute must to create loyal customers.
If you want to build a reputable name for customer service, the customer service experience has to be consistent. If customers get attentive assistance one day from an empathetic employee and ignored the next day, they won't rely on your business.
Consistency goes back to hiring and training. Hire people with the character to provide excellent customer experience every day, no matter their mood. Then, reinforce your employee's good character with extensive training on how to treat customers in different scenarios.
Oxford Languages defines empathy as, "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another." Empathy is a crucial trait for customer service representatives because it improves the customer's experience when they feel heard and understood.
If you have an employee that tries to handle every customer the same, without regard for that specific customer's situation and feelings, it's unlikely that the customer will walk away satisfied. Consequently, your customer service rating will suffer.
Employee empowerment means no micromanaging. Your team members should be able to make decisions without going through an approval process. Once you've vetted, hired and trained them, you should be confident in their ability to make the best decision for the customer while staying true to company best practices.
Bottom line: if you don't trust the person's judgment when it comes to customer service, don't hire them!
We've all experienced a monotoned customer service representative over the phone or a rude waiter in a restaurant. Some people just aren't happy to do their jobs and these are the people you never want to hire for customer-facing roles.
When you need help with something as a customer, it's 100x more enjoyable to work with someone who's excited to help you and passionate about their work. Enthusiasm will look different for every employee, but as long as they exhibit positivity and excitement about doing their job, customers will be happy.
Sometimes finding solutions for customers can be messy. Not every customer is patient and understanding of certain company processes or an employee needing time to work on a solution.
In these scenarios, having an employee with stellar communication skills is often enough to remedy the situation entirely and give the customer a pleasing experience. It's when customer's are left in the dark, put on hold with no explanation, or given a canned response that they tend to get upset (or lose it completely).
There's nothing worse than dealing with a clueless employee. Customers reach out to customer service when they encounter a problem they can't solve themselves and they expect an expert. Ensuring every employees demonstrates a proper level of company and product knowledge is one component of great customer service that takes work from both management and the employee.
Employees can't stay on top of the latest company or product updates without proper training and communication from management. Management needs to ensure every new hire is thoroughly trained at the start, and that existing staff are regularly updated. The employee need to actively seek out product knowledge to stay on top of internal changes so they can best serve customers.
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