5 Lessons in Customer Service Etiquette
We live in a fast world. Fast food, fast cars, fast computers and fast business. Convenience and mobility are power factors in sales and customer service etiquette. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are over 2 million customer service reps employed, and we interact with them every day.
The latest issue of the Baylor Business Review is themed around customer service in the digital age. The magazine’s cover story discusses the changing face of customer service and the crucial role technology plays. The article says, “Thanks to technology, transparency and a shifting power equation, customer relationships have never been more in flux or more confusing.” Serving and satisfying customers has become more complex with technology, but with the help of proper customer service assessments, any organization can benefit from finding qualified customer-facing employees who match and reflect specific company values.
The five forces of customer service outlined in the Baylor Business Review include:
- Walmart’s power to lower prices
- Amazon’s online convenience
- Mobile devices
- Customer feedback
The article also cites a 2011 consumer survey that found 80 percent of customers rely on technology when they shop, and one-third of those respondents use three or more types of technologies to support their buying decisions, like cell phones, the internet and social media. In offering top customer service, it’s important to stay current with such customer service trends and focus on keeping your products or services relevant for your customers. Having relevance means adding value to customers, both before, during and after the sale. A better customer service experience will make you outshine your competitors. We’ve mentioned before what it takes to achieve excellence in customer service, and aligning customer wants and needs is essential.
To effectively cater to customers’ wants and needs, it’s important to have specific customer service etiquette and consistency. Here are five ways to maintain high customer service etiquette:
1. Have organization-specific guidelines and policies. In hiring and managing customer service employees, it is crucial to outline and specify guidelines that are needed and expected to succeed in each job position. Different organizations and job positions need different customer service characteristics. For example, the customer service skills needed for a fine dining restaurant are different than those of a bank. So it’s essential to create a detailed job description and list of qualifications.
2. Use customer service assessments.
Customer service employees are the face of the organization, so it’s important to hire individuals that reflect your organization’s values and beliefs. Customer service assessments reveal whether a job candidate is right for specific positions. For example, the Customer Service Profile™ measures how well a person fits the behaviors and characteristics of specific customer service positions – there are also industry-specific versions for hospitality, healthcare, financial services and retail.
3. Be experts.
In customer service positions, it’s important to show customers you have extensive product knowledge. No matter what industry you’re in, competition is steep and customers are faced with a lot of options. To have a competitive edge, make sure every customer service representative has the information and resources needed to show customers they are valued and cared for.
4. Get direct feedback from customers.
To really know what customers want, direct reports and customer surveys are helpful. Customer surveys can reveal what customer service techniques worked and what didn’t. This is important in building loyal customer relationships. Remember, it’s all about what the customer wants and needs, and how you can accommodate them.
5. Offer employees recognition and rewards.
Employee recognition is a key motivator with customer service employees. Whether it’s an employee-of-the-month bonus or an announcement during a team meeting, customer service employees should know they are valued and respected, just like their customers.
Following these customer service etiquette tips will help raise customer loyalty and service performance.
Do you have any additional tips? We want to hear from you! What is your experience in customer service? Comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter! #ProfilesBlog