As a part of an upcoming event sponsored by Prowers County Economic Development and in line with DCI’s development of downloadable content to further disseminate training options for communities, DCI will present a special training called Creating a Unique Customer Service Experience in Lamar on May 22 and 23. The training will feature Beth Parish, Marketing and Branding Expert and DCI’s Katherine Correll and is based on written content provided by Hazel Hartbarger, City of Arvada Economic Development.
As a sneak preview, we have the following tips for delivering a world class customer experience:
1) Handle customer inquiries with tact and patience
Whether customers are inquiring on the phone or in person, are calm or irate, every inquiry deserves a response. Encourage employees to respond to questions with full sentences, not “yep” or “no” and engage the customer by discussing the weather, commenting on their blouse, or discussing fun things going on downtown.
When customers are out of control, try reiterating their concerns as a response, “So if I understand you correctly, you are upset that we don’t have <product>. I’m glad you let me know about that. I will be sure that my manager/owner is made aware of that. Would you like my manager/owner to get back with you?.”
2) Conduct a self-audit on social media to understand how your customers and the public are viewing you.
No matter what platform you use or don’t use, it is important to check in to see what people are posting about your businesses. Yelp and other directories that use a rating system are a good place to start to understand what people like or don’t like about your business. Remember not to take it personally, but to take it as a challenge to improve! Embrace both negative and positive feedback.
3) Empower your employees to make decisions that help the customer
Make sure that your employees know that they have the ability to provide extras, and what those extras might be, to improve the customer experience. If employees know that they can make decisions, it also helps them to buy in.
4) Don’t let your bad day come across to your customers
We all have a bad day sometimes, but customer service employees need to keep theirs to themselves. This includes retelling of personal stories, sharing complaints about management or the community, etc. When employees hold side conversations with friends or each other while talking to customers, or they make personal calls in front of customers, it reflects badly on the business. The customer should feel important and that the service was professional and pleasant.
In defense of all employees, remember customers are often unpleasant and no one should be subject to abuse. But remember, customers are rude on their own time and employees are being paid to be helpful. Using techniques to smooth rough conversations can allow your business and employees to excel even when situations are challenging.