Customer service, like everything else, has had to change and adapt to the fast pace of today’s world. It seems as if the days of personal service have gone by the wayside. In most businesses, we interact with the Customer Service department more than any other group. As a Customer Service Specialist (as they are at Cherney), the experience you create for your customers can play a key role in their decision to do business with you. Here are a few items we at Cherney feel are important to building and maintaining customer relationships:
- First, always remember your customer has made a choice to work with you and like everyone else, their day is filled with meetings, reports, deadlines and many additional responsibilities. Be respectful of the time they are giving you. When you communicate with customers, be prepared with as much information as possible so that questions, issues, concerns, or situations can be resolved in one productive conversation. Always offer to put the information in an email. This helps when they have to give the information to others. You can be an asset or a liability when working to give your customer what they need to perform and even shine in their job.
- Second, always be truthful with your customer. When a customer is receiving bad news it is important to show your understanding. Give the customer options to resolve the issue if possible. For example, if a deadline is in jeopardy of being missed and there is an alternate way to get to the result, let your customer know. Never expect your customer to come up with solutions for you. Have all the information ready to send in an email if they need to get approval to make a change and be ready to make the change as soon as possible when you receive direction from your customer.
- Third, always remember your customer is a living, breathing human being. Just as you are struggling with allergies or a sick child and juggling 10 things at once, so is the voice on the other end of the phone. We are all busy and need to be respectful of one another’s time, but we can still get to know one another. The new mom who has just come back to work and is missing her baby is happy to take a moment to share her excitement. Those few minutes can alleviate the stress she is feeling. The customer who is trying to get out the door to make his child’s soccer game is thrilled when you offer to put together answers to his questions in an email so he does not have to disappoint his child. Maintaining personal connections shows that you are truly a partner and resource for the customer.
Take a deep breath, put a smile on your face and answer that ringing phone and nurture your relationship!