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The secret to good customer service is no secret!

A core part of our business is providing an excellent customer service. We provide phone and email support for a large number of stakeholders and this can sometimes be a taxing task for the support team, especially when dealing with understandably stressed people.
We’ve all had bad customer experiences, whether it be feeling like we’re being ignored, being put on hold, transferred from person to person, or worst of all being given the impression that they just don’t care about us.

On the flip side, if we feel that we’ve had a good customer experience then we are more likely to become an advocate of that brand. If asked, we will happily recommend the brand to our friends and colleagues and we will definitely stick with them if we want other services in the future.

So what is the secret to good customer service? Certainly a lot of people seem to get it wrong, but at its heart providing good customer services is not actually rocket science. It relies on three main principles:

• The customer is always right
• Nothing is too much trouble
• They are the only customer that matters

These principles might sound extreme, and of course they aren't meant literally, but they do sum up the mindset that a good service team has to have.

So to start with, the customer is always right. Most people who don’t understand this fully will say this is complete rubbish, but if we dig a little deeper it is actually true. The most important thing to remember is that the customer is paying. Often they will not know anywhere near as much as you about the subject, which is why they are paying you to do it instead of doing it themselves. So what to do when they ask for something that you, as the expert, don’t believe is the best course of action? The main thing to remember is that, as the “expert”, it is your responsibility to counsel them on the best course of action. They may choose to completely ignore you, in which case they are the one paying for it so do what they ask. Certainly don’t argue with the customer. Offer good advice and hope that they see the light. If they don’t then at the end of the day that is their prerogative as the customer.

This leads naturally on to the second point, that nothing is too much trouble. It is really annoying for a customer to be made to feel they are a nuisance. After all, they have brought you in, and are paying you, to solve a problem. So make sure that solving that problem doesn’t seem like an inconvenience. It is what you are there to do. But it should go further than this. A good service team should go further than the minimum and proactively offer advice and support even when the customer hasn’t asked for or noticed that they need it. This can simply be in the form of a polite “can I help you with anything else?” or it can be more detailed, perhaps highlighting that you can help with other services or had they realised that they hadn’t updated their website content for a while. This is a key tenet of our support teams at Siteset, we don’t believe in just doing the minimum, we want to help our clients strategically and so should all customer service teams.

This brings us on to the third, and the most important, point. At the end of the day, as the customer, you don’t really care what else is going on with other customers. You have something that you need help with and the service is there to do that for you. The customer should always be treated as if they are the only customer that matters to you. Whilst you are dealing with them don’t make excuses about busy services or high customer loads because that isn’t what the customer wants to hear. They want to know that, despite that, you are dedicated to their needs. This stretches to making sure you know about that customer. Make sure you look up their details, understand their situation and don’t generalise. Attend to their needs and manage their expectations, but let them know it is being dealt with.

Of course, there are many more considerations when running customer facing services, but at the heart of a good service has to be the customer and these three areas are the foundations of any good service. There is no room for your employees to ‘have a bad day’ or excuses like ‘well the customer was being really stupid’. Being helpful and cheery all of the time is a hard skill, but a necessary one. At Siteset we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and our high SLA achievement, and that is because we live by these three points.

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