10 Tips to Improve Your Customer Service
In an entertaining keynote speech that kicked off the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Orlando, Fla. last week, Shep Hyken, author, professional speaker and consultant to companies on building loyal relationships with their customers and employees, listed 10 "Moments of Magic" that'll help businesses win customers for life.
1. Manage the first impression. Greet consumers and employees warmly, answer phones in your call center with a polite hello, and dress appropriately for your position, among other things.
2. Have a knowledge or expertise of your business/industry. This includes both internal (employee) and external (consumer) knowledge, Hyken said. Know where to obtain knowledge, and how to use it when you get it.
3. Build rapport. This doesn't always have to be business-related, Hyken noted. Build a rapport with employees by being able to talk with them about things other than work — e.g., their kids’ lives, sports, weather.
4. Be excited about what you do. Enthusiasm is contagious, Hyken said. And it works the other way, too. If you're not enthusiastic about your work, that's also contagious.
5. Communicate. Ask the extra question of your customers and prospects. Negotiating expectations with customers will leave them more satisfied when you can meet those expectations, Hyken said. But don't promise what you can't deliver on, he cautioned.
6. No mistakes. This is a goal, not reality. And when there is a mistake, an opportunity is presented: If you remedy the mistake to a customer's satisfaction, it can restore their confidence in your company to an even higher level. Hyken said three things must happen in order to accomplish this:
- fix what has to be fixed;
- do it with the right attitude; and
- do it with urgency.
7. Offer quality at every turn, both in your products and service. This must occur both internally and externally, Hyken stressed.