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How to improve your customer service

Your company might offer the best product or service on the market. However, it’s all in vain if you have unhappy customers and your customer service fails to provide any help.

Competition is stiff these days, allowing customers to choose more easily between different providers - so good customer service is a key tool for success. A dissatisfied user, who has developed a bad attitude toward your service, can not only be difficult to win back, but runs an obvious risk - dissatisfaction is infectious and can spread easily. Thanks to the power of social media, you may lose more customers quickly and make it even more difficult to recruit new customers.

Obviously, the reverse is also true. If a customer is dissatisfied for a good reason but is received well by customer care, he or she can turn into an ambassador for your company, product or service. A really good attitude to customer service can really make a difference.

Here are some practical tips on how you can improve your customer service:

Empathise

Encourage your customer care staff to genuinely empathise with the disgruntled customer - and to express this in a very clear or tangible manner. "I understand that you feel disappointed due to this issue" is a simple way to show empathy.

Admit mistakes

Have you done something wrong? Do not hesitate to acknowledge it. Do not shift the blame, even if the issue at hand is someone else's fault - you hold the main responsibility in your user’s eyes.

Be patient

It happens, of course, that customers are in the wrong and that they overreact. Here, it is extra important to be really patient. Patience is often a natural character trait, and can require a lot of energy to train. However, discussing the importance of this approach actually helps your staff to develop and improve their ability to listen and empathise more effectively.

Adapt

Take advantage of the experience your staff jointly receive, and ensure that they systematically share their knowledge with each other.

Have clarity in communication

This may be basic, but it’s the golden rule of service; customers need to understand what is being said. Make sure your team well trained and that they really understand what they’re talking about.

Build knowledge

Your customer care staff must know the product or service they represent inside out. Consider this team as part of your sales and marketing department; as the first port of call for consumers, that is what they actually are.

Grow a thick skin

To withstand name calling and scolding is also a character building issue, not unlike patience. Improving your ability to put up with negative customer feedback can be done by discussing issues openly with colleagues. Only by reflecting on an approach can you learn to respond better.

Listen online

Encourage proactive customer service. By using a [monitoring tool] (https://www.observify.com/en/media-monitoring), you’re more aware of what customers are saying about your business, product or service. The right tools help you save time on scanning online for what is being said on social media, blogs and review sites. By increasing customer engagement, you can improve your customer service, as well as crisis and [reputation management] (https://www.observify.com/en/reputation-management).

Be personal

Where possible, avoid chat robots and impersonal automated email responses.

Be available

This is of course a question of resources, but the more staff you dedicate to customer service, and the longer you’re available, the better. The American airline JetBlue quickly achieved great success because they were known to [respond rapidly to customer and reservation issues] (http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-satisfaction-lessons-jetblue/).

Keep your word!

Finally. Most important of all. Make sure that the promises given by your customer service reps are honoured. A dissatisfied customer can be worked with, but someone who’s been burnt twice is usually lost forever. Streamlining your customer service prevents any communication slipping through the cracks. Using a tool like our [social inbox] (https://www.observify.com/en/customer-service) enables you to collect all your messages in one place - so your team can focus on handling customer queries from all channels.

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