Customer service: 3 foolproof communication techniques
09 Oct 2016
Customer service quality should be a major concern for any company that cares about its brand image and its market competitiveness. Indeed, while a good marketing strategy is essential for developing your presence and acquiring customers, being able to meet expectations and maintain a good satisfaction level is essential for keeping these customers and growing your client base naturally. That absolutely requires optimizing your customer service. But you still have to do this carefully, since the wrong approach can be highly detrimental to the customer experience. Here are 3 essential ingredients to positively impact your client base:
A personalized welcome
In customer relationship management, the first impression is often decisive and can strongly impact the quality of the business relationship. Making sure that you give each customer a positive first impression is therefore a major challenge. In the context of customer service, this assumes a successful initial contact phase between the customer and the person representing your company (customer service representative, receptionist, intake officer). Specifically, it’s a matter of providing – above all – a warm and cheerful welcome to each customer. But that’s no longer enough. To set yourself apart even more and ensure an optimal customer experience, the new standard is to offer an experience that’s as personalized as possible to each of your customers. In specific terms, that means setting up a proactive front office staff that’s able to identify your regular customers and effectively assist them with regard to their personal profile. For new customers, the goal is to offer personalized follow-up from the very start in order to identify their profile.
Listen to your customers and determine their expectations
Active listening is one of the most basic communication techniques in marketing. Essential for properly determining a customer’s expectations, it involves letting the customer speak beforehand to let them clearly express their feelings and their needs. While they’re expressing themselves, it’s important to let them know, through gestures and certain vocal signals, that you’re listening to them, that your attention is devoted to them. A customer who feels heard will be able to articulate their concerns more easily, and will also be more inclined to answer the questions you’ll ask them afterwards. At this stage, it’s also important to take the time to reformulate their various requests and validate each element to make sure that you’re both on the same wavelength. That’s essential for providing an adequate response.
Empathy: the key to a lasting relationship
Each customer is unique in the way they think about a product or service, but also in their relationship with a company. To completely satisfy them, it’s important to move beyond verbal communication and read between the lines, but also – and above all – to let them know that you understand them, that you can see how they’re feeling and put yourself in their shoes. For example, it’s essential to be able to draw the distinction between a rational and down-to-earth person, who just wants you to solve their problem and hang up, and another individual, who expects emotional support and a certain amount of compassion from their contact person. By doing so, you’ll be able to create a relationship that’s naturally more pleasant for them. Showing empathy furthermore lets you anticipate the customer’s expectations and thus satisfy them beyond their initial expectations.
An essential part of the customer experience, the service offered by your company should meet your customers’ expectations as much as possible. Achieving this requires – as we’ve developed – teams that are well trained and disciplined in these customer service techniques. Do you need to optimize your services in this context?
Micheline Durocher, Groupe Marketing International