When running a business, often we are distracted by the quality of our products or the intricacies of marketing our brand.

The most important thing, however, is customer service. Consistently providing good customer service can make or break a relationship with a customer. It’s even more vital when you realize that just one bad interaction can sever a bond with a customer forever.  And, it costs more to gain new customers than it does to retain existing ones!

Luckily there are different methods you can use to ensure positive customer service every single time.

Keep calm and provide excellent customer service

1. Speedy Response Times

One thing that will guarantee a poor customer experience is when your response time is too slow. Your customers should be confident that your customer service team will see to their problems in a short amount of time.

No one wants to wait to get any kind of help, especially if their problem is time sensitive.

A good way to make sure every solution is given as quickly as possible is by offering 24-hour support. With the help of this kind of support, your customers will never feel as though their problems have been put on hold for several hours.  By providing something as simple as a live human being to answer your business calls at all times, you can make a major difference in the way customers view your business.

2. Strengthen Active Listening Skills

No one likes listening to someone who seems as though they’re reading off a predetermined script. They want to talk to an actual person, someone who is paying attention and willing to work with them.

You’ll want your employees to know how to actively listen to your customers instead of simply waiting for their turn to speak.  Have them practice paraphrasing what the customer just told them to show that they were paying attention – this is known as “active listening.”

Practice what kind of questions to ask to clarify any questions or concerns your employee might have. Teach your employees how to show empathy towards customers. Simply listening to respond isn’t enough for positive customer service. Every interaction that your employees have with your customers should be an engaged conversation.

3. The CARP Strategy

There is a useful acronym that your employees can use whenever they deal with customers. The CARP strategy is a great way to help employees stay on track, especially when interacting with angry customers with complaints.

  • Control the situation
  • Acknowledge and show that you care about the problem
  • Refocus the conversation towards a solution
  • Problem-solve alongside the customer

Controlling the situation simply means that the customer service representative directs the customer through the process of resolving the issue at hand.  Your company should have policies in place that define how problems are handled and by educating customers and driving them down the correct path tot resolution, your employee is controlling the situation.

Acknowledgment is important because it shows customers that your business isn’t denying there is an issue and that you care how your customers feel.

Refocusing the conversation on the solution might not be necessary for every customer, but is a very useful technique to use with those that are upset.  If the customer is feeling emotional then he or she might be somewhat stuck on the problem instead of how you’re going to work with him or her to resolve it.

Problem-solving WITH the customer reinforces that you acknowledge the issue and then also reinforces having the customer focused on the solution versus being upset about the problem.  Empower your employees to go outside of normal operating procedures for helping customers when and if it makes sense to do so.  Encourage your team to work alongside customers through their issues so that both sides are happy with all resolutions.

With the help of this system, you’ll be certain to give positive customer service to everyone who comes to your business.

4. Ask For Customer Feedback

You can employ a hundred different methods for good customer service but it all comes down to how your customers feel about it all. This is where customer feedback becomes the key to your success.

At the end of every customer interaction, ask that customer to give some feedback. From their response, you can clearly see what you’re doing right and what you may be doing wrong.  And, if you never ask you may never know.  It’s actually becoming more and more common for customers to vent their frustrations online versus telling you directly so asking customers specifically for feedback encourages them to come to you should they have an issue.

With this information, you can specifically tackle any problems your customer service team might have. If a customer felt a team member was rude or slow, then you have the opportunity to review this complaint objectively and teach the employee how to improve his or her customer service skills.  If the customer called to handle his or her issue and waited too long on hold then you can implement new policies about hold times or hire a 24/7 live answering service to handle calls when your phones are busy.

Customer feedback is invaluable because it gives you many opportunities to adapt your business model and processes until your clients are not just satisfied, but happy to do business with you.

Positive Customer Service is an Ongoing Journey

Using these methods will definitely give you a boost towards consistent customer service, but it’s better to think of it as an ongoing process. You always want to provide the best to your customers so remaining flexible is an invaluable trait.

Also, it’s important to realize that no two customers will ever present the exact same situation. Make certain that your employees are keeping up with their customer service skills and overall mentalities about the value of customer experiences.

That kind of diligence will give the best results for both you and your customers.

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