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This article was published on September 27, 2011

10 Steps to Remarkable Customer Service

10 Steps to Remarkable Customer Service
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

This post is part of a series brought to you by GoToAssist.

It goes without saying that stellar customer service can make all the difference in ensuring your business is successful. It isn’t enough to offer an invaluable service or great products. Your customer service has to be right up there at the top of the list. Understanding your customer, their needs and complaints, and knowing how to talk to them, will not only ensure that they’re returning customers, it can often lead to gaining new customers simply through the power of word-of-mouth advertising. We’ve put together a list of 10 steps to making sure your customer service is as good as it can get.

Communicate and listen

Communication is the most important element of any successful customer service outfit. Make sure you communicate any important or relevant information to your customer so that they have all the details at hand to make informed decisions when it comes to your service. And as important as it is know exactly what to tell the customer, it’s just as important to stop and listen. Understanding the customer’s needs and complaints is the first step to making sure that you can address them.

Anticipate what the customer needs or wants

Sometimes listening isn’t enough. Knowing what your customer wants before they themselves know it can lead to an excellent reputation as an attentive and personable brand. This comes down to truly understanding your customer and what they’re all about.

Make it personal

Make them feel like they’re talking to a person, not a company. Adding a bit of a personal touch to the conversation will instantly put the customer at ease. When sending out newsletters, announcements or special offers, make it seem like they’re the only ones getting that letter. VIP treatment for every single customer will distinguish your brand from any other brand. Countless customer service hotlines use a script when addressing a problem, and while it’s acceptable, and in most cases necessary to do so, don’t make it sound like your following a script. No one wants to talk to a robotic customer service representative who sounds like they’re reading off a page, rather than speaking to a human being. For a complete guide on how to personalize customer service, check out this post.

Know when to admit you made a mistake

If you’ve  done something wrong, and dig your heels in without admitting your mistake, you’ll probably get the opposite effect of what you were going for. A sincere apology can often go a long way, and is the first step to making up for it. I’m sorry can make all the difference.

The customer is always right

The cliche, The customer is always right is a cliche for a reason. Even if the customer isn’t right, making them feel like they are is an essential part of Customer Service 101.

If there’s a problem, fix it

I don’t know should not be in your vocabulary. Chances are at one point or another, a customer will ask you a question you don’t know the answer to. Instead of saying, I don’t know, offer an alternative. Think of another way you can address their problem. If there’s an issue that needs solving, do all that you can to get it solved as quickly as possible, but be honest about how long it will take to resolve the issue.

Under promise, Over deliver

Never tell the customer you’re going to do something unless you’re absolutely sure that you’re going to be able to fulfill the request. It’s better to exceed their expectations than to leave them feeling disappointed and dissatisfied with the service, because they’ll probably end up going elsewhere.

Keep an eye on your brand online

Don’t wait for your customer to get in touch with you. Keep an eye on social media, use Google alerts, and know what people are saying about your brand even if it isn’t being said directly to you. Brands like Morton’s: The Steakhouse has set the bar high with its attentive online customer service. That doesn’t mean you need to answer every single tweet or blog post. Replying to each and every negative tweet can often make a brand’s customer service come off needy and obnoxious, and those aren’t words you want associated with your online reputation.

Don’t talk down to your customer

Customers don’t want to feel like you’re talking to them as though they’re children. Even if your customer doesn’t necessarily understand the intricate details of how your business works – make them feel like they do.

Use words your customer wants to hear

Always think positive. Use words like Yes and Of course and Straight away. Positive words with a sense of immediacy will go a long way to make the customer feel like their every need is being attended to. Certain words are thought to have a positive effect on a person’s mood, and can often make them feel more upbeat. There’s no denying the power of choosing the right words when it comes to customer service. Do you have any customer service tips to share? Let us know in the comments.

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