Great Customer Service Starts with Great Communication

Think about the last time you received service that was exceptional. And by exceptional, I mean exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. How you were communicated with is often what shapes your impression — good or bad.

Imagine you walk in to an office, there is someone behind the desk typing on the computer. They don’t acknowledge you and when you finally get their attention by clearing your throat, they look at you like you are a bother. When they finally do respond, they sound irritated. “What do you want?”

How would you feel? Not just about the person at the front desk, but about the business as a whole. You might decide to never do business with them again and even share your bad experience with others. Research indicates that people, on average, tell 15 others about a bad experience. That is how important customer service is.

With this in mind, here are four simple ways you can improve your communication to improve customer service.

Greet people immediately. Simply acknowledging someone begins a positive interaction. Let the customer know you have seen them, even if you can’t help them immediately. A warm, sincere greeting will help your customer feel valued.

With more customer service interactions happening over the phone recently, here the four elements a phone greeting needs to include:

Warm opening, “Good morning”

Name of the Company “Acme Tool”

Your name “Laurie Brown Speaking”

Offer to help: “How may I help you?”

Each of these elements are essential to make sure the customer feels welcome, they know they called the right place, there is a person who is owning the call and is there to help.

Listen carefully. All too often, we are preoccupied with other thoughts when we should be listening. By focusing on the customer and their needs, we can avoid a lot of back and forth and provide a solution more quickly.

Match their style. Everyone has their own communication preferences.  Perhaps your style is that you like to get right to the point, or maybe your style means you need to think things through before responding. Maybe you like to chat about the big picture or you might like to focus on the details.

Just like you your customers have their own style preferences. The trick is to minimize the differences between your personal style and theirs. You don’t need to be a phony — you simply need to be adaptive. Communication is easier, and customer service is improved when you match their style.

Be specific. It is best to be specific in order to manage expectations. Phrases such as “as soon as possible” leave the promised time to the customer’s interpretation. To your customer ASAP may mean by end of day, or maybe it means in ten minutes. If your promise time is vague, you set yourself up for disappointing your customer and being perceived as unreliable.

These are steps that will improve your communication skills, and by doing so, it will improve your customer’s experience.


Check Out Our New Communication Q&A Series