Skills 360 – How to Get Good Customer Service 1

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Welcome back to the Skills 360 podcast. I’m your host Tim Simmons, and today I want to help you get good customer service.

You probably know what bad customer service looks like. We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve stood in line at a computer store to return a defective piece of equipment and the clerk asks you rudely “Well, how do you know it’s broken? Did you plug it in?” Or you’ve called your phone company to change your service and when you finally make it through the voice menus to a real person, you get put on hold for 10 minutes. It’s crazy, right? We are paying customers, and we get treated like this? So if you’ve ever felt your blood boil in situations like these, listen up. Let’s talk about how to get good customer service.

For starters, you have to think about timing. Basically, the busier people are, the more stress they have and the less time they’ll be able to give you. So avoid Mondays. On Mondays you’ve got business, and frustration, that has built up over the weekend, and customer service agents are usually overwhelmed on that day. Also think about the time of day. If you’re calling in to a customer service department or centre, do it early. The early shifts are considered plum, so the more experienced, and more able, customer service reps work at those times.

Now, you might think it’s their job to serve you. And you’re right. It is. But if you can make their job a bit easier, they’ll do it better. That starts with having the right paperwork and information ready. If you have to dig in your bag for your receipt, or if you have to rummage through your desk for your account number while the person waits, they’ll be frustrated. You know what information they’ll ask for, so be prepared.

You can not only make their job easier, but you might also make it more pleasant by being pleasant yourself. Some people think they’ll get better results if they communicate a sense of urgency and frustration. But in many cases, that backfires. Be polite and friendly, and you’ll probably get the same attitude back. Remember that it’s a person you’re talking to. That person can want to help you a lot or just a little. And the difference might depend on how much they like you. Use their name and try to create a personal connection. Even if you are really irked, maintain a positive attitude.

Okay, we’ve covered how we communicate. Now let’s talk about what we communicate. If you’re dealing with customer service, you either have a need or a problem. And you need to be able to explain that need or problem very clearly. Stick to the facts. Describe exactly what happened or your situation. Don’t go on about things they don’t give a hoot about. And don’t give them your life story.

What you should do, however, is give them your customer story. Tell them why you bought the product or service. Don’t hesitate to say something about the positive aspects of whatever it is you bought. This shows that you’ve got a balanced perspective. Still, tell them what your expectations and needs are. But remember, don’t get too verbose.

So, what might a customer story sound like? How about something like this: “Well, you guys came highly recommended by a marketing buddy. I told him we wanted t-shirts for our event that people would keep for a long time, and he said you folks would do a bang-up job. The quality of the shirts is fantastic. But I’m concerned about how the colors look. Our event is in two weeks and we need to make sure these shirts look awesome.” That’s a much better tack than “We ordered shirts and they don’t look good.”

At the end of the day, you can’t expect people to do backflips for you just because you say you’ve got a problem. So avoid the busy times, stay calm, be nice, make a personal connection, and stick to your customer story.

Of course, sometimes your problem has not been solved and you need to complain. That may require some slightly different strategies. Tune in next time to find out.

That’s all for today. If you’d like to test yourself on what we’ve just covered, have a look at the website. There you’ll find a quiz about today’s show as well as a complete transcript.

So long. And see you again soon.