Customer Excellence

Service is the lifeblood of any
organization. Everything flows
from it and is nourished by it.
Customer service is not a
department…it’s an attitude.

Customer Service

What is customer service?

Customer service is the support you offer your customers — both before and after they buy and use your products or services — that helps them have an easy and enjoyable experience with you. Offering amazing customer service is important if you want to retain customers and grow your business. 

Today’s customer service goes far beyond the traditional telephone support agent. It’s available via email, web, text message, and social media. Many companies also provide self-service support, so customers can find their own answers at any time day or night. 

Customer support is more than just providing answers; it’s an important part of the promise your brand makes to its customers. 

Match these 2 terms with their descriptions

  • Customer Service
    Is anything we do for the customer that enhances the customer experience.
  • Customer Satisfaction
    The customer's overall feeling of contentment with a customer interaction.

Why is customer service important?

Customer service is important to any organization because it is often the only contact a customer has with a company. Customers are vital to our organization – we would not exist without our customers. Some of our customers spend thousands of rupees every year on our services. Consequently, when they have a question about our product or service, they expect us to resolve it.

A company with great customer service is more likely to get repeat business from customers.

Customers who have a positive experience with a company’s customer service department will likely tell two or three others about their experience.

Customer Service is most important because....

Aspects of customer service

The process aspect of service is more important that the human side.

Is this statement true or false?

  • True
  • False

Customer service attitude

The Essence of Customer Service

  • Doing ordinary things extraordinarily well
  • Going beyond what is expected
  • Adding value to every interaction
  • Being at your best with every customer
  • Discovering new ways to delight
  • Taking care of your customers as you would take care of your loved ones

Why attitude matters?

Making a difference

Proof that customer service can make a difference

Case Study 1:

When you think of customer service which company pops into your mind? 

For many of us, that company might be Starbucks. Starbucks has implemented 3 values that we should all take some notes on. 

Starbucks…

  • Knows their customer’s name and who they are
  • Knows their customer’s previous orders
  • Always is creating fresh and new ideas based on customer feedback

Starbucks must be doing something right. They add on average 2 stores a day and have been doing so since 1987. Starbucks does a great job by making their customer feel that they are important. This is crucial to fostering success.

In addition, the loyal customer will go to a store 16 times per month, which accounts for 20 percent of their customers. These “loyal customers” are the people that a barista took time out of their day to remember their name and even a previous order. All other companies should be taking notes on this customer relationship success.

Let's hear from their customers

Proof that customer service can make a difference

Case Study 2:

We all know how successful Amazon is, as an organization. One of the biggest reason for their success is their customer-centric culture. Here is what an employee at Amazon had to say when asked about the customer service approach they are taught.

Amazon highly believes in giving the best service to its customers. The company's motto is e=mc3(cube): earth's most customer-centric company & this was taught us from the day 1 when I joined the company.

The next thing that was taught to us was, "the customer is king & king never lies" & we strongly believe in this. We try to match our customer's pace & understand their condition and there are certain tenets that we follow, one of them being "Treat every customer as a friend" and we do not behave in a bad way with our friends. Do we?

Many times there are situations wherein we go beyond the policies to help the customers. This was my personal experience "I received a contact (chat) where the lady said that her order (of diapers for her baby) was delayed and it was Sunday and in this case there was a waiting period till Monday, so I asked her to wait till Monday and if it is not delivered just contact us again and we would help her with the replacement, she said she was fine waiting till Monday but if the order wasn't delivered on Monday then the replacement which would have been created on Monday would have reached her by Thursday. So, here to help her out I quickly helped her with the replacement which was delivered on Tuesday & the original order which was delayed arrived on Wednesday and she returned it to us & she left me a comment thanking me for helping her in this.

Customer expectations

Eight ways to provide excellent customer service.

What is good customer service?

  • Customer service professionals do not provide a friendly voice; they are rude and refuse to help the customer in any way shape or form
  • Good customer service professionals provide a friendly voice and face to the company while solving problems, giving out accurate information, or helping customers make good decisions.
  • Good customer service starts with how you treat every customer as valuable. It also involves knowing the product, being familiar with company policy, and courteously guiding customers so that problems are resolved.

Support customers as a Team

Customer service is a team sport — and not just for your customer support team. Accept that you'll never have a perfect grasp of every issue coming your way. It's not this team and that team. For the customer, once they have reached you, all their issues should be resolved. 

That can only happen if there are open lines of communication between you and other departments. Transfering the call should not be an escape route for you.

What are the skills of a good customer service representative?

Select all the options that apply

  • Customer service is a just a job
  • Empathy with the customer's situation
  • Knowledge of the company and its products
  • Patience with the customer

Listen to customers

There's nothing like talking to someone who really listens on all cylinders. Take the time to understand your customer's issues and how they affect the customer's life. 

When people know you value their needs, they're more likely to stay with your brand. Ask questions when interacting with customers. The more you know about your customers and their needs, the better the customer's experience will be.

Here are a few tips for listening effectively:

Ten Tips for Effective Listening

1. Stop talking! 

2. Put the customer at ease 

3. Pay attention to nonverbal language 

4. Listen for what is not said 

5. Know exactly what the other person is saying

6. Be aware of “tune out” words 

7. Concentrate on “hidden” emotional meanings 

8. Be patient 

9. Hold your temper! 

10. Empathize with the Customer

How do you listen effectively to your customers?

  • Listening and thinking about what your response will be at the same time
  • The act of being 100% engaged when the customer is speaking.
  • Cutting the customer off because you know why he or she is calling
  • Ignoring the customer's issue to verify their account.

Offer friendly and personalized services

Robots are cool, but people would rarely choose to have a conversation with one. Show customers you aren't a machine. 

At the end of the day, it's how you make people feel that matters the most. Don’t be afraid to add personality to your service.

Here are a few tips for making each conversation memorable:

  • Greet the caller pleasantly and promptly
  • Identify yourself to the customer
  • Use the customer’s name
  • Every call is an important one
  • Go out of your way to customers
  • Validate your customer’s decision even if you do not agree with their choices
  • Use positive language

Treat others as you’d like to be treated is a good guiding principle behind offering outstanding service or sales through service.

Is this statement true or false?

  • True
  • False

Be honest about what you don't know

Have you ever heard “No” as a customer? How did you feel? Were you disappointed? 

Sometimes it may happen that we need to say “No” to our customers or deliver negative news. In fact, this is one of the most unpleasant parts of customer service. 

Dealing with negative news requires specific skills and self-control. It is not easy to say “No” and continue a smooth conversation. 

Nobody likes being lied to. A customer can't expect anything more than the truth. When you maintain an open dialogue and keep your customer informed at all times, it’ll earn your customers’ respect and commitment.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Begin with empathy
  • Explain why something cannot be done
  • Your explanation should have clarity and without any jargons
  • Offer alternatives - Concentrate on what you can do instead of what you can't
  • Make sure you follow through on any promises made to the customer
  • Make accurate commitments about timelines, facts, and figures

Practice Empathy

What is empathy? 

It’s the act of understanding another person’s experience: relating to another person in a way so that you see the world as they see it.

Put yourself in the customers' shoes, especially in tough situations. Not only will customers appreciate it; your empathy will become a competitive advantage. 

A company cannot be successful with a culture of apathy. You must master the lost art of empathy to deliver effective customer service.

Here are a few things you can do to display empathy:

  • Listen carefully
  • Allow them to ‘get it all out’ - Don't interrupt or assume
  • Begin with a positive statement, smile
  • Be respectful
  • Make it your problem
  • Understand their priorities
  • See the situation through their eyes
  • Show that you care
  • Make sure to end with a solution

Here is how you can work on your Empathy skills

Know your product

Here is why knowledge of the process and product will help you provide exceptional customer service:

  • You will have more confidence while devising a solution for your customers
  • You will be more effective in providing quality customer services to your customers as you would know exactly what the customer's issue is and therefore how to fix it
  • You will be able to customize solutions for your customers

How do you normally respond if you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?

  • If you absolutely cannot answer their question, respond with ‘I’m not 100% sure on that, but let me check with my resources and get back to you straight away.’
  • Tell them the truth that you do not know and to go away because they are bothering you.
  • You make up the answer and hope for the best!

Timeliness - Remember that every second counts

Customers hate to wait. 

They gain confidence when you respond quickly and solve their problems for good, and they are more likely to have an ongoing relationship with your brand.

Here are a few things you can do to be on time:

  • Answer calls as soon as they land on your phone
  • Don't be distracted 
  • If you place the customer's call on hold be sure to come back within the time promised
  • Convey timelines appropriately
  • Follow up to make sure the customer's issue is resolved within the timeline communicated

Wow Service

This call is a perfect example of how the right service attitude can build a positive experience for the customer. Please listen to this call and see for yourself.

Handling Complaints

Why do customers complaint?

Here are the top reasons for customers complaining about services received:

  • Promise not kept
  • Poor customer service experience
  • Being transferred from one department to the other without a resolution
  • Fraud
  • When they are unhappy with the services they paid for
  • When their issues are not resolved over a prolonged period of time

How to react to customer complaints

When Things Go Wrong

  • Make it simple for your customers to complain – only 4% actually do
  • Know how to apologize – it’s okay! It’s easy and customers appreciate it
  • The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always win
  • Even if the customer is having a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable
  • Deal with problems immediately and let the customer know what you’ve done (follow-up)
  • Value complaints – they are an opportunity to improve!

Steps to follow when a customer complaints

Here is a very effective 4 step approach to handling a complaint:

  • Control
  • Acknowledge
  • Refocus
  • Establish the solution

STEP 1: Control the situation: 

  • Determine the reason for the complaint
  • Assure the customer you are going to help and that you will do all that you can to solve the problem
  • Restate the customer’s problem statement
  • Listen very carefully and attentively
  • Make a note of important details
  • Display empathy
  • Remain composed.

STEP 2: Acknowledge that there is a problem : 

  • Identify the root cause of the problem
  • Investigate the situation
  • Apologize
  • Explain what happened.

STEP 3: Refocus on the solution

  • Tell the customer what you are going to do to solve the problem.
  • Focus on what you can do.
  • Offer your best solution.
  • Never assign blame – when you offer a solution, do not blame the customer.
  • Display empathy.
  • Offer an alternative solution

STEP 4: Establish the solution 

  • Thank the customer for allowing you to make things right.
  • Tell what you will do to avoid future problems.
  • Offer some sort of compensation or restitution.
  • Make a follow-up call or visit.

A customer is unhappy with the service they have received by one of your colleagues and would like to make complaint. What would you do in this instance?

  • Apologise to the customer and tell them that their complaint will be dealt with accordingly however you do nothing about it
  • Actively listen to the customer’s complaint, asking questions to make sure that you understand what they are unhappy about. Then patiently and calmly work with them to find a solution, and retain them as loyal customers after the problem has been resolved
  • Apologise to the customer for their experience, explain to them that you are new and are unable to handle complaints and then proceed to get the manager available in order for the complaint to be made
  • Ignore the customer until they go away
  • Pass the complaint on to someone else as you do not want to deal with it

Handling difficult customers

Here are a few things you should do when you come across a difficult customer:

  • Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and try to see things from their perspective.
  • Remember: The customer is not angry at you personally.
  • Focus on the problem, not the person’s attitude or behavior.
  • Display empathy towards the customer’s situation.
  • Think about what you can do and not what you can't.
  • Be part of the solution.
  • Take pride in turning an upset customer into a satisfied one.
  • Never interrupt when customers are telling their side of the story.

Resolve conflict - The right way

Select all of the things you should never say or do when dealing with a difficult interaction or situation. Check all that apply.

  • You should let the customer know that they need to speak to a different department about his situation
  • You should let the customer know it is not your fault.
  • You should jump to conclousions and interrup the customer whenever necessary.
  • You should lose your temper if the customer is rude.
  • You should listen to the customer actively

Here is how you wow your customers

This customer was not happy when she called. Listen to how the executive using clarity of explanation and empathy was able to send the customer happy and smiling.

Final Tips for great service

Do's and Don'ts of customer service

How to say "No" to your customers

Saying "No" Positively

Final words of wisdom

Make someone's day!