Have you ever been to a restaurant and experienced lousy service? Imagine the kind of place where the wait staff are rude, your meal take sages to come, and your food is bad. How would your experience change if the wait staff were friendly and welcoming? Imagine that as soon as you walked in, you felt welcome and at home.

You might be a little more forgiving if your meal was late. When it comes to customer service, first impressions count--they set the tone of your interaction. Being honest and upfront, and making it clear you're prepared to do all you can to solve a customer's issues, will go a long way to keeping them happy.

These same principles translate to customer service for any product or service. Here are three essential tips for great customer service that we've learned at Canva:

1. Integrate your customer service

Customer service shouldn't be an afterthought. In fact, without your customers, the rest of your company would be redundant. A tightly integrated customer service team keeps your customers happy, and makes sure the priorities for your company on are in line with what your customers want.Give your support team a direct line to the decision makers in your company. Make the customer a priority.

2. Start with empathy

Start with empathy when responding customers. Ask yourself, "what is it that the customer actually wants?" Then do your best to get them to that point as quickly as possible. The best solution mightn't the one they're asking for. You have a broader understanding of how your company works, the features you have on offer, and the projects that your team is working on, so use that knowledge to delight them with amazing service.

3. Give your team autonomy

Speed is critical to providing good customer service. If I'm working on an urgent project, I want help today, not tomorrow. To act quickly, your team needs autonomy. Empower them to solve customer issues. That could mean allowing them to offer a certain amount of credit. Online shoe retailer Zappos gives its support team autonomy to make decisions that "wow" the customer. Trust your team and they'll deliver a great experience for your customers.

Take note next time you're greeted with a smile at a restaurant, or acknowledged as you walk into a store. Think about how it makes you feel. Small actions can have a big impact with customer service. By getting the basics right, you'll be well on your way to providing a great experience for your customers.

Published on: Aug 21, 2014
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