Recently I needed to buy a new projector for our office. Without much knowledge in this area, I went to several electronics stores. I was looking for advice from an expert. What key features should I be looking for? Which brand offers the best value?
The first store had no projectors in stock. At the second store, several store assistants walked right by me--no offers to help. When I did catch someone's eye, they didn't know anything about projectors. Instead they pulled up a webpage and tried to decipher the specs with me.
Finally, the third store was able to quickly help me find the right information. They were friendly, well-informed and came up to say "hi" as soon as I walked in the store. Can you guess where I purchased the projector?
There are some key lessons in this experience. Here are three things you can do to offer great customer service:
1. Set a positive tone
From the get go, be positive and affirmative with customers. Take the lead as you address their issues. Always demonstrate that you're in control and will do all you can to resolve an issue. As Gregory Ciotti explains on the HelpScout blog, a positive tone indicates to the customer that you consider them more than a number. It's amazing what difference using positive language can make for a customer.
2. Act quickly
First impressions count in customer service. Research from Zendesk shows that the faster you respond to a customer the more satisfied they are with the experience. Make customer service an integral part of your business. Startup investor Brad Feld advocates spreading the responsibility for customer service across the company. Some companies go as far as encouraging all new employees to spend time answering customer enquiries. Imagine how much more your team would care about an issue if they were the ones who had to field the complaints.
3. Keep the customer front of mind
Early Google employee Douglas Edwards explained in his book, "I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee 59," how Google made its language fun and informal. The reason? Google keeps the end user in mind. Make your customer's experience personal. Do you know their name? Use it when you speak to them. Respond to tweets. Keep your customer front-of-mind. It's the only way to ensure you provide a truly great experience.
Now, imagine if in the first store I'd walked into, the assistant had been welcoming, provided the information I was after, and offered to order the projector for me. Perhaps they would have made a sale.
Providing great customer service requires focus and persistance. Start by setting a positive tone, acting quickly and keeping the customer front of mind. You'll be surprised how quickly it pays off!