Today I would like to talk about Customer Service. We in the IT Organization, often forget that our #1 priority should be our customers' satisfaction and that the Service Desk acts as the face of IT. We need to always be looking for better ways to serve our users and today, I want to refer to a couple of Customer Service blog posts.
Although I usually stick to the IT blog posts and articles, we can all learn a lot from other sectors when it comes to making our customers feel like gold. Of course, some of your Service Desk issues may be related to your old, legacy software or homegrown system. If so, take a look at the Test Drive offer below.
My favorite experience with superior customer service came while on a Princess Cruise. One of the great features of the cruise was anytime dining. Unlike many cruise ships where you have a specific time and table, seated with 8 other people, I was able to have a table for 2 every night at any time between 5-10 pm. MaÃ®tre d' Francisco, always had a warm, friendly smile for everyone. Even though there were 50 people clamoring for his attention, when he spoke with me, he always made me feel like his most important patron. I do not know how he did it, but the experience left me calm, happy and patient as I waited for my table for 2.
If your Service Desk customers do not feel that way, then there is room for improvement. Let's take a look at a few tips from the pros. Some of the tips from Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor's post Back to Basics - Good Old Common Sense Customer Service Tips:
1. "Please" and "thank you" always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused.
2. "You're welcome" is the best replacement for "no problem."
3. A frown is a smile upside down. Stand on your head if you must; but SMILE, darn it!
4. You cannot do two things well at once. Pay attention to the call or the customer.
5. Learn what phrases frustrate your customers. They're probably the same ones that bother you.
6. Drop a personal handwritten note to a client and just say "thanks for being a good client."
7. The old "don't tell ‘em what you can't do; tell ‘em what you can do" applies to most, if not all, customer interactions.
8. Get excited!
9. Oh, and smile. That needed to be said twice.
In the Customer Service article by Mike Michalowic The 51 Best Customer Service Tips For Entrepreneurs, he shares many excellent suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Use active listening. One of the best experiences customers can have is to know they are understood. Listen to your customers. Let them know you have heard them by rephrasing and communicating what they have told you. This makes sure you and the customer are on the same page and lets customers know they've been heard. You both win!
2. Let them rest assured. Customers want to feel confident in your ability to guide them through the fray. Let them know that you have their best interest in mind. Be present, communicate often and always follow through.
3. Dump the script. The thing about scripts is that they can be memorized. You know the essence of what it is you need to say. Now you need to customize it so that it addresses the needs and desires of your customer. The only way to do that is to listen and respond to the conversation at hand. Get off the script. Get engaged.
4. Use a pleasant tone. Sound like you love it! You should sound like you enjoy what you do and like you are ready to do business. Keep your tone energetic, crisp and clear. Speak at a moderate speed - not too fast and not too slow. Be interested.
5. Please and thank you. Good manners will take you far in small business. There's nothing wrong with being effective and a pleasure. Be a little ball of sunshine to your customers and let them know by the way you handle them that you value them. Thank them for calling. Be grateful for the opportunity to interact with your customers.
6. No waiting. Never leave your customer on hold for more than 30 seconds. If the interruption is that important, take down your customer's phone number and get right back to them as soon as you are done putting out whatever fire caused you to eject from the conversation in the first place.
7. Follow up. Whenever handling customer complaints, always follow up after the complaint has been resolved. Follow through on all commitments. (Automated emails can help keep the customer in the know)
8. Remember the other 93%. It is said that communication is only 7% verbal. The rest is tone of voice and body language. When you're communicating digitally, you have to remember that your tone won't be captured with one or two word answers. Take some time to flesh out a response that does a better job of creating a positive customer experience. When you meet in person, watch your tone and body language and pay attention to your customer's tone and body language as well. (Oh, but you are on the phone, you say. Well, smile, because your customers can "hear" it.)
Let me know how you help your staff improve their customer service, because excellent customer service is exactly what every Service Desk should be trying to achieve.
Flickr Image by ell brown