BUSINESS TIP – CUSTOMER SERVICE
17 August 2015 // By Kat Atkins
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND DEALING WITH A DIFFICULT CUSTOMER
I have been an Event Host, worked in Sales and managed luxury apartments … I’ve taught littlies in a Kindy and trained adults in the workplace. I’ve spent time as a Helicopter Rescue Swimmer and even waited on tables…
Yes, quite a variety, however one common denominator of all these jobs is customers. As you can imagine, I have dealt with a very large range of clientele with many curly requests in my time.
Whatever your job or business, customer service should be your number one priority. You want to provide an enjoyable experience so customers will return and recommend you to their friends.
My top five words for providing good service is: Patience, Attentiveness, Calmness, Time Management, Knowledge.
Take note of the little things – this is what people really appreciate. If you have made one step in your customers day easier by shopping with you… or you have given your full attention to that customer making them feel important and provided them with a pleasant experience – you will build yourself an honest and reliable brand. (Plus it’s good manners!)
Consistency in your service should be a high priority – read my past blog on Branding Tips.
This will help you think of those little things that make your business excel.
Customer Service is certainly the way you address people but also how you attend to a customers requests. Some people are happy to discover things out on their own or already know exactly what they want, others may want your opinion – be guided by your customer. Know your product but learn how to read people and how much information you need to give, some just want the bigger picture, others like the all the finer details.
Clear communication is key and even more important when you come across a challenging customer.
See below some of my little tips on how to deal with a difficult customer in the right manner.
Always take any constructive criticism on board and be thankful for it as it will help your business grow.
Always stay calm when dealing with a difficult client. A little trick I use is “Relax the shoulders” – body language plays such a huge part when dealing with people. (Once I relax the shoulders, the rest of my body follows and I usually can’t help but smile a little – A friendly calm face is usually harder for the customer to be angry at…)
As frustrating as a situation may seem, never resort to calling someone unpleasant or an idiot… Let them vent, show them that you are listening, apologise where necessary and try and work with them to resolve the issue.
The customer may not always be right, but they are still a customer. Remember to focus on the customer’s needs; do not let yourself be distracted by their manner.
At times you may have to step outside of the box and change your way of communicating to a way they can comprehend. More often than not, the customer will appreciate that you tried. There will always be some customers that are hard to please; just do your best!
A helpful tip that I have passed on to my employees and trainees along the way is to choose your words carefully. This is a good exercise for your staff as well:
“We are out of stock” and “I don’t know”
“This product will be available next month, I can notify you when it comes in” and “Let me find out for you”.
(*Did you also pick up on the little trick there on how I’ve just grown the email data base with a positive vibe?)
If a task is beyond your ability, be honest, don’t waste your customers time. It is better to refer them to another provider and set yourself extra goals if this request is something to aspire to.
Remember everybody has their own story and sometimes situations occur that are out of your control and you may come across that one customer that no matter what you do, they wont be happy … Relax the shoulders, smile and help where you can.
Remember you still have to put food on your table… Always listen, be reasonable – but don’t sell yourself short, apologise if you are unable to assist, offer another suggestion if available. If your customer can see that you are doing your best to help, (hopefully) they will be thankful for your time. – You can’t always please everyone, but you can be a nice person.