15 Tips for Better Customer Service Communication
MHC Team September 24th, 2020
When you’re trying to build your company, it’s vital that you focus on your assets. Your ability to provide stellar customer service builds brand equity and keeps your company valuable.
So what can you do to improve customer service? Here are some quality tips that you can use to provide better customer service.
How you deal with customer service communication can make or break your business. Even a single customer on the receiving end of bad service can damage your reputation. The best option is to give excellent service across the board.
Making your customer service better isn’t as complicated as it might sound, especially if you follow a few simple rules. When you take the time to interact with your customers and deal with any questions in a positive way, you’ll enjoy increased customer loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.
As good customer service techniques have such a dramatic effect on your business’ reputation and success, it’s one of the first things you should learn about when growing a business.
We’ve outlined the 15 golden rules of great customer service communication below so you’ll be able to implement them easily.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Friendly Tone | 2. Positive Language | 3. Speak Their Language | 4. Communicate Clearly | 5. Train Your Staff | 6. Chatbots | 7. Reward System | 8. Feedback | 9. Communication Times | 10. Time is Money | 11. Brand Tone | 12. Personal Touch | 13. Manage Expectations | 14. Don’t Be Pushy | 15. Invest Resources in Customer Service
1. Make Your Tone Friendly, Inviting, and Consistent
Tone is everything when it comes to customer service communications.
Even the best advice or assistance isn’t helpful when it’s delivered poorly. As such, you’ll need to make sure that your customers are always addressed with friendliness and welcomeness.
Your customers should never feel as if they’re taking up your time or that their problems are too small. The more invited they feel, the more they’ll get in touch and interact with you.
Use customer journey mapping to learn what your customers actually go through. From there, you can reverse engineer this experience to better provide for them.
2. Use Positive Language
Choosing to use positive language over negative language is a simple yet effective way to make customers feel better about their experience with you.
There will be times when you cannot provide the customer with exactly what they’re looking for but you can use positive language to help them. If you can’t help the customer directly, proactively connect them to someone who can and keep the conversation helpful and positive.
In written communication, always check the tone from the customer’s perspective. If the CS communication is conveying something negative, such as an out of stock item, positively suggest alternatives or easy options for a refund.
3. Speak Their Language
Chances are, your customers won’t know as much about your business, products or industry as you do. When you use lingo and jargon that customers don’t understand, you’re at risk of alienating and irritating them. You never want your customers to feel stupid or inferior.
This can be a risk in technical and legal industries but getting the right balance is crucial in allowing customers to feel comfortable talking to you. As much as you don’t want to use complicated terms, you also don’t want to patronize your customers.
The key to better customer service is to speak their language. Know who your customers are and find clear ways in which to describe products, services, or solutions.
4. Communicate Clearly And Focus On Solving Problems
You communicate, but do you communicate clearly?
There’s no room for ambiguity in customer service, so make sure that you and your staff always speak with deliberateness. This step alone will help you to avoid problems and will answer questions that customers might have before they even come about.
Use encouraging language that lets people know that you’re attentive to their needs and both able and willing to solve problems. Closed-ended negative statements don’t allow for growth and can ruin your customer’s trust.
Evolve past a transactional approach and move toward a more holistic point of view. Your customers need to feel part of the journey long-term, and not as though they’re just another phone call, e-mail, or chat conversation.
5. Train Your Staff To Become Active Listeners
We’ve all had that experience when we’re talking but know the person isn’t listening. One of the main keys to outstanding customer service is to listen and pay attention to what your customer is saying.
Even if a complaint or issue is difficult to solve, when you proactively listen, you’ll show the customer that you’ve understood them and will work hard to rectify it. Often, unhappy customers will forgive even large mistakes if they can see that you’ve listened and taken their complaint onboard.
Active listening is gold for customer service communication in this day and age. We’re inundated with technology and it’s more difficult than ever to not get distracted by it. As such, details get lost in the mix, as everyone is just trying to get their own points across.
Some attributes of active listening for better customer service include reserving judgment, asking the right questions, repeating a customer’s concerns to them, and offering clear and direct solutions. Your employees will feel cared for when they can obviously tell that you’re listening to and engaged with them.
6. Adopt Chatbots And Other Tech Tools
Technology is on your side if you’re aiming for better customer service communications. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and chatbots are a huge reason for that.
In fact, we’ve reached a point that customers even prefer chatbots. They’re more intuitively built than ever and are constantly improving.
Having a responsive chatbot in place is often more productive than having your customers sit on hold for several minutes while waiting for a representative.
Studies also show that you can save 30% on your operating costs by incorporating a chatbot alone.
7. Focus On The Reward System
If you want to provide better customer service, it isn’t enough to just help your customers when they have a problem. Instead, find new ways to incentivize them to do more business with you.
Look around and you’ll notice that the majority of successful businesses today use some form of a reward system. This could mean instant savings when they use their account number or loyalty card.
Perhaps you get them to sign up for your e-mail list, where they’ll receive discounts and promotion codes. Regardless of how you execute these campaigns, a reward system is essential to any customer service goals.
8. Collect Customer Feedback
Take each customer service communication experience as an opportunity to take in data from your customers. You can use this data to learn more about what makes them tick, so you can serve them better.
One of the most common forms of customer feedback is the survey. Have your customers fill out a brief survey at the end of each customer service call or chat so you can get immediate grades on how you’re doing.
This data can help you to fine-tune your strategies and serve them better. You can even incentivize your customers to fill out these surveys by offering them a small discount on a subsequent purchase, or a free item.
Since you’re actively taking in this feedback, always have plans to make changes that count.
Discover the 7 Most Important Questions to Ask Prospective Customers
9. Outline Your Communications Times
There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than not being able to reach a business when they need to. Yet everyone can appreciate that business don’t usually operate around the clock.
By clearly outlining the times when your business is available to contact, customers will adjust their expectations accordingly. This also extends to email response times and callbacks. For better customer service, be clear about how long a customer can expect to wait for you to get back to them about their query.
10. Time is Money, So Act Accordingly
Always recognize that time is of the essence in customer service communication.
As the saying goes, “time is money.” However, much time was worth before, just know that it is worth far more in a Web 2.0 world.
Your customers have infinite options at their fingertips, so they are less likely to put up with a company that takes forever to get back with them on an issue. Set a response time maximum for your customer service matters, and begin priding yourself on answering customers quickly.
However, always have solutions for them when you do reach back out. The last thing you’d want to do is rush to help them because this can create mistakes that take more time to correct.
Even if you reach back out to let the customer know you’re still fact-finding and troubleshooting, they’ll feel included in the process rather than in the dark.
11. Use a Consistent Brand Tone
Your customers will make assumptions about your business based on industry and branding. Creating and sticking to a brand tone allows you to stay consistent and give customers what they expect.
When your customer service tone is at odds with your business, it creates a contrast that will make customers lose trust in your company.
An example of this would be a law firm that used casual and colloquial language in some of its customer service communications. By using very informal language in an industry that is typically formal and serious, customers will feel confused and see it as unprofessional.
This is in contrast to a business that suits informality more, like a skate shop or an entertainment company. For these companies, an informal tone is the better customer service choice.
12. Add a Personal Touch
If you have a small business, returning customers or account holders, you can often make your customers feel valued by adding a personal touch. This could be anything from simply remembering their name to asking about their families.
Remembering the last conversation you had with a customer and referring to it is a powerful way to make customers feel cherished and it will make for better customer service.
In certain industries, personal touches could even be sending cards thanking them for doing business with you. A conveyancer could send flowers on completion date or even a Christmas card for the customer’s first Christmas in their new home.
Even large companies reap huge benefits from keeping things personal. By using customer communication management software, your customers can update personal preferences and control the services and communication they receive from you. This will make customers feel individually respected.
13. Manage Customer Expectations
Overpromising and under-delivering is a surefire way to lose customers. It’s far better to accurately and honestly describe what you will do for them or underpromise and over-deliver.
Managing the expectations of a customer comes in many forms. This could be giving them a timeframe for a service, an honest estimation of cost or letting them know how their issue will be resolved.
When your customer understands the process, they will be far happier even in difficult situations. Providing updates is a good way to manage a customer’s expectations and keep them in the loop.
14. Don’t Be Pushy
No customer likes to be pressured into something, even if it’s a service they want. For better customer service, provide customers with all the information they need, being helpful, and giving them control over their own decisions.
Being pushy will most likely intimidate customers and lose your business. Keep CS communication upbeat and cooperative.
15. Invest Time, Effort And Resources In CS
Improving customer service communications requires a holistic approach. While each of the tips above is valuable on its own, putting all of them into practice will make a difference to your customers. You’ll be showing them that you value them. By taking the time to listen to their queries and provide positive responses, customer loyalty will improve.
To take control of your customer service and provide better communications, you also need top-notch customer service communication software. By streamlining your operations and offering personalized experiences, you’ll be on track to offering excellent CS.
Provide Better Customer Service Communications And Retain Your Customers
As you can see, providing better customer service is possible with a bit of deliberateness. Your company can grow by leaps and bounds when you build the highest level of brand equity with your customers.
We would love to help you treat your customers better by adopting some of our automation tools and customer communications strategies. Contact us today to talk to our experts!