By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training
FACT: No matter what you call your customers (citizens, members, students, clients, taxpayers, etc. etc. etc.), they are the ones who are providing your organization with its income.
The single greatest way a company can distinguish itself from its competition is by the level of service it offers and the higher level of service you offer, the more successful you will be. Communications and listening skills are critical in delivering prime customer service. We’re going to give you a big start, 6 ways you can communicate better.
* Welcome the customer on the phone or in person. A big welcome will set the stage. Be obviously friendly. Be business friendly. Leave out friendly and you are just business as usual. Mediocre.
* Be a good listener. That means give good eye contact as well. Remember, hearing is physical; listening is intellectual.
* Concentrate – then concentrate more. Don’t let your mind wander. Stay with the customer. Give the customer undivided attention.
* Keep an open mind. That means let the customer talk. Don’t try and finish their sentence. Don’t interrupt.
* Give verbal feedback you’re listening. Silence is only golden when it’s supposed to be. A short “I understand” or “I see” or even “that’s good” will help show you’re listening. Verbal clues help avoid sounding bored or mechanical.
* When possible, take notes as they talk. Easy when you’re on the phone certainly; however, in person can be a bit tricky. Use your phone to take notes if you can; carry a pen or pencil and small pad of paper for the in-person situations. Both will come in handy. And feel free to repeat their question.
All the best,