As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” This holds a lot of weight with customer service workers as well as administrative staff, who are often the initial point of contact for a company’s clients, vendors and other business contacts. Is your team ready with the right customer service mindset?
Providing good customer service is the key to attracting and keeping business. And it doesn't take much to turn people off to your company. In fact, according to an OfficeTeam survey, 59 percent of workers polled stated it would take one or two bad customer service experiences to decide not to work with a company in the future. Unfortunately, respondents also said they encounter bad service at least once a month. See the infographic below for more research findings.
Your administrative and customer service staff, in particular, play a key role in how others perceive your organization. While it’s easy to provide quality service when dealing with simple situations, the real challenge for your employees is when they face difficulty, like rude or angry people. Here are five ways to bring out a customer service mindset when it’s needed most:
1. Be head cheerleader
As the boss, you lead the cause. You can’t expect your staff to provide excellent service if it’s not a personal commitment of your own. If you’re going out of your way to exceed expectations with everyone you meet at work, your employees are more likely to follow suit.
2. Don’t expect it to come naturally
The most important customer service mindset to possess includes the ability to listen and read nonverbal cues, strong verbal and written communication, patience and sound judgment.
Not everyone will excel in all of these areas, so invest in training when needed. It’s especially helpful to have people engage in role-plays to learn the correct way to handle certain situations. You might even choose to do this periodically as a refresher on providing top-notch service.
3. Allow creative solutions
Even if there are standard procedures in place, allow staff to make their own judgment calls sometimes. A customer has received a defective product? An employee might let the customer know he’ll work directly with the person packing the replacement to make sure the one going out is perfect. Going above and beyond can help to rebuild the relationship.
4. Promote the value of negative feedback
While it’s certainly not fun to hear people vent frustration or complaints about your company, let employees know that there’s an upside: People are giving you the chance to make things right. Your staff can help to turn around the situation or, at the very least, provide empathy and action that diffuses the tension. If your employees have had sufficient training, they should be prepared for what comes their way.
5. Reward those who consistently practice good customer service
Be sure to recognize those who have an excellent customer service mindset. Make a real effort to acknowledge group achievements. Quality service is a team endeavor and you want everyone to be motivated to do their best, even if they’re just supporting someone else.
Keeping up with salary and retention trends is also a great way to reward your hard-working customer service staff. According to the OfficeTeam 2017 Salary Guide, customer service and call center professionals are in high demand by employers and can expect a 3.9 percent average increase in starting salaries over the next year. Are you offering your staff up-to-date salaries and benefits?
This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated to reflect more current information.