Excelling at Customer Interactions

November 23, 2017 by in category Development and Team Building tagged as with 0 and 0

What is customer service to you and how has it impacted your views about a company? If you have had a bad experience, you may have come across a rude individual who didn’t care too much about how they represented their business. Excellent customer service, on the other hand, is about a significant customer interaction that exceeds expectations because the company took the time and effort to go the extra mile for their customers.

Studies show that on average, the chance of converting a new customer to make a purchase for your products or services is at about 5-20%, the prospects for repeat sales from an existing customer is at about 60-70%.

This says a lot about the importance of retaining a customer. Let’s look at two straightforward ways to excel at your customer interactions to keep your current client base happy.

Building rapport

When it comes to keeping your existing customers content, the most crucial aspect is your connection with the client. Building rapport to establish a connection is very important in your relationship with your client base, it is not merely a one-time transaction.

To connect with a client on a personal level, always carry a smile with all of your conversations. You can create a memorable interaction with the client simply by giving them a warm greeting and by sharing something about yourself, about your day, or about your company.

The other option is to connect on behalf of your company. This would be a situation where it might be easy to say something negative about the company, you choose to say something positive instead. For example, if the software does not have the capability for the customer’s needs, you mention a feature that is working that may serve as a workaround instead.

Working with upset customers

The first thing about working with angry customers is to take yourself out of the situation. Often times an upset customer will be angry — she has already invested a good amount of time to trying to solve her problem on her own, and her fruitless efforts lead to her contacting you. Where an upset customer might come on the line with a short fuse, it’s important for you to learn to understand and not to take anything personally. Instead, restate the customer’s concerns and discern what the underlying pain point is for her.

Use dialogue that shows that you are actively listening, beginning with “Let me see if I understand your problem…” As the customer speaks, repeat back to her the issues — always looking for confirmation with a “yes.” Lastly, communicate what you can do to help with addressing the customer’s pain point. Even if what you can do is limited, help guide the customer toward a solution as best you can.

Putting the two together into action

The cornerstones to excelling at customer service are in the combination of building a strong rapport and being prepared to handle an upset customer.

The key for a customer service agent is their ability to combine the two actions together using the LAURA framework of empathy with Listening, Acknowledging, Understanding, Relating, and Acting.

  • Listening — After you introduce yourself, allow your customer to speak and just listen. Pay attention to cues about what the customer is calling about, at what stage in the support journey he is in, and his attitude toward the problem.
  • Acknowledging — As your customer speaks, acknowledge what is said. You have listened to what is wrong, and now it is time to acknowledge it. If the customer is lost, or angry, acknowledge how he feels, and that you are here to help.
  • Understanding — By listening to and acknowledging the challenges the customer is facing, it becomes possible to understand what he is feeling. Understand how a customer feels and ensure that he feels supported in your contact.
  • Relating — As you understand how your customer feels and what he is concerned about, share the sentiment. Let the customer know that you relate to his frustration, concern, or confusion, to further strengthen your rapport.
  • Acting — Once you have made it through all previous steps, it is time to act. How can you best serve the customer, in the spot that he is in right now? Uncover what he is truly seeking, whether that be tech support, a refund, etc. and provide it as best you can.

Conclusion

The role of a customer service representative goes beyond simply taking calls for customers’ complaints.Truly excelling at customer interactions takes hard work: building rapport, understanding a customer’s problem, empathizing with them, and maneuvering through the entire interaction to discern what the customer is truly after.

However, when customer service representatives are knowledgeable in being effective and they work to treat a customer well, customers notice and a business’ bottom line will benefit. Excelling at customer interactions is more than working as a customer service representative, it is accepting the role of a trusted advisor that considers customers beyond a single transaction — as a customer for life.

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