connecting with customer, Melissa Folette, Customer service coach

5 Steps Toward Improving Customer Relationships

5 Steps toward improving customer relationships:

It’s common knowledge for most business owners: Customers build the business. Sure, you have the best product on the planet.  And, you’ve certainly pulled out all the stops on branding and marketing. You’ve even hired a few employees. But, if your employees don’t connect with customers properly, you could be left holding the keys to an unsuccessful business.  To avoid low sales or mis-connects with potential customers, here are 5 steps you and your team can try.

Empowerment

Employees who have been empowered with an abundance of tools and information regarding the product or services your company offers are also better equipped to pass that knowledge onto your customers. By providing customers with a wide range of services or products relating to their specific needs, your employees will not only close the sale, but could potentially bring in higher sales with less work.

Listening

It seems like this should be a no-brainer, however, many customer service representatives commonly fail to follow this simple step. While listening to a customer, representatives may drift off and fail to hear ALL of what is being said. This leads to a path involving sloppy questioning and misunderstanding of overall customer wants. Your customers will pick up on the lack of interest from the employee and quickly turn to your competitor.

By engaging active listening skills such as correct posture and direct eye contact, employees will be better able to discern the customer’s needs or problem. This will also equip them with the power to foresee upcoming issues or questions your customer has. Through the power of listening, your staff and your customers will be able to clearly communicate and avoid potential problems with an order or service.

Courteous Name Calling

Courteous behavior is always a must when engaging with potential customers. No one wants to be talked down to or made to feel unappreciated- especially when they’ve come to spend their hard-earned money. Using polite phrases such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as opposed to ‘ya’ and ‘nope’ will go a long way with the overall atmosphere of your customer’s experience.

By learning a customer’s name from the start, your interaction with them will be much smoother and your customer will feel more at ease. They will appreciate your listening and move forward with their transaction with less hesitation.

Honesty

It’s common practice in successful businesses to try to accommodate customers in any way possible. However, when a customer’s request goes beyond your scope in a physical or even a moral way, it’s important to be upfront and honest. By allowing a customer to believe you can handle their request when you know you cannot, you create a level of distrust that is hard to get back.

It’s important to stress here that just because you cannot fulfill the customers initial request, a good customer service agent should offer an alternative. Highlight what you can offer in replace of something you can’t. This shows your customer you are trying to help them. You should, however, stress how the alternate product varies from the original idea and therefore give the customer a new set of expectations. With an alternate product or service in place, your customer is more likely to be happy with the outcome based on new expectations.

Empathy

Empathy, in short, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In customer service terms, empathy applies to truly understanding your customers needs in relation to budget, timing, and expectation. When you identify with your customers needs, you are better able to steer them in the direction most applicable to their situation.

One Happy Customer

By implementing these five basic skills in an ultra-focused way, your sales staff will be well on their way to creating long-lasting customer relations.

When a customer feels valued, you’ve hit gold.  Truly valued customers don’t mind spending more money.  They don’t mind waiting a little longer for quality products or services.  They come back more often. And they certainly will be your best form of advertising.

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