The Delicate Balance

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The Delicate Balance

Customer service is key to providing the best experience to your clients. You know how it feels when you encounter a snarky person on the phone when you’ve called to get information or to get something resolved. Companies like Zappos aim to deliver WOW customer service. Part of it, of course, is that they take anything back as a return, no questions asked. Not all of our businesses can support that, especially service industries. With reviews on Yelp and the long-lasting things people say about you in cyberspace, you want everyone to feel served. The first thing for you to look at in your business is the level of skill you or your employees have at delivering excellent customer service. Here are the seven most important skills you need:

Empathy, patience and consistency. Some customers will be angry and need to vent. Some have a lot of questions or just want someone to talk to. Decide how to handle all of them and provide the same level of patient and understanding service every time.

Adaptability. Customers are different. Some of your regulars could even change weekly. Handle the surprises and try to test the waters. Then adapt accordingly. Process.

Clear communication. Ensure you convey to customers exactly what you mean in the nicest way. Use authentically positive language, no matter what. Never end a conversation without being certain the customer is satisfied.

Work ethic. Be sure you, or your staff, see the problem through to its resolution and promptly. The delicate balance dictates that you don’t spend too much time handling one customer while others are waiting.

Knowledge. Your customers rely on you for knowledge. Stay infor med but don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Customers will appreciate the honesty and your efforts to find the right answer.

Thick skin. The customer’s always right… right? Figure out how to swallow your pride and accept blame or negative feedback. Feedback is an opportunity to change the way it goes next time. Remember that Yelp reviews are feedback opportunities to change something.

Learn. There must be a willingness to learn from things that didn’t go as well as they could have. Providing good customer service is a continuous learning process that will get you to 100% satisfaction.

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