101 Ways to Make Yourself Indispensable at Work: Provide Excellent Customer Service

Customers generate revenue for a company; without them, there would be no reason for a company to be in business. Each customer has intrinsic value and should be treated with respect and professionalism.

To let customers know you appreciate them, be sensitive to their needs by intelligently and honestly focusing on their concerns. Listen when they talk to you and respond with empathy and understanding. Take nothing about what customers say for granted. Summarize what you heard and repeat it to the customer to be sure you have the correct facts and can address his or her needs. Maintain good eye contact and pay attention to nonverbal cues, which could indicate a discrepancy between the spoken words and actions. For instance, a customer may say a solution is fine but have a puzzled facial expression, which indicates confusion.

Learn what will keep your customers happily returning time and again. Develop a connection with them that strengthens not only your business relationship but also your personal one. Learn the names and
preferences of repeat customers. Get to know which customers prefer specific products and services your company offers. Know which customers may need extra care in the way their business is handled. Always be polite. If you do not satisfy your customers, you will find yourself with less and less business.

Be knowledgeable about your products and services. Learn as much as possible so that you can answer customers’ questions intelligently and honestly. In fact, be a fountain of information. Try the products
and services you promote, read your company’s available literature, ask questions of coworkers and the supervisor to be sure of essential points, and find out what facts are important to your customers. If
you do not know the answer to a customer’s question, find out from someone who does; don’t guess or misrepresent the company. Knowledge promotes confidence—both yours and the customer’s. In addition to being knowledgeable about your products, memorize your company’s policies so that you will know what to do if a customer has a problem.

So what do your customers want? Answer this question by thinking about what you want when you are a customer. Some universal customer wants include, but are not limited to, the following:

■ Pay attention to the customer—do not conduct personal business while a customer is present and set aside company business if possible. If you can’t set aside what you are doing right away, acknowledge the customer and let her know you’ll help her soon.
■ Immediately cease chatting with coworkers whenever a customer approaches.
■ Avoid cell phone texting and computer chatting while at work.
■ Attend to customers’ needs immediately; give them your full attention.
■ Be ready and able to answer basic questions about your products, services, and policies.
■ Be knowledgeable, helpful, and honest about your products and services.
■ Be willing to go beyond the usual to help customers.
■ Handle complaints professionally.
■ Be courteous, cooperative, honest, and friendly.
■ Respect your customer as a person and respect his or her time.
■ Summarize a problem the customer has in your own words and repeat your summary to the customer so that you are both sure you understand the problem.
■ When a problem occurs, explain your position and state what you can do to resolve the problem.
■ Be specific.
■ Show customers that they matter to you and your company; be happy to see them.
■ Follow up with customers.

Anticipate problems and complaints so you can avoid them. What could possibly go wrong in your dealings with customers? Can you do anything to minimize problems? You must convince customers that you care about them and their needs by being a problem-solver.

If a customer is angry or irritable, try to maintain a positive attitude by looking beyond the emotions to get to the root of the problem. Don’t become defensive or hostile, and don’t panic. By remaining calm and detached from the customer’s negativity and asking for particulars, you will be able to see the big picture more clearly. Remember: A frustrated customer may not be upfront and clear because anger could skew his perception. Give your full attention to the customer’s explanation and listen for clues as to how the customer would like to resolve the situation.

After determining what the problem is, acknowledge if an error has occurred on the company’s part and take immediate action to minimize the damage. In positive language, state what you can and cannot do by reasonably explaining your company’s position. Remember that doing nothing will add to the customer’s frustration. Figure out what you can do to improve the situation if it cannot be resolved in the manner the customer prefers. Be honest and specific. Give the customer time to absorb your proposed solution and be open to
counter-solutions. If nothing can be done immediately, ask how else you can satisfy the customer. Can you offer future products or services? Can someone else handle the problem? Can you make a future appointment to solve the problem? Do not manipulate the customer or the situation. No one wants to feel lied to or taken advantage of.

101 Ways to Make Yourself Indispensable at Work. 101 Ways to Make Yourself Indispensable at Work, ISBN: 9781435454323
Prepared for jhale@cba.ua.edu, Joanne Hale
© 2011 Safari Books Online, LLC. This download file is made available for personal use only and is subject to the Terms of Service. Any other use requires prior written consent from the
copyright owner. Unauthorized use, reproduction and/or distribution are strictly prohibited and violate applicable laws. All rights reserved.

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