Customer Service Inside and Out
By Pam Melish
For years, I worked as a Purchasing Manager which required interaction with all suppliers. You might say I was in the catbird seat. I always expected the best service from each and every one of them! Twenty plus years later I took a leap of faith and changed jobs. Now, I am the Customer Service Representative for the competition. I am on the other side of the fence. What was I thinking?!
No matter what side of the fence you are one, over the past 25 years, I have learned a lot about customer service. I know what I want when I’m in the customer role and now I know what expectations I need to deliver to my customers. I know there are universal truths to providing customers the best service possible. Are you providing them?
4 key essentials to providing outstanding customer service:
1. Knowledge. It is important to know your customer’s product and expectations. Review in detail what is required to meet their expectations. Knowledge of their specific requirements will give you the ability to see things through their eyes should something go bump in the night.
2. Communication. Communication is the key to all things. In order to understand the issue at hand, it is essential to listen carefully to what the customer has to say. It is important to clearly communicate your plan to resolve the issue/problem to their satisfaction. In fact, if ever possible, communicating to your customer in advance that there may be a delay in providing the product/service actually gives them the opportunity to assist in putting a satisfactory plan in place. Always keep in mind that being proactive is much better than being reactive.
3. Patience. Dealing with an irate customer can be overwhelming, especially when they are not being their usual self. Be patient and listen carefully to what they are saying, not how they are presenting their complaint (tone of voice or yelling at you). Let’s face it, we have all been in this position. By listening intently to them, you will better understand why they are upset and what is the best plan of action to resolve the issue.
4. Honesty. Always be honest and up front with your customer. They need to know they can always trust you and your company. It’s also your integrity on the line. Don’t ever cross that line.
By following these tips, you will grow in your relationship with your customer as you will be able to demonstrate to them that you are always there to meet their needs.