Lots of people in America are starting businesses right now. Some say we are in a golden age of entrepreneurship. Whatever you think about that, if you are starting a business you are sooner or later have to deal with customers and clients. Depending on who you are, this may be okay. Or, it might strike fear deep down in the pit of your heart! Not everybody is cut out for customer service. This includes some people who think they are good at it. Customer service is part art, part science. Moreover, it takes a lot of time and energy. If you run a business or want to be a top CEO, I guarantee you that you do not have the time or energy necessary to do customer service right. If you are trying to do it all yourself, either your customer service or your business itself is going to suffer. Something has got to give.
Important Customer Service Skills
Sometimes you may simply just be unaware of what exactly good customer service entails. There is one personality trait, in particular, that you certainly want all employees to have; that is patience. However, there are other skills that are imperative to top of the line customer service as well. These skills will help your employees to conduct a thorough, accurate customer needs analysis for every single interaction.
- Good communication skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Time management skills
- Persuasive abilities
- Relaxed, calm demeanor
These skills may not be what you read about in entrepreneur books, but they are absolutely imperative to great customer service.
Say Sorry, And Mean It
Sometimes, even the best customer service professional makes a mistake or has a bad day. In these cases, a special skill set is required. Save the assertiveness techniques for your employees. You need to know how to apologize to a customer. Not only do you need to know how to say sorry, you also need to know how to mean it. Business owners should always be able to accept responsibility for mistakes and wrongdoing. Accountability is crucial in business, and it is important that you model how to accept accountability to your employees. This will help you to provide excellent customer service in the event that something goes wrong elsewhere in the customer shopping experience.
If you are still unsure of your ability to teach these skills and traits to your employees, thanks to small business technology developments, there is an alternative you may wish to consider.
What Is The Alternative?
There are great ways to outsource these duties, but some people are scared of this idea. I’m here to tell you that this nervousness is due to people’s unfamiliarity with the way this industry has progressed in recent years. In the old days, call centers were the bane of just about everybody’s existence. Remember Dell Hell, anybody? The good thing about that dark day in customer service history is that it was something of a wake-up call for call centers in general. Businesses now know that it was not good enough to choose the cheapest option for customer service. There had to be a better way.
Brand Management Specialists
Enter the days of brand management specialists. This is the way that call centers have progressed into the complex needs of the hyper-connected 21st century. Global Response is one of the best examples of this sort of business, and they can integrate themselves into every aspect of your business. But don’t worry. They won’t get in the way.
Deep Study Of Business
A modern branding specialist will make a deep study of your business: your values, your problem solving techniques, the priorities you have in the way your customers should be made to feel. They can even spend time around your offices, taking in your company culture. When they can answer any question and even make certain decisions just as you would yourself (on your best day, after a good night’s sleep, when you’re in an awesome mood), they can take over your phone calls, email queries, and social media burden. They won’t take over all of your unified communications and collaborations, but they can handle all the customer-facing communications, extending your brand with each gracious and helpful encounter.
If you run a business, sooner or later you won’t be able to handle customer service anymore. Don’t allow your time and energy to be sucked into the void of these tasks. Handling customer questions, feedback, and complaints about your returns policy can be helpful, but it can be emotionally tiresome when you are the boss. It’s better to leave this stuff to the pros, then let them grow the brand in a better way than you could on your own.
Image from http://www.mycustomer.com/community/blogs/mhinshaw/getting-your-customer-experience-to-deliver-on-your-brand-promise-an-action