Every interaction with customers counts. Great customer service is not created through face-to-face interactions alone. Great customer service is provided in person, online, and on the phone. Salespeople often maintain a smile on their faces while speaking to clients on the phone. It keeps them focused on their tone and relayed attitude, assuming a client can hear you smiling over the phone. Positivity and great customer service begets brand advocacy. You want all your customers to be your advocate. It starts with each interaction.
Let Them Know It’s an Option
Owners understand great ongoing communication with consumers is important. However, in modern times, a number of consumers assume getting a human on the phone is not an option, even during operation hours. Many brands filter calls through automation or ask consumers to offer feedback or questions via email. If consumers have a past involving the inability to get a human on the phone or a returned email, they become jaded. These days, it seems uncommon to be available to your customers. Let customers know you will (and would like to) talk to them on the phone. Taking it a step further, alert them of available phone hours.
Imagine you are speaking to your customer face-to-face. Sometimes it’s easier to be rude or dismissive with a customer due to the afforded distance. However, every interaction counts. Be as courteous and interested in helping them as if they had money in their hands, ready to make a purchase in your store. It’s similar to the smiling personality of the salesperson on the phone in the introduction; customers can often feel a person’s disposition from over the phone. Make sure you are making great impressions all the time. If you can’t immediately answer a question, assure the customer you will get back to them with the answer.
Make notes during and after the call. This keeps a reminder of getting back to the consumer if need be. Also, it allows for more personable interactions. Did you hear the customer talking to a young child in their home during the conversation? Make a note that they have a child, placing it in your customer management system’s notes. The next time you send them a direct mailer or coupon, you could send an extra coupon to use toward purchase for their child (if applicable). It’s highly likely the customer will be pleased by your attention to detail and customer service.
Are you a thought leader regarding your chosen vertical? For instance, if yours is a café business, can you answer questions about brewing and different types of coffee? Customers appreciate knowledge. They appreciate owners who can convey knowledge on their chosen vertical. Ask your customer if they have any questions at all related to your product or industry. They may feel a competitor’s product is a bit superior to yours; yet, your level of consumer service and attentiveness far exceeds your competitor; so, the customer feels what you have to offer outweighs that of the competition despite a lack of quality. Remember that business is not about services and products, dollars and cents. It’s about making an exchange of value for consumer dollars. How much value can you offer aside from that afforded by your services/products?
Have you considered taking public speaking lessons? Have you considered bringing in a consultant, who can offer insights to you and your staff regarding phone and in-person speaking interaction? It may improve abilities for better expression and customer service. Furthermore, connected to the thought-leader sentiment above, you could host in-house discussions related to your products and industry. This may not work well for a coffee house owner (but could); however, think about products related to DIY tasks. Do you think a number of customers could benefit from attending a learning workshop? Great public speakers make good impressions on consumers.
Melanie Jones freelances for Retail Packaging.