In Jenesis Software’s efforts to offer the highest quality support for customers, I embarked on a research mission. When most business publications talk about customer service skills, things like “being a people person” tended to take the spotlight. I am a people person, so what more could I do?
As a Jenesis Technical Support Rep, I have found that most of our customers do not contact us to tell us they are having a wonderful day and our software is working perfectly. They usually have a problem needing immediate attention. Compassion cannot be overlooked and is the stepping stone to building customer relations. It’s not about determining fault; it’s about me being compassionate and them knowing that I feel there pain and am on their side. I’ll reference the analogy of a doctor in an emergency room. When patients come to the ER, they do not want someone to say hello and start with small talk. They have an emergency that needs to be handled ASAP, but compassionately, by the doctor. In my Jenesis world, treating my “patient” urgently and compassionately, as a doctor would in the ER, I have come a long way in resolving issues, such as the simplest of a printer not being plugged in to a server requiring a reinstallation.
Knowing your customers and addressing them by name also helps build confidence and trust. They know you and you know them, which separates the gap of it just being business. We are friends and colleagues working together for a common goal of success. In a store you may know a person by a face; in our industry it is recognizing the voice at the first hello. Addressing customers by name is so easy and powerful. It’s a wonder and a shame that it doesn’t happen more often.
Following up with customers shows that you care. When I proactively call a customer to make sure things I did worked for them, there is a big difference when I hang up the phone. They truly appreciate it, and I have taken another step toward building a relationship with that customer. Waiting until the customer calls again, because I failed to resolve their problem the first time, definitely has a negative effect on our relationship. So, even if your customer is busy (as most are), a follow up call to see how they are doing creates a balanced and harmonious relationship. Studies have shown that the majority of customers will not express their opinions fully (if at all) using a mail-back system, and if they are unhappy, they may simply take their business to the competition. A phone call following up goes a long way.
Customer service options now include online chatting services and email, as well as the phone, yet many customers still favor talking with a person as opposed to electronic and automated methods of communication. While researching, I found an interesting fact: 90% of all written messages contain incomplete information. Based on this, I believe it’s important for us to encourage our customers to call us. I also believe the best thing might be to avoid having our customers go to voicemail altogether. What a concept! Even if I am in the middle of another call, I can:
- Simply request that person hold for a moment; and then,
- Pick up the incoming call. Let them know I am with another customer, but did not want them to go to voicemail, and tell them I will call them back as soon as I am done.
Immediately, customers are appreciative knowing someone is there to help them, if not immediately, shortly thereafter. We would not want to go to the ER to be met with an empty desk or a sign saying “We are busy, take a number”. There should always be someone there to greet you, even if you are not seen immediately.
Maintaining quality customer service is an ongoing process measured by statistically based tools, customer ideas for improvement, and our own experiences; we will always be learning! Still, the simplest part of quality customer service is to always treat others as you would like to be treated.