Regardless of what business you are in, customer service is one of the most important pieces for a successful business. Excellent customer service can create loyal customers for life who are willing to refer your business to friends, family and colleagues.  Here are 9 simple reminders to start the pattern of giving exceptional customer service.

1. Start The Call Right

Find out who you are speaking with right away. Make sure the customer’s problem and desired solution are stated as early in the call as possible. If a customer has a hard time explaining the problem, ask pointed questions to help clarify.

2. Stay Attentive

Take-notesThe ability to really listen to customers is so crucial for providing great service for a number of reasons. Listen to the client, try not to talk over them and take notes so you remember the details of the call.

3. Keep the Conversation Focused

It’s just fact- certain personality types just have a hard time staying on topic. When a customer continually shifts a phone conversation to topics unrelated to reaching the desired solution, treat every response as an opportunity to nudge the conversation back in the right direction.
Also, be sure you set an example. Don’t let yourself get off topic or you’re setting a tone for the conversation that implies it doesn’t need to be all business. It’s the job of the customer service representative to help the customer solve a specific problem related to the product or service, not to become his or her close confidante.

4. Always use positive language

Positive language is a great way to avoid accidental conflicts sprung from miscommunication. While the change is subtle, the effects are drastic.
Negative language: “I can’t help you because I don’t have access to your account. You will need to call someone else.
Positive language: “Let me place you on a brief hold while I conference in someone who is more familiar with this account and will be able to answer all of your questions.”

5. Use Resources Available to You

You may not always know the answer. People will always appreciate an honest response, even if you have to say, “That’s a great question. I want to give you the correct answer, and I have to check with someone. Can you hold or can I call you back?” And then you do.

6. Keep a Calming Presence

tips-for-exceptional-customer-serviceRemember to stay calm, using your calm presence allows the call to go more smoothly and even influence others when things get a little hectic. If you feel the call is getting out of hand, don’t be afraid to place the call of a brief hold while you regain your bearings.  Put a smile on when talking with a client, they can hear that smile on the other end of the phone.

7. Give Credence to Customer Complaints

Harsh words are not always indicative of insight, and complaining customers are not always a sign that something is wrong. Be that as it may, sometimes great feedback is buried within the bitterness—give credence to every message.
To stay consistent in tone and process, use the CARP method:
Control the situation.
Acknowledge the dilemma.
Refocus the conversation.
Problem-solve so the customer leaves happy.

8. Take Ownership

Take responsibility and own the call you just answered.  Be sure the information gets to the correct person or department and take a moment to follow up and ensure it is completed.   The last thing you want is the customer to call back in and say they spoke with you and their issue is still not resolved.

9. Once the Problem, Solution, and Needed Actions Are Determined, Wrap it up

Being able to close with a customer means being able to end the conversation with confirmed satisfaction (or as close to it as you can achieve) and with the customer feeling that everything has been taken care of (or will be). Getting booted after a customer service call or before all of their problems have been addressed is the last thing that customers want, so be sure to take the time to confirm with customers that each and every issue they had on deck has been entirely resolved.
Your willingness to do this shows the customer 3 very important things:
• That you care about getting it right
• That you’re willing to keep going until you get it right
• That the customer is the one who determines what “right” is.
Use language that lets the customer know it’s time for the call to come to an end.
Some suggested lines to consider:
“Sounds like we’ve covered everything…”
“I’ll get started on this right away…”
“I don’t want to take up anymore of your time, so…”
“I have everything I need on my end…”