Customer Service and Customer Care Training

by ltconsulting on August 1, 2011

Customer Service

This month’s training newsletter is about customer service. In the UK we say the customer is number one, in the US they say the customer is king, in Japan they say the customer is god. There is a difference.

If you or your staff have to deal with customers both face to face or over the telephone then effective Customer Care training is essential in enabling you to develop a Customer Caring or ‘Customers First’ attitude to delivering service effectively and consistently.

If you or your staff have to deal with customers both face to face or over the telephone then effective Customer Care training is essential in enabling you to develop a Customer Caring or ‘Customers First’ attitude to delivering service effectively and consistently.

Total Success run a one-day Telephone Skills and Customer Care course for those wishing to learn telephone etiquette and handling customers on the telephone.

For those who’s customer service training requires tips and techniques in both telephone and face to face skills in handling difficult customers (such as rude, angry or aggressive customers) as part of their daily duties we also provide a Customer Service and Customer Care training course that deals with these types of customer. It also covers handling customer complaints; tips for retaining customers and how to diffuse customer conflict quickly and efficiently.

Total Success run a one-day Telephone Skills and Customer Care course for those wishing to learn telephone etiquette and handling customers on the telephone.

For those who’s customer service training requires tips and techniques in both telephone and face to face skills in handling difficult customers (such as rude, angry or aggressive customers) as part of their daily duties we also provide a Customer Service and Customer Care training course that deals with these types of customer. It also covers handling customer complaints; tips for retaining customers and how to diffuse customer conflict quickly and efficiently.

Customer service Quiz

Warning!!! Before you read the contents of this newsletter please complete this quiz. You may also find it useful to give these questions to your colleagues to test their knowledge of customer service.

  1. What percentage of unhappy customers never complain?
  2. If you resolve a complaint to the customer’s satisfaction, what percentage of customers will stay with you?
  3. How many people will a dissatisfied customer tell about their experience?
  4. If you resolve a complaint to the customer’s satisfaction, how many people will the customer tell about it?
  5. How many times more expensive is it on average to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one?

How many of the answers did you know? Check yours with those below. The results can be quite startling but should give you some thoughts on how and why your organisation should put an even sharper focus on servicing your customers.

You don’t have to be the best but you do have to be better than everyone else.Warren Wint Total Success Training 2003

…now read on

Customer Service is not just about being nice to people. Striving for a phenomenal reputation in your market makes good economic sense. Consider these facts:

  • It can cost up to five times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.
  • The average business never hears from 96% of its unhappy customers.
  • For every complaint received, the average company has 24 customers with problems, 6 of which are serious in nature.
  • Surprisingly, of the people who have problems, complainers are more likely than non-complainers to do business again with a company that upset them, even if the problem isn’t satisfactorily resolved.
  • Of customers who register a complaint, between 54% and 70% will do business again with the organisation if their complaint is resolved. That figure goes up to an impressive 95% if the customer feels that the complaint was resolved quickly (within 24 hours).
  • The average customer who has a problem with an organisation tells 9 or 10 people about it. Thirteen percent of the people who have a problem with an organisation recount the incident to more than 20 people.
  • Customers who have complained to an organisation and had their complaints satisfactorily resolved tell an average of 5 people about the treatment they receive.

Customer Service Poem

The poem serves to illustrate many of the facts above and in many ways, is much stronger and harder than even the cold, hard facts.

Remember Me?
I’m the person who asks:
“How long is the wait?”
You tell me ten minutes…but it gets very late
I’m the person who sees:
When the whole staff loiters
But nobody does everything
To take my order.
I’m the person who says:
“That’s not what I ordered…but it’s OK
I’ll use it anyway.”
I’m the person who calls:
To see if my lost item was found
And all I get is a run-around.
I’m the person who leaves:
With a slight frown
Cause the manager is no where to be found.
I’m the person who should:
Write a negative letter
But feel it wouldn’t make anything better.
Yes, you might say that I’m a good guy.
That I understand that you kind of try.
But, please read on and you will see.
That there’s another side of me.
I’m the person who
Never comes back
Because of something you tend to lack.
It amuses me to see you spending
Thousands of pounds on ads never ending
In an effort to get me back into your place
When you hardly even remember my face.
In order to keep me as a guest
I have but one simple little request…
When I am here all you have to do
Is give me the service I’m entitled to.

Fun Ways To Lose Those Valued Customers Very Quickly

If your organisation is determined to lose its customers, here are some fun ways that you can do it effortlessly and have a really good laugh at the same time. Remember the key to becoming really bad at customer service is to practice on a regular basis so you develop the expertise quickly.

  • When you’re dealing with a customer face to face, what are some non-verbal things you can do to make the customer feel like strangling you?
  • If you’re chewing gum, pop it really loudly!
  • Twist your hair and fiddle with your jewellery!
  • Sigh deeply and fold your arms.
  • Don’t make eye contact, or if you do, look sullen and bored.
  • If you’re dealing with a woman, keep looking at her figure, don’t look her in the eye.
  • If it’s a guy, stare at the top of his head where his hair might be thinning.
  • Keep looking at your watch like you have something better to do.
  • If it requires paperwork, make sure you don’t have all you need. Keep leaving the premises for long absences.

What are some of your favourite phrases that really infuriate customers?

  • No can do.
  • Forget it.
  • Why didn’t you…….
  • You must be kidding.
  • Ask that guy over there.
  • I don’t know.
  • Sorry (and shrug).
  • Never heard of it.
  • I’m pretty sure that’s against our policy.
  • I think you should lose weight before you wear that dress out in public.
  • Isn’t that a little young for you?
  • I guess we’ve always done it that way. Kind of a tradition.

A customer has called you repeatedly on the phone. You’re pretty sure there’s no one at the number you keep transferring him to. This is his fourth call-back and he’s begged you not to transfer him to that number. What do you do?

  • Say, “OK I’ll transfer you to another person,” and still transfer him to the same phone.
  • Tell him you’ll find the person who should be at the desk. Put him on hold without asking and walk away. Go outside, take a break.
  • Tell him you may be able to help him with his problem, ask him to repeat it all to you and say, “Nope, that’s not my department after all. Sorry.
  • Make some fake noises like static on the phone, say, “Just a minute” and bang the phone against the desk. Pick it up and say, “You still there?
  • Inform the caller that the person he needs to talk to is on maternity leave and no one else in the whole organisation can help him. He’ll have to wait until she returns.
  • Cover the receiver with your hand and start talking to a friend of yours while the customer is explaining his situation. Act like you’re trying not to laugh and say, “Excuse me? Would you repeat that?

How To Deal With Difficult People

  • To deal with the problem think first why people act the way they do,
  • They may be frustrated in many ways for reasons not connected with you. What you hear is the expression of that frustration. They may be nice people underneath.
  • They may be anxious. Even using the telephone causes some people anxiety.
  • Do not take what people say to you as a personal insult. They are not attacking you but may have become very frustrated with a situation they cannot control and as a result the quality of their normal communication takes a severe dip. Do not allow yourself to take offence – difficult as that often is.
  • Do not lose your temper. If both you and your customer end up in a shouting match (or worse) you are unlikely to solve anything – and after all that is your objective.
  • Keep your attention on the facts relating to your meeting. Try to minimise emotional reactions.
  • Think before you speak. Create time for yourself before you answer via a deep breath, a thoughtful expression, etc.

How To Deal With Complaints

Complaints tend to fall into two groups – the justified and the unjustified. Remember, until you know the facts you will not know which one you are dealing with.

Action Tips:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Keep your voice enthusiastic and friendly.
  • Listen to what is being said, take notes.
  • Do not interrupt
  • Get the speaker’s name and telephone number.
  • Get the order number so the complaint can be checked.
  • Sympathise without being disloyal.
  • If the company is at fault, apologise.
  • Never give excuses (the truth is always the preferred option here)
  • If you promise something (e.g. to call back) – do it. Remember – in times of stress a promise is sacred.

Never say or do the following:

  • You are through to the wrong department.
  • It’s not my fault.
  • I didn’t deal with this.
  • Will you write in (a solution is needed now. Delay will just make the situation worse).
  • We are having lots of problems you’re actually the sixth one today about that.
  • Interrupt – they will start all over again.
  • Automatically accept liability.
  • Jump to conclusions.
  • Talk down to them or accuse of them automatically of misuse or making a silly mistake.
  • Lose your temper.
  • Appeal for sympathy.

Aggression

Aggression is a symptom of both anxiety and frustration. It is a by product of insecurity. Do not confuse it with assertion.

Action Tips:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Speak calmly at an even pitch.
  • Keep your temper.
  • Do not respond with aggression.
  • Ask, and keep asking, for the facts.
  • Say something like, “I know this is a problem for you but I can only help if you will let me” (an empathetic assertion).
  • Encourage the talker to talk out their feelings of aggression (the longer they talk the less aggressive they will become).
  • If you cannot calm the individual arrange for a break (e.g. tell a telephone caller you will ring back. Tell a personal caller you are going to fetch a document, look up a reference number etc).

Vagueness

Vague customers will go on for a long time and say very little. Be patient and try to bring them back to the issue.

Action Tips:

  • Maintain your patience and good humour.
  • Write down the facts as you hear them.
  • Use the facts to bring the customer back to the point.
  • Keep a smile in your voice.
  • Be business-like.
  • Don’t be side-tracked.
  • Keep to the point yourself.
  • Don’t lose your temper.
  • Don’t be abrupt
  • Keep summarising regularly.

Unfriendliness

Some individuals are not fond of people. Some people confuse being business-like with unfriendliness. Don’t take it personally.

Action Tips:

  • Smile as you speak.
  • Keep your voice up and pleasant
  • Deal with the matter as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t make personal remarks.
  • Get to the facts and stay with them.
  • Don’t be sarcastic (e.g. Thank you for calling).

A Plan For Action

Customer service is about constantly looking for ways to improve the way that your organisation does business with its clients. This may involve improving your communication skills but more and more organisations look at their practices and processes and how they can improve them. One of the ways to do this is to examine current practice, create a vision for the future and then develop models to address the gap between present and future. Our ‘feedback and retention’ checklist below allows your organisation to start to question its current operations objectively. Use this in team meetings, management meetings, as the basis for a customer survey or simply as an ongoing checklist of best practice.

Customer Feedback and Retention

  1. How does the organisation obtain customer feedback?
  2. If the feedback comes in the form of a phone call, who takes the phone call initially?
  3. Does the call get transferred to the proper department?
  4. If the complaint is about poor service, who handles it?
  5. How is feedback given to the people responsible for the poor service?
  6. Are managers trained in how to give negative feedback to their staff?
  7. Who is responsible for evaluating customer feedback?
  8. Does customer feedback result in changes?
  9. If so, are the changes brought to the customer’s attention?
  10. How long does it take for feedback to be processed?
  11. Are there any examples of a customer complaint that changed the way we did things?

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