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Build a Great Customer Service Team for Your Small Business

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    We’ve all been there, after dealing with less than satisfactory customer service, we swear off a company for life. It’s been suggested to be 5 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one so it is important to make sure the swear off doesn’t happen to you. If your company sales are dropping, it may be time to focus on building an awesome customer service team.

    The first step in building a great team is to strengthen your existing team’s service skills. Great customer service representatives all have the following traits in common. The first of these is a thick skin. Irate customers can be downright mean, but it is important to keep in mind that they are frustrated and instead of replying in kind, encourage your team to respond with empathy and patience. Seeing the problem through the customer’s eyes may allow for a more satisfactory experience all around. Once the issue is identified, consistency, communication, and knowledge are key.

    Knowing the procedure on how to deal with customer concerns that come up the most frequently will help your customer service team come up with a script that will service them well even when they are dealing with the rudest customers. Many big corporations have actual scripts that their customer service team must follow; but that also has its downsides. It can sound impersonal. Communication is important so that the customer knows that their concerns are being heard, and a canned response does not always allow for that to happen. Instead, encourage your employees to come up with their own scripts that work for them and your business model.

    Improving customer interactions is key to running a smooth retail ship. Have your customer service team use active listening so that both employee and customer are certain they are on the same page. Active listening is as easy as saying something like, “I’m sorry that the shirt didn’t fit and I understand that you would like to return it.” Another way to improve customer interactions is making it personal. Finding a common ground can be a good way to set a rapport and leave a good lasting impression. Finally, it is important to admit mistakes you made and use apologetic language even if the fault is not with the company, because making it right for the customer is more important than being right.

    A good customer service strategy addresses what your customer base is looking for; and no matter what that is, real people are better than bots and lengthy FAQs. Be available for your customer and they will likely remember the helpfulness and return with future business.

    However, all of these strategies are useless if your customer service team is unhappy. Employee engagement in the work is imperative if you want them to do a good job. This starts at hiring. Hire motivated and positive individuals and remember customer service isn’t for everyone. But once you have hired a team, keep them invested in their work by curating a great work environment.

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