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Sarah Haston: Keys to improving your team’s customer service skills, part 2

Sarah Haston • Updated Dec 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Last week, we discussed ways to ensure your team had the necessary skills required for solid customer. If you are not sure if your reps have the right customer service skills, try conducting a survey or interview with your customers to better understand whether your service team is showing each of these traits. 

Running a customer feedback or survey through your CRM program at the point of sale or when you send customers an invoice is a great way to see where your team’s skills do and don’t measure up. You can also conduct those using social media. Recently, I have spoken to several local businesses about this very topic and would be happy to help any of you with constructing a survey.

Here are some tips for making sure customer service is both thorough and well received:

• Ask reps to try to identify a common ground – like shared interests – with the people they help. Having this point of understanding makes conflict easier to overcome by humanizing the relationship, and it endears customers to your rep and ultimately your company.

• Practice active listening so your customers feel heard. Clarify and rephrase what the customers say to ensure you understand them. Empathize with and reflect their feelings by saying things like, “That must have upset you” or “I can see why you feel slighted.”

• Admit your mistakes, even if you discover them before your customers do. This builds trust and restores confidence. It also allows you to control the situation, re-focus the customer’s attention and resolve the issue.

• Follow up after a problem is solved. Make sure the issue stays fixed and that your customers were satisfied with the service. Sending an email, or even a feedback survey is an excellent way to let the customer know you’re still on their side.

Sarah Haston is economic development director in Lebanon.

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