Kick Up Customer Service Standards

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Pack a Smiling Punch With Your Customer Service

It’s a simple technique to win the hearts and minds of customers. Customer service must be a well oiled machine so customers become loyal, which is a major challenge in today’s fast market.

The 1, 2, 3 Connect of Customer Service

  1. Create Customer Service Program Standards
  2. Script Staff Phone Call Opening and Closing Comments
  3. Hire Secret Shoppers
  4. Creating Customer Service Standards
    Employees answer the phone friendly, but are you really connecting with customers?

    Standards should include:

    • Number of rings phone must be answered if there’s no automated voicemail service
    • Greeting staff must use when answering the phone
    • Quick answer list for potential questions within reason
    • Closing script for staff to use when ending a phone call
    • Opening and closing statements in email, on the phone or online should include a business’s slogan
    • Follow up phone call guide – when to follow up and when it is not needed
    • Secret shopper program (more discussion later)

    Standards create a strategic marketing measurement for a business’s customer service performance.

    customer service, naples marketing firm, customer service standards

    Cute Doesn't Cut It. Get Serious About Your Customer Service.

    When customers call your business, they should be greeted within two to three rings by a person who sounds like they are happy and smiling and ready to help.

    Collier Spay Neuter Clinic in Naples, Florida recently performed a complete overhaul on its customer service program further integrating its customer service standards into employees job performance goals. Our Naples marketing firm helped them match customer service standards to Collier Spay Neuter Clinic’s new branding and strategic marketing plan.

    Millions of businesses need to make the customer service shift!
    It can be as simple as directing staff to say, “I’ll find the answer and get back with you today,” as opposed to saying “I’m sorry I don’t know.”

    Often upset customers receive the traditional “I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do,” answer, and it infuriates them.

    How does your staff speak to an upset customer?
    Does staff listen, argue or cut in? Customer service programs must include a guide for handling upset customers which directs staff to listen and then state, “This issue is also important to me; let me see what I can do to help.” This takes us to the next section: creating customer service scripts.

    Script Customer Calls
    Scripting the greeting and closing of a phone calls sounds tricky for many small businesses, but when is the last time you called a company like HP, Dell or Toyota and not received a scripted answer?

    As impersonal as scripts can be, scripting greetings and closings for telephone calls improves customer service. Customer service standards and scripting set the tone for company staff and the caller for the phone call.

    Sample Customer Service Scripts

    For answering customer telephone calls:
    “Thank you for calling Company A where we are (insert slogan). How may I assist you today?”

    For ending a positive customer phone conversation:
    “Again thank you for calling Company A. We value your business and looking forward to hearing from you again soon.”

    For ending an upset customer phone conversation:
    “Thank you for calling Company A. We do value your business and it is our goal to provide you the best possible customer service. Is there anything else I can do to improve your experience with us?…..Thank you for your continued business and thank you for calling.”

    These are samples only. Scripts should be developed to create the “feel and look” of your particular brand.

    Customer Service Secret Shoppers
    There is no better tool than secret shopping to ensure your staff is following the established customer service standards.

    Secret shopping allows you to create situations for shoppers and to analyze staff’s performance whether in person, in email or through a telephone call. Measure customer service with at least basic secret shopper survey questions:

    • Who helped you?
    • Did they seem distracted or focused (staff)?
    • How did this same person help other customers? (for in-person secret shoppers)
    • Did the staff member answer your questions and seem knowledgeable – explain?
    • How would you classify the staff member’s work attitude? (provide 4 choices to shopper)
    • How you would classify or describe your customer service experience? (provide 4 choices to shopper)
    • What do you feel staff did correctly and what can they improve? (leave area for shopper to write)

    There are professional secret shopping companies, and most full service marketing firms organize secret shopping for companies.

    Connect Before It’s Too Late
    Customer service standards sound too big to tackle, but getting ahead of your customer service issues before they arise, gives you a marketing strategy and solution to retain existing customers.

    Solid customer service keeps consumers returning. Customers want to matter and would choose better service over cheaper prices.

    How do you make customers matter?

    About Camden Smith

    Camden Smith has written 77 posts for Marketing Magnetics.

    Camden Smith owns DREAMFly Marketing with 16 years in strategic marketing and television journalism. Her cutting-edge, aggressive marketing skills have earned her numerous awards. Smith lives in Naples, Florida with her daughter London.

  • Eric Tanner

    Long but important. I always say electronics ended customer service. You have much less personal interaction these days, but things of course are more convenient.

    On Secret Shoppers: why does it seem only big businesses like banks use this tool? USE SECRET SHOPPERS – what a great idea. Shouldn’t businesses no matter the size know their real customer service impression? I think so….

    • Camden Smith

      :) Eric there was so much to pack in. Sorry for the length. I agree secret shopping should be part of every business’s basic customer service protocol. Employees usually behave in front of you!

  • Tate S.

    As much as I hate, and I mean hate, receiving a voicemail system answering my phone call at least it picks up. For businesses who don’t use an automated system, if the point is to have a personalized approach then I agree with this article – answer the phone!

    • Camden Smith

      Good point – I personally think voicemail is the death of customer service but if you don’t have staff to direct calls it’s better than nothing.

  • Monica Hernandez

    So right Tate – why do companies believe there is no room for error in customer service? 

    • Camden Smith

      They are blinded or in denial.