Customer Service Best Practices Include Image, Information and Communication

Repeat customers are the best customers to keep, and one of the best ways to keep them is to give them exceptional customer service. Make promises and keep them — it builds confidence, according to John Mehrmann of Brainhunter, who gave ChannelCon attendees a brief tutorial on the best practices for customer service.

Repeat customers are the best customers to keep, and one of the best ways to keep them is to give them exceptional customer service. John Mehrmann, CEO, Brainhunter, gave ChannelCon attendees a brief tutorial on the best practices for customer service.

Mehrmann started with the outer image. “If you want to be treated like a professional, then groom yourself to look like one and dress like a professional,” said Mehrmann. “Opt for pants, not shorts; shoes, not sandals; and a button shirt, not a t-shirt.”

Next, be informed, said Mehrmann. Read the CompTIA SmartBrief. Be ready to have small talk about current tech trends. You want to show the customer that you’re “in the know.”

Communications also need to a priority. Be calm, pleasant, and in control. Use clear and positive language. It enables you to deliver customer satisfaction. Adjust your language to your audience.

Connect with your customer. Find something in common such as language, terminology and common interests. If the technician is on-site, look for something familiar such as pictures of kids.

Most importantly, Mehrmann advised attendees to “make a promise and keep it.” It builds confidence with customers. If you say you will be at your office at 10 a.m., then be there 15 minutes early. Call customers when you say you’re going to call them. Call twice before going on-site: once to confirm schedule and once again en route.

“On-site, start with a smile, really,” said Mehrmann. “Watch their body language and your own.”

Use active listening skills. Make eye contact when the customer is talking. Acknowledge the customer with nods and short responses. Do not interrupt the customer, even if the customer interrupts you. Listen for the most important points and restate them.

On the job, take ownership. “You are in control, you have responsibility,” said Mehrmann.

Create confidence by confirming that you will either fix the problem or coordinate the resources to get it fixed. Show confidence by saying how you are trained and certified on the devices the customer has.

Mehrmann advised, “Don’t say ‘I see this happens all the time; this is the third time that I’ve seen this problem this week.’” That phrasing makes it sound like the product is a lemon. Keep the focus on you instead.

Treat every customer with dignity and respect, even if the customer doesn’t treat you with respect. Don’t take it personally if the customer is upset with the situation. Show that you care and understand what’s important to the customer.

If the customer gets or is upset, remember that irate conversations come in waves. Wait for the emotion to recede or for the customer to take a breath. Let them vent. When there is a lull in the conversation, that is when the customer can listen to you.

If you are harassed or feel threatened, establish boundaries by telling the customer how you feel. Do not tell the customer how he is acting. Set an example by remaining calm and professional.

If you don’t know the answer to the customer’s problem, Mehrmann advised that you can find out. “Don’t say I don’t know. Say I will find out. And, if you still can’t fix the problem, call for help in private.”

Mehrmann closed with telling attendees to call the customer after the appointment to make sure everything is still working properly.

Lisa Fasold is CompTIA's senior communications director.

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