If you’re under any doubt about how important customer service is, almost nine out of ten people have stopped doing business with a company due to a poor service experience. Meanwhile, 55 percent of people would willingly spend more money to guarantee superior service. With this information in mind, here are seven tips to sharpen your team's B2B customer service skills so that you deliver the kind of experience people are looking for.
1. Learn to Listen
Very few things annoy a customer quite like having to explain their problem multiple times, especially to the same staff member. This, combined with the need to fully understand a problem before it can be solved, means that it’s crucial to teach your team how to listen properly. Many customer service reps will have established a bad habit of interrupting and pre-empting problems. Teach them to actively listen and clarify anything that they don’t understand. Then, and only then, should they attempt to provide a resolution to the issue.
2. Get Personal
Customers want to feel valued and treated as individuals rather than just another anonymous customer or client. Simple steps include teaching your team to always ask for a person's name, something which only happens 21 percent of the time, and sending personal emails rather than automated responses. In addition, people like to talk to other people who they perceive to be similar to them. For this reason, you should teach your team to utilize B2B customer service software so they can keep track of details and find common ground quickly.
3. Remove Obstacles
An important part of delivering excellent customer service is ensuring that customers do not have to wait very long to receive the service they need. It’s important that you remove any unnecessary obstacles, such as long telephone hold times or long waits caused by a lack of available staff. The average customer is willing to wait a maximum of 13 minutes for in-person help, while 22 percent of people will not wait more than five minutes to reach somebody via phone.
4. Stay Positive
Customer service can be stressful, especially when you're dealing with customers who are angry or upset. Nevertheless, your B2B customer service training should emphasize the importance of adopting a positive approach, no matter how intense things get. Many customers can be won over if a satisfactory solution to their issue is found in a timely manner. Teach your team to stay calm and remain optimistic.
5. Avoid Guesswork
One of the biggest mistakes made by a customer service team is trying to answer questions they don't know the answer to. Honesty is usually the best policy, as long as they also explain what they will do to acquire the answer. "It's tempting to make something up or take your best guess when somebody thinks you're an expert, but it's a mistake," says Jason Brick, writing for American Express. "Instead, admit it by saying, 'I don't know, but here's what I'll do to find out.' Then set a time to get back to your customer with an answer."
6. Assist Online
Much of the workload for in-person and phone customer service can be reduced if you take steps to help your customers out online. Try to provide B2B omnichannel customer service via channels such as online chat, self-service, and email. Do your best to respond to messages quickly and personally.
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7. Request Feedback
Last but not least, one of the single best ways you can sharpen your team's customer service skills is by actively seeking feedback from your customers. This can be achieved through short phone and email surveys given to customers after an interaction or through a form on your website. Both methods allow customers to freely share their thoughts.
By receiving honest feedback, you can better understand where your team is falling short and where you need to improve.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional customer service coaching to provide organisations with sales ready solutions for their employees. She enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to develop better sales and customer service skills in sales people.