Servicing Customers

Definition:  Anticipating, meeting, and exceeding the needs of people who buy or use your products or services.

Tips

 

·         Five essential customer service skills are empathy, positivity, patience, clarity in communication, and continuous improvement.

·         Understand who your customers are; identify and anticipate customer requirements, expectations, and needs; develop and promote a clear understanding of the customer’s business; provide customers with a variety of options for offering feedback; respond to customer feedback; and continually search for ways to improve customer/client service.

·         Avoid using the word “no”.

·         Create trust and openness with your customers. Demonstrate interest in them as individuals and understanding of the issues they face.

·         Make a professional connection:

o   Listen to customer problems intently.

o   As you talk to customers, use language that reflects your knowledge of their businesses.

o   Ask informed questions about their role or their business.

o   Share appropriate information about your business or your job.

 

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”- Walt Disney, Founder of Disney

 

Self-Directed Learning Activities

 

Relevant Readings:

 

Books: 

  • Beemer, C. B., & Shook, R. L. (2008). The Customer Rules: The 14 Indispensible, Irrefutable, and Indisputable Qualities of the Greatest Service Companies in the World. McGraw Hill Professional.
  • Cockerell, L. (2013). The Customer Rules: The 39 essential rules for delivering sensational service. Crown Business.
  • Fleming, J. H., & Asplund, J. (2007). Human sigma: Managing the employee-customer encounter. Simon and Schuster.
  • Goldenberg, B. J. (2008). CRM in real time: empowering customer relationships. Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books.
  • Miller, L. S., Hess, K. M., & Orthmann, C. M. (2013). Community policing: Partnerships for problem solving. Nelson Education.
  • Press, T. (2015). Extra mile: 500 customer service tips for success: Tools to attract, satisfy, and retain even the most difficult customer. Beverley, CA: Tycho Press.

 

PowerPoints/Videos:

 

Self-Guided Activities:

  • Identify at least two examples of when you have received excellent customer service and two example of when you have received poor customer service. Really think about what it was that specifically made you view the service as either excellent or poor. Look for common themes (e.g., how helpful and responsive was the person)
  • Identify your key groups of customers and step into their shoes. Think about a specific customer, what her/his needs are at every stage of the process, from making initial contact with you, through to the service or product s/he asks of you, as well as the final departure and after-sales service.
    • Did everything go as expected? Would you have done anything different? Did the customer get the information and response s/he needed?
    • Identify ways that you can demonstrate ‘going the extra mile’ to help the customer so that you can commit to a personal change from the exercise.
  • If able, carefully read through past tickets. Look at cases handled by various peers and a range of customers to get a holistic understanding of the voice of the team. You can also dive into external documentation (e.g., website service, support, or help section) and into relevant internal documents (e.g., documents outlining workflows and other processes).

 

Guided Learning Activities

 

Experiences:

  • Have coworkers experience your service as a customer and debrief their experience. What worked well, what could have been better?
  • Shadow other service representatives. Find an individual who has been known to have exceptional customer service skills and talk to him/her about any tips. You can also shadow people in other departments to help learn how to interact with a variety of customers with different needs.
  • If applicable, pick 5 customers at random and send them a sincere thank you/follow up that shows them that you’re there for them. This should also show them why you’re grateful for their business and continued support.
  • Ask a team member to practice playing a game with you. S/he will be the client and you will be the customer service representative. The job of the client is to come to you with a complaint and to be very persistent. Your job is to try to diffuse the situation. The catch is that you cannot say “no”, “never”, or “not”. Afterwards, discuss different ways of addressing customers without being negative.
  • Summarize customer needs and map them against what you are currently providing. Identify new opportunities.

 

Formal Training/Education

 

School and Course Module(s):

  • Casper College
    • Customer Service and Conflict Resolution - HOSP 1580: (3L)(3CR) This course will provide the students the opportunity to understand and demonstrate the importance of customer service and conflict management in today’s competitive work environment. In addition, the student will acquire the soft skills to effectively communicate with customers using a great customer service attitude. The ability to understand and resolve conflict using various methods will be examined.
  • Laramie County Community College
    • BADM 1021 CUSTOMER SERVICE: This introductory course will cover topics relevant to customer service such as response time, professional appearance and attitude, communications, telephone skills, and postal services.
  • Central Wyoming College
    • Counseling-2300: This course presents instruction and practice in basic counseling and communication skills. It emphasizes listening, responding, encouraging, and initiating change in interpersonal communication through mediation and conflict resolution. (3 lect.)
  • Eastern Wyoming College
    • BADM 1020 Business Communications (3L, 3CR): This course will cover the topic of business communications—written, oral, nonverbal, and listening. Application will be made to business situations. The major focus of this course is on writing business messages and reports. Emphasis will be given to the study of effective writing principles, problem analysis, and the writing process. Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 or TECH 1005 with a grade of “C” or better
    • BOTK 2750 Records & Information Management (3L, 3CR): A course covering the background training in the basic filing principles and in the technique of records control with special emphasis given to the principles common in all systems of filing.
    • CO/M 1040 Introduction to Human Communication (3L, 3CR): This course focuses on the role of communication in current affairs, business, and personal relations. Practical application of theory to communication problems in everyday life.
  • Western Wyoming College
    • COMM 1050 CONFLICT MANAGEMENT & MEDIATION: This course blends theory, research and practical skills to help us better understand and manager our conflicts. Additionally, this course offers guidance for those who sometimes find them- selves playing the role of mediator, a neutral third party who assists disputants create their own solutions. Conflict is a natural, inevitable, and potentially beneficial event in our personal and professional lives. Yet few of us take time to formally study and explore conflict. Managing conflict well requires skills, energy, wisdom and creativity
    • COMM 1070 EFFECTIVE LISTENING: Listening is the process of hearing, attending to, interpreting, remembering, and responding to spoken messages. This course will explore listening theories and research, the listening process, listening challenges, various listening contexts; and essential listening skills.