5 Top Customer Service Skills.

Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Blog | 1 comment

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So the whole of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia have come to a virtual standstill while BlackBerry has a problem with their BIS servers. Let’s get real though – it’s not that major a problem.

It wasn’t long ago that all of our businesses survived without instantaneous global communication. Remember fax machines? Snail Mail? Pigeons? Messenger? New York still uses the largest “fleet” of messengers in the world.

On Twitter, my friend and attorney Paul Jacobson puts it in perspective, “I’m a little concerned about the anxiety level with the #BIS crash. It’s ok, really, the service will (probably) be restored. Go do some work.”

He’s right. It will be up and running again shortly. But what RIM missed today was communicating the outage to their customers. The first tweet from BB EMEA came through at 15:57. So here are the Top 5 Customer Service Skills.

1. Service Oriented Attitude: Skills can all be taught, but Attitude is an entirely different story. The intrinsic need people have to deliver good service needs to be hired for! It’s the first step in delivering customer service – so find people with the right attitude, not the right qualifications or looks.

2. Product and Procedural Knowledge: Without proper knowledge about products, it’s only a matter of time before customers walk all over your customer service people. They need to know more about your products than the customers. Particularly about warrantees, which parts are prone to failure, and reasons for product discontent.
Your customer service staff also need to have firm grip on the procedures you have in place for dealing with disgruntled customers. Particularly WHY those procedures are in place and how they can be circumnavigated if necessary. Remember that the biggest problem with Policies and Procedures are that they are enterprise centred, and almost never customer centric.

3. First Impressions and Rapport: Few things are more off-putting to customers than employees who appear disinterested in providing service. In fact, research shows that 68% of customers leave because they feel that employees are disinterested in giving service! Ensure that all your customer facing employees look and feel the part – they’re the most important part of your business.

4. Questioning and Listening Skills: Really, does this need any explanation? The number of times I’ve been unable to explain my gripe to a customer service person because they’re so busy blabbing the standard list of excuses is beyond sane. Stop being defensive. As a customer I’m not interested in your excuses, your procedures, your blah-blah. Just find a solution to my problem.

5. Problem-solving and Presenting Solutions: This basically leads from my previous point. Find a way to make me happy. Whatever it takes. Remember in an online world, the average Twitter and Facebook user has over 200 connections who can influence your brand. Let’s appoint an “employee of the moment” for going above and beyond. Let’s reward them instantly for doing so.

These are just a few ideas. To explain them in more detail, or to turn around your company’s customer service, call me! I’ll do it for you where-ever, whenever.
(RIM sorted the BIS service issue overnight and have apologised to their customers. That’s all there is to it. Now stop bad mouthing them and get back to work. Your BB BIS costs you a fraction of the data costs associated with other smart phones!)

1 Comment

  1. The last line says it all. Four words can make the difference.

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