Sales are obviously a highly important area of any business, but it is the ongoing quality of customer service which makes or breaks a successful client relationship. So it’s strange that some organisations don’t routinely afford more time to improving the standard of their customer service. At Potential Squared, we understand the pivotal role customer service plays in generating a sustainable customer base and increasing margins.

The customer is not always right

Yep – I said it, and get this, I even meant it. The first rule of customer service is NOT ‘the customer is always right’. Instead of trying to do exactly what your customers tell you to, try to focus on building a relationship of mutual respect between you.

Whether through misunderstanding, misinformation or deliberate action, the customer is not always right. It is because of your authority in your field that they have come to you for the service or product, in the first place. What they demand is the recognition, respect, and consideration they deserve. Now this may indeed mean that from time to time you have to inform a customer they are wrong, and customers may not always like this answer. But when treated with respect and understanding, customers are more likely to respect and understand in return.

There are three key areas of customer service that you should focus on to radically enhance customer service.

Get employees on board

Each member of your team must understand their place in the business and the power they have to create loyalty in customers. Whether front line sales staff or a part-time receptionist, it’s essential they appreciate the responsibility and worth that goes with their position. By ensuring your whole team genuinely feel they are highly valued and important to the business, you can rely on their support and commitment. An engaged employee always feels empowered to find solutions.

Use technology to connect

In today’s connected world, it’s never been easier to respond to your customers, particularly when it comes to handling customer service complaints. With a large array of tools on hand – telephone, email, social media – a strong connection is a great way to create effective communication. Whether responding promptly to complaints, offering a recommendation or an answer in response to a question or simply collecting feedback, it pays to provide connectivity.

Speaking the right language

Customer service today is all about interaction and creating the complete customer experience. There are more opportunities than ever to present an impression of your company. Though now, from the headline of an advertising campaign to the temperament of your call centre operators, your brand is being judged wherever a consumer comes across it. Use language that respects and values your customer, saying what can be done rather than what can’t be done. And when it’s not possible to give the customer what they want, explain honestly and clearly why that’s the case.

In the end, the most appropriate model of customer service will depend on your organisation. What is key is to make the customer feel as if your whole company is listening and responding to their needs. This requires motivated and unified employees, language that is positive and on brand, and communication channels which are open and responsive.

Above all, remember, while a customer isn’t always right, they should always come first.