Improving communication is one of the biggest keys to unlock great customer service. There’s no way around it, and it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in: if your frontline staff isn’t communicating with a customer the way they should be, your business is going to lose that customer.
I consider myself to be a fairly patient person. I’ll let a lot of things slide purely because I don’t believe in wasting my energy on trivial details that don’t necessarily affect me directly. But one thing that really gets under my skin is bad customer communication. No matter which way you slice it, bad communication leaves a bad taste in the mouth that will colour the overall experience to the point of poisoning it entirely. If you want to unlock great customer service, you should start by looking at your staff’s communication.
Let me elaborate for a moment. Communication is more than just conversation – greetings, answering questions, closing sales, etc. – it’s about attitude.
For example, last week I was enquiring after some basic details about a train I wanted to take – I commute to work, and I wanted some clarification on some details. The conversation – held over Twitter because, ironically, that’s the best way to get a hold of a customer service rep on the fly – went like this:
Me: Good afternoon! Can you tell me if there’s a train tomorrow morning from Location A to Location B between 8am and the 9:18am?
Me: Okay, but there is no train between 8:05am and the 9:18am one, correct?
Me: Okay. Thank you for your monosyllabic help.
So maybe my patience was wearing very thin by the end of that. If you’re pursing your lips and wondering why my patience frayed, imagine for a moment if you were on the phone with a bank, or a doctor’s office and the person on the line only responded with one word at a time. How would you feel?
It would make you feel you like you weren’t worth their time, right? Like you were wasting their time and being a burden. Possibly worse, it would make you feel like your question – and by implication you yourself – is not important enough for them. That feeling, the idea that someone just can’t be bothered because you’re not worth their time or effort, is not only demeaning and incredibly frustrating, it’s also something you’re going to want to avoid in the future. No one wants to be made to feel like they’re worthless.