People First: Getting Customer Service Right (Part 2)

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CEO Joe, who we are trying to talk into using Twitter regularly, recently created a list of 18 customer service principles that we at DataGroup have always lived by, but needed to put in writing. Here at SmarterBiz, we’re passing them along to you. You can read the first part here, and the second part below:

10. Protect the Privacy of the User

When supporting a client, sometimes, particularly in a larger client, an employee of that client is at fault through an honest mistake. Protect their privacy, and they’re more willing to recommend you the next time. If, however, the client’s employee is blatantly breaking company policy (downloading explicit material, illegally downloading software, etc.), then it should be reported to the client.  But by being discrete on occasion with the end-user, you’ve established yourself as a company who cares.

11. Don’t Boss the Client

Never advise your customers that they should do something or take a specific action. We are not paid to tell them what to do (unless, of course, you are their consultant). Provide them with the information they need, give them their options, and let them decide what to do. If they ask you, give a recommendation, but not an ultimatum.

12. Don’t Talk Too Much

Clients have work to do. If they engage you in conversation then talk while you work, letting them lead the conversation. Don’t tell “war stories” about your past experiences unless there is a training point for the customer.

13. Never Require the Customer to Help Complete the Job

Don’t ask or expect the customer to complete the job, or to even help you. Stay with them until the job is 100% completed. Always ask the client to let you handle the tasks at hand, regardless of the task’s simplicity. They are paying for your services, the least you can do is to complete the job.

14. Always Have the Customer Verify Completion

You are not done helping the customer until the customer says that you are. Always ask the client to check the issue once more before leaving and then only leave when they say you’re released. If you have something for them to sign (work order, invoice, etc.), have them sign it only after they’ve released you.

15. Offer to Go the Extra Mile

Spend an extra few minutes with the customer to ensure that not only the job is completed, but that other potential needs are met as well. Try to foresee any questions the customer may have in the days to come. Ask the customer what else you can do while you are with them. If they are satisfied with your customer service, they will let you know.

16. Follow-Up

Every job done for a customer deserves a follow-up call or email.   This simple gesture goes so far with the customer and most time it opens the door to more jobs.    Don’t every wait for a customer to call you back.   If a customer says they will call you back then you should make a note to call him or her if he or she doesn’t call you.   Don’t rely on the customer to communicate because guess what….. three weeks from now he or she is not going to remember that he was supposed to call you back.

17. Document

Write it down! The problem, the solution, the procedure. Write down everything you can. You never know when you’ll need to refer to those notes for that client, whether for that client or as reference when working with another customer. The things you think are insignificant often turn out to be the things that you should have remembered. With accurate documentation, even the insignificant details are noted.

18. Ask Permission to Leave

This goes along with offering to go the extra mile. Ask the customer if there’s anything else that you can do. The answer before you leave the customer or hang up the phone should be “No.” Until there is nothing else you can assist the customer with, stay with the customer to ensure their satisfaction.

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