Simple things you can do to improve customer service

Recently, I had quite an ‘interesting’ experience with customer service. I was on a call – including being put on hold – for more than 25 minutes trying to get one simple piece of information from my bank. In the time I was put on hold, I swear I could have written an entire blog post on customer service (or in this case, the total lack of it).

While it seems I keyed in the ‘correct’ selection, their internal system was busy and sent me through to a different department. However, I wasn’t informed of this until 15 minutes into the conversation. When it came to light, I was transferred back to the correct department, forced to give my security details again and repeat my issue.

Imagine my frustration at then having to be put through to a third department, at which point my patience began to dissolve. It’s not the first time this has happened, and it made me think about changing banks. When it comes to customer service, most people can reel out a list of complaints I’m sure most of us have experienced.

What are the simple things you can do to improve your customer service?

  • Listening and caring

Customers want to feel like someone is listening to their issue and cares enough to help them resolve it, regardless of what business you are in. We want to be acknowledged and we want quick responses. We don’t want to be put through to department after department and forced to tell our story time and time again.

READ: Great customer service comes in little packages

  • Act on it

Listening is one part of it; the other is to act on it. This extends to customer service surveys. If we do give you feedback, we would like to see businesses act on it.

  • Happy and engaged employees

We like to be able to identify staff—uniforms or nametags can help —and we feel happier when attendants make eye contact with us when we enter a store or get to the front of a line and advise us of any delays.

We love it when stores are adequately staffed, especially with people who know their products. Happy and engaged employees make for happy customers. As one person puts it, we don’t want staff to make us feel like we are interrupting their ‘personal conversation time’.

  • Going above and beyond

There are two things we love most of all—when someone goes above and beyond in their efforts to serve us and when businesses can fix the problem that was raised, especially if it relates to a faulty product.

READ: How to coach your employees in customer service

Some people recommend having mystery shoppers. I recommend treating every customer like they might be a mystery shopper. These days, people’s appearances mean nothing. How do you know who is reviewing your restaurant, your products or your services?

Now, why should you do all these? The majority of people have access to a mobile phone and social media networks. If they are happy customers, they will often tell a few people. If they are unhappy, then they are likely to tell many more.