Making your Small Business stand out in Customer Service.

Customer service is the blood that sustains a business life cycle; when there is insufficient blood in the bloodstream some transfusion must be done to enable the body to operate optimally. Transfusion can be a costly affair depending on how many pints of blood need to be added to the body to restore it to full functionality.

In this regard, it is important for businesses to try as best as possible to avoid undergoing blood transfusions. To aid this cause, below are some tips with remedies and home cures that a business can practice to ensure their business runs without hitches.

Communication forms the backbone of the business as it is the bridge that connects the customer to the business. Therefore, communication must be done in the right way, at the right time and by the right people.

We will briefly look at 2 forms of communication that are mostly used by businesses to reach their clients; verbal (telephone) and written (email, text and WhatsApp) communication. The etiquette to be practiced when talking to our clients using the mentioned methods is captured here:

Telephone Etiquette

  1. Ensure you identify yourself when making a call
  2. Address the caller by name in a courteous manner
  3. Be conscious to keep the conversation brief
  4. Look out o never be impatient
  5. Listen carefully to the customer who is speaking
  6. Do not interrupt the customer when they are speaking
  7. Do not eat or chew while speaking on phone to customers
  8. Incase you miss a call, return the call within a reasonable time period
  9. Incase someone calls you by mistake, inform the caller politely that it is a wrong number
  10. Request permission when you want to put the customer on hold or transfer them to another person
  11. The Internal customer is very important, receive their calls as well as you would have received the external ones
  12. Close the call with an appropriate salutation e.g thank you for calling, have a good evening/morning etc

Email Etiquette

  1. Be concise and to the point when writing emails to customers
  2. Use a spell check like Grammarly and visual proof reading to ensure the grammatical accuracy of your email
  3. Be quick to respond as this denotes excellent customer service
  4. Use a business- like style and tone when sending official emails
  5. Use TO option for the person who is supposed to respond directly, CC for people who are copied for information purposes and Bcc for Mass mailing to protect customer identities
  6. Use the same salutations that the sender has used to respond to them e.g. Dear-Dear, Hi-Hi
  7. When sending emails take note of the hierarchical positions and put the email addresses in order
  8. Subject –should be short and Do not use CAPS- even on the subject, it is considered shouting by recipients
  9. Use the official Signature and precede with words like best regards, warm regards etc
  10. Do not use reply to all when not necessary, this floods recipients’ inboxes and causes discomfort
  11. Do not forget that what you state to a customer in an email is as binding as what you say in a letter
  12. Do not try to sort out problems or resolve disputes on email, it will not work, it only escalates matters irreparably
  13. Do not use an email when a telephone or face to face conversation would be better

Guidelines for official texts or WhatsApp Messages

  1. Keep it short and simple – long texts are not appreciated by customers
  2. Use official language, do not use common abbreviations on official texts
  3. Do not use capital letters, this is shouting at the recipient
  4. Do not text any bad news, bad news should always be conveyed face to face
  5. Do not continue sending more texts just because the recipient has not responded
  6. Double check your text before sending, some auto-correct mistakes are embarrassing
  7. Do not send many attachments on text messages
  8. End your conversation conclusively

In conclusion, the guidelines for all communications are classified into 5Cs articulated as below:

THE 5Cs OF COMMUNICATION

  1. Completeness – any communication done to a customer should be conclusive, nothing should be left pending or not responded to
  2. Clarity – use simple to understand language for the customer, avoid business jargon and technical terms
  3. Correctness – avoid common grammatical mistakes, autocorrect should be verified as some mistakes are very embarrassing and may bring out a totally different meaning from the intended one. Always edit your work before presentation or sending to customers
  4. Conciseness – any communication should short and simple. Always use KISS principle (Keep It Short and Simple)
  5. Courtesy – any communication should denote politeness in terms of attitude and behavior exuded by the message conveyor

Article by: Mineh Maina, Customer Experience Coordinator at Springboard Capital.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *