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A NEWKAMPALA GUIDE TO CUSTOMER CARE

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A NEWKAMPALA GUIDE TO CUSTOMER CARE

Post by sol_drethedon on Sat May 25, 2013 8:36 pm

GUIDANCE TO PRACTICING CUSTOMER CARE
YOUR CUSTOMERS

When being attended to or dealt with, customers do expect the following:

1. To Feel In Charge

Customers want to feel that they are in control of the situation when they are dealing with you. They need to feel that they are not being manipulated or pushed around.

2. Respect

Everybody wants to feel good about themselves. They like to feel they have done the right thing in the right way and you should help to enforce this view in the mind of the customer.

3. Fairness

People do not necessarily expect special treatment but they do expect to be treated at least as well as everyone else. Nobody likes to feel they have been taken advantage of.

4. Friendliness

Customers like to like the people they are dealing with. They want to have confidence in you, they want to trust you and believe you.

5. Knowledge

Customers need to feel that the people they are dealing with in service situations are knowledgeable about what they are doing.

6. Approval and Appreciation

Customers like the feeling that you approve of their choice; and they like the appreciation that they feel is their due as bringers of business.

N.B. Not every customer has these needs, or not to the same extent. Part of the skill in giving good customer service is recognizing each customer's individual needs. You need to exercise your communication skills in listening, asking questions and observing so that you can decide how best to deal with each person.



REASONS WHY PEOPLE GIVE BAD OR GOOD SERVICES TO CUSTOMERS

Why do people give bad services?

1. Pressure of work

2. Personal problems

3. Poor management

4. No commitment

5 "It's not my job"

6. They do not know what constitutes good service.


Why should people give good services?

1. If it weren't for our customers, we wouldn't have a job

2. If service is bad, customers will go elsewhere

3. We are in business to serve customers

4. "It is part of my job and I want to do it well"

5. "Bad service is normal - so people will think much better of me and my organization if I give good service."


PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE CUSTOMER'S SHOES

When you're the customer ..............................................
You want attention .......... so make customers feel they come first.

You want everyone to be helpful ......................
so, whatever your job, service is always your job.

You want solutions not problems ......................
so be helpful but don't make promises you can't keep.

When something goes wrong, you want a solution more than ever .............
so, show angry customers you understand. Say you're sorry. Work out a solution together and keep the customer informed

You really notice when someone tries ................
so, do a bit more than the customer expects.


COMMUNICATING WITH CUSTOMERS

Communicating with people involves the building of good human relationships.

What then is communication? It can be described as a two way exchange of information and ideas, and it is fundamental to the creation and maintenance of effective customer relations.

Effective communication requires expertise in:
-Information seeking
-Fact finding through skilled questioning and listening
-Information giving in a clear, concise and complete manner
-Listening
-Demonstrating that you are interested in what the customer is saying
-Building rapport
Creating a two-way relationship on a personal and emotional level by showing that you care.


INFORMATION SEEKING

Different types of questions bring out different kinds of responses and can therefore be used for different purposes.

Closed Questions

These start with words like Do, Will, Can, Have, May?
For example: Do you think this will suit your needs
Have you considered this?

Closed questions produce a definite yes or no response and can help to control a talkative person. They are also useful for checking and clarifying facts.

Open Questions

These start with How, Where, When, Who?
For example: When would you need it ready?
What particular type do you need?

Open questions obtain information and by avoiding a straight yes or no response, they can encourage a reticent person to relax and be more forthcoming. They can give you an insight into how customers feel about something.

Probe Questions

A probe question starts with why?
For example: Why do you feel that this type is particularly important?

A probe brings out opinions and can be useful when a general answer does not give sufficient detail.

Forced Choice Questions

These use the word which?
For example: Which of these two better suits your requirements?
These help to focus attention and avoid general answers. They direct the other person's attention to a limited range of options but leave the final choice to them.

Link Questions

These refer back to points made earlier, or to previous conversations
For example: Bearing in mind that you said you prefer lighter colors, would you choose te green or blue?
In view of your concern about durability, which particular aspects should we concentrate on? Link questions demonstrate that you are really listening to the responses. They can be used to steer the conversation from one topic to another while allowing the other person to do most of the talking.

Leading Questions

These tend to force some kind of agreement.
For example: As a family man, you would agree that this size is the best?
The various types of open questions may seem a little harsh or abrupt sometimes. To soften their impact, you can preface your questions with phrases like:
Tell me . . . . . . . .
Explain to me . . . . . .
Describe to me . . . . . . . .
This makes your questions sound more conversational. It helps to ensure that you ask more open questions

INFORMATION GIVING
You must always impart information in a way that meets the customer's requirements. This should be done using a set of techniques but in a friendly and conversational manner

CONFIRMATION
This acts as a check on understanding and points of agreements.
For example: I see. So you think this is better than that. Therefore it is the one that I should give you instead.

Summarizing
A method of recapitulating the key points of a long discussion and of confirming agreement where necessary.

Note-taking
This shows you are taking a real interest in the discussion. It also means you get the fact right and it can give you time to think

Listening
It is not sufficient to listen. You must actively demonstrate that you are listening. This means using your eyes, body and head as well as your voice to show that you are following what is being said. This helps the other person continue to feel that you care about what they are not as natural as we often imagine. It takes careful practice. Try to identify what is being said. Don't just switch off because the other person is unclear, hesitant or difficult to follow. Remember you have a whole series of questioning techniques to help clarify your understanding.

Building rapport
Actively demonstrate that you are listening. This generates empathy between the people. Create a personal warmth by smiling and showing interest. Remove barriers to communication. These are many and can cause serious breakdowns in communication.
For example:
- Physical barriers like noise, interruptions and any kiind of distracting mannerism
- Psychological barriers interruptions, tactless comments, nervousness, misplaced humour and personal feelings
- Semantic barriers. Choice of words and how they are spoken; use of jargon, failure to accept that the other person may not speak your language well.

EFFECTIVE LISTENING

-As a positive approach to better listening, make a conscious effort to adopt these guidelines until they have developed into a natural habit of good listening.

-It is easy to overreact emotionally charged words. Rather than becoming competitive and argumentative, keep an open mind and wait for the whole picture before making your judgment.y say

- Don't "switch off" if what is being said seems boring or irrelevant. Listen for ideas and themes and keep looking for something of interest and use.

- Even if the content is interesting, the delivery may be poor. Try not to judge peope and what they they say it say by the way that they say it. Not everyone is able to communicate as well as you do.

- Be tolerant of people's quirks and habits in communication. These and all types of visual distraction can cause usto lose interest and concentration. Try not to lose concentration if people are slow in their speech

- Sometimes a subject may be slow or obscure. A poor listener will tend to reject this because it demands greater levels of mental effort. Provided that you hear their words correctly, you can always question to confirm your understanding.

- Practice active listening. All good habits need effort and practice to aquire but by concentrating on feeling alert, your actual concentration will improve.


USE PROPER WORDS AND LANGUAGE

-When you are speaking to someone, either face to face or on the telephone, the way you use wordsand your voice are all important. This applies to whatever language you are speaking.

- In written communications too, the way you phrase your sentences can make a real difference to the meaning ande people's understanding of your meaning. In Kampala, Luganda and English are the most commonly understood languages but we often need to communicate with people whose grasp of these languages may not be as good as our own.

- We have to deal with people from diverse origins not only within our areas but even those from outside. You are therefore literally representing your Company or Business in the way that you speak to customers

In business everything we say or write should be:
CLEAR, COURTEOUS, CONCISE, COMPLETE and CORRECT

CLARITY means being polite. The words you use and the way you use them can influence how the customers react to you as a person. What sounds acceptable to your own ears may seem quite abrupt or rude to the other person. This applies equally in written communications.

CONCISE means keeping to the point. Be as brief as politeness demands but not to the point of being too shortb and sharp.

COMPLETE means not leaving the other person guessing. Make sure you've said everything that needs to be said. If you are not sure, ask.

CORRECT means being accurate and not misleading. Too often, in trying to be helpful, we give information we are not sure of

Here are some ways of using words that will allow you to seem helpful and polite to improve the way people think of you.

PLEASE and THANK YOU although unimportant in many languages, these words are essential in English to convey politeness. Their absence can seem quite rude.
"Give me that" Try " May I please have that?"

"Over there" Be precise. " My colleague at counter number six will be able to help you with that. Thank you"

"Wait here" Please would you mind waiting here for a few moments while . . . . . . ."

"What do you want? "How can I help you"

" I can't help you". "I 'm afraid I can't help you with that but if you wouldn't mind waiting for a moment, I 'll find out who can."

" Come back tomorrow" "Could you please come back tomorrow?"

If all else fails, you can always win friends if you put a smile in your voice.


HANDLING DIFFICULT AND ANGRY CUSTOMERS
Acknowledge that a Problem Exists
Sometimes the problem is clear. For example, if the customer has been kept waiting or if delivery of goods has been delayed. On other occasions we can judge from what the customer says or by his attitude and manner that there is some difficulty. The danger lies in not spotting the problems early enough as we may then make it worse by insensitive handling of the situation. The real answer is to approach every customer in a professional and pleasant manner.This will enable us to act well in normal transactions as well as making sure that we do not get off on the wrong foot when unexpected difficulties arise.

SHOW CONCERN
Although what we say at this stage is important, the crucial aspect is the way that we say it, the way we look and and the way we act. These must add up to a real concern to help the customer. Body language can tell the customer much more than words alone. The secret is to think concern and this will be reflected automatically in our actions. To think one thing and say another will be shown i body language and will reveal your attitude to the customer as false.

COOL THE SITUATION
In most cases, the fact that you show genuine concern and are clearly prepared to help will take the heat out of the situation. If this is not enough, then extra measure may be needed. For example, ask the customer's name - and use it. This demonstrates personal concern. If possible, take the customer to a quieter area away from other customers. This will be more comfortable for them and easier for you. Give them a chance to let off steam. Most people will calm down once they have had their say and you can then establish the facts.

Get relaxed and keep yourself free from distractions. These will only annoy the customers further. At no stage must you allow yourself to become angry or lose your temper. Just think how you would wish tobe treated in such circumstances.

ESTABLISH THE FACTS
You will learn the facts by asking the right questions and by listening carefully. Ask open questions and avoid direct accusations. For example you can say " Is it possible that . . . ." instead of " Are you sure you didn't . . . . "
When the customer is speaking, make sure you listen to what they are saying rather than what you think they say. Be just as aware of what they are not saying. Omissions can prove to be just as important as actions. Try to think from their point of view but don't let them pull the wool over your eyes.

DECIDE IF THERE IS A GENUINE CASE.
If it sometimes happens that complaints are not justified or that the customer simply likes to be awkward. On such occasions, playing for time has certain advantages. If you say you will check with the manager, or head office, this suggests you are treating the problem seriously. It also gives time to think, and may be consult others. But don't use this as an obvious delaying tactic.

If you have to say "No" to the customer, make sure you can give good factual reasons. Be firm but above all polite and pleasant to show you are being reasonable. Consider how important the customer's good will is. If this fails, then you must seek a second opinion from a more senior person in the organization/business (if any)

ACT AS NECESSARY
If there is a genuine problem, it is your responsibility to provide a solution.
If someone else is better qualified to handle the situation and they are also available, then it is permissible to pass the customer on to them. If this is not possible, then you must assume responsibility yourself. This does not entitle you to become other people, departments, "systems", or the organization in general even if it is their fault. You represent your company/ businesses and your aim must be to give the customer a positive image of you, your company/business and your product or service. Handling people is a skill that can be learnt. It is an important part of your job and tackling it professionally will give you great satisfaction.


CARING FOR CUSTOMERS ON THE TELEPHONE
Speaking with customers on the telephone is not the same as face to face. For one thing, you cannot see them, and they cannot see you so you cannot see their reactions, can't see their situation, can't tell when they are distracted.This must be taken into account. You have to CONCENTRATE on what is being said, LISTEN to what they are saying and LET THEM KNOW.

When you answer the telephone, remember what your customers want: Assurance that they are through to the right company, the right department and the right person.

So say something like:
Goodmorning. This is courteous and it doesn't matter if it gets lost in the crackles.

ABC Company, for reassurance, wrong numbers are very common. Alternatively, statev your department/ name/ business name.

Don Dre speaking; showing you accept responsibility for the call

How may i help you?

This may sound a bit of a mouthful but just try it and see how people react to you.

Your VOICE is your biggest asset on the telephone. Make it friendly, courteous and professional. Speak loudly enough to be heard but not so loudly that it hurts to listen. Speak clearly and not too quickly. Avoid too many non-verbal noises such as "eeh" and "aah". When you take messages, remember to jot down all the necessary details including name , company, number and the message itself. Try to get into the habit of doing this every time, even if you think it's obvious.

Repeat the message back to the caller. This is very professional and their confidence in you and the company will increase greatly. It also shows you got it right.

If you take a message, if it is not meant for you in particular, but for someone else in your company/business, it is your responsibility to ensure it reaches the right person. Don't leave it lying around.

Remember to: BE CHEERFUL
BE HELPFUL
ESTABLISH WHAT THE CALLER NEEDS
REACH THE RIGHT PERSON
GIVE FULL MESSAGES

You may sometimes have to speak to difficult or angry customers. There are several things you can do to help you deal with these situations. If the customer is difficult or angry, remember that they feel they have a justifiable reason. Try to react personally -- concentrate on the issues. You are representing your company business, so be professional. And don't interrupt the caller. It only makes things worse and it isa lot better to let him let off steam first. Be calm. Let the caller give the full story. If you need to cool the situation, take down details a
nd call back later. But do always call back.

If you can help customers with problems and complaints by dealing with hem in a professional manner, you will generate good will and business for your company.

TELEPHONE DO'S AND DON'T'S

DO: Have pen and paper at hand
Use a friendly tone of voice
Speak into the mouthpiece
Speak slowly and clearly
Repeat messages
Listen and check understanding
Let the other person speak
Identify yourself to callers
Get their name and number immediately
Be cheerful and helpful





DON'T'S: Speak too softly or too quickly
Shout or whisper
Keep the caller hanging on
Put the phone down first
Eat, drink or smoke while talking
Do anything else at the same time
Forget they can go else where
Forget they are a source of your income.



COMPILED BY DON DRE

don_dre@newkampala.net

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sol_drethedon

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