Service Etiquette

I’ve probably never met most of you, dear readers, but I’m going to make an assumption:  the majority of you interact with customers at your place of work.  Some days this part of your job may come really naturally, perhaps you’re in a pleasant mood after a nice weekend.  Other days it might be all you can do to muster a smile when someone needs your assistance.  Read on for some suggestions on how to excel at customer service etiquette.

Expertise and Friendliness

It comes down to two traits:  expertise and friendliness.  Customers want to know that you are competent but they also want to feel appreciated.

Throughout your entire interaction with a customer, assure them you are an expert with lots of experience and extensive knowledge in industry.  Obviously you can’t do this unless you really are very comfortable with your field of work.  While employers have a responsibility to properly train employees and provide them with the resources needed, employees likewise have a responsibility to diligently apply themselves to mastering the information.  Doing so will allow customer service representatives to use their expertise to find the best solution for customers.

The next key to pleasing your customers is to treat them with kindness.  It sounds simple but it goes a long way to carry a cheerful, friendly demeanor, a positive tone, and welcoming body language.  Never be aggressive, argue, or interrupt.  Use your best manners and be as polite as possible by calling them “sir” or “ma’am.”  Furthermore, give them your complete attention by blocking out distractions, writing down details, and asking questions to make sure you understand.  If they have a problem, empathize by telling them how you would feel in their situation.

Via Email

Statistics prove that a large majority of customers rely on technology to get answers to questions.  Therefore, it is vital to conduct yourselves with superior customer service skills when emailing customers as well.

Do this by doing the following:

  • Respond promptly to emails.  If they’ve emailed you, they are looking for a quick, convenient response so you should get back to them within the day.
  • Be professional by employing full sentences, proper spelling and grammar, and accessible vocabulary.
  • Personalize your message by responding to the specific questions asked.  Sending a template response reflects a lack of concern.
  • At the end of your email, thank them for their business, direct them to where they find more information, and include your contact details.

However, keep in mind that you should never use emails as a way to avoid personal contact which leads to our next section.

Via Phone

The first rule of thumb is to answer the phone quickly, don’t let it ring more than 3 times before picking up.  Then, speaking clearly, identify yourself and your company to the caller.  For instance, if you work for a heating and air conditioning company and your name is Mike your conversation could begin like this: “Hi this is Mike.  Thank you for calling [name of your company], the best services for HVAC Salt Lake City has to offer.”

Also, minimize the amount of time the caller is on hold.  Most callers would prefer you return the call later rather than keeping them on hold too long.  But when you do need to put them on hold, make sure to use the phone’s hold feature so that the caller doesn’t hear any background noise while they’re waiting.  When you return, thank them for waiting, apologize for the wait time, and explain what you were doing.

Follow these tips and you’ll not only feel confident in your customer service skills, but you’ll also have happy customers who keep coming back.

By Jessica Christensen

Jessica has copious first-hand experiences with customer service etiquette.  A handful of jobs requiring it funded her college education which led to her current position as a professional writer addressing various topics such as do-it-yourself projects, heating and air conditioning services, and self help.

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