Quality customer service is a vital element of success for small businesses. When it comes to customer satisfaction, customers don't want to be told they can't have something or that a problem can't be fixed because it's “company policy.”
To maintain good relations and encourage repeat business, it’s important that small-business employees and customer service team learn how to interpret and explain corporate policy in a way that customers can appreciate and understand, resulting in a positive customer experience and a resolution to the customer’s needs.
Explain to employees and customer service representatives, particularly those that deal directly with customer interactions, provide customer support and field customer complaints, why certain policies are in place. This allows them to respond in a way other than simply saying, “Sorry, that's business policy.”
For example, if your company requires two forms of photo identification to accept a credit card payment from a customer, direct staffers to describe why this policy is in effect. They might tell a customer, for instance: “We take our customer’s identity safety very seriously, which is why we request two forms of identification.
We want customers to know that their credit card information is safe with us, and that we’ll do everything we can to verify and protect that confidential data.” This is important so the business can receive positive customer feedback on social media, and therefore, customer loyalty and good customer relationships.
Use Simple Language
Help employees learn how to explain customer service policy to customers without talking down to them, yet not overwhelming them with industry jargon or unimportant details.
For example, rather than say, “Policy 341 states that we are unable to accept the return of unpackaged perishable goods,” instead try, “I'm sorry, but we can’t take back food that’s been opened because it could be a health hazard.”
This helps provide excellent customer service and help them understand future customer expectations.
Often, customers want the opportunity to speak or tell their side of the story for refunds, etc., so direct employees to listen just as much as they talk.
Sympathizing with a customer, particularly when it’s a frustrating situation, can help ease tension. Allow employees to say things like, “I'm sorry for the inconvenience,” or, “I know this must be frustrating for you.” then follow-up when a resolution is reached. This can make the difference between good customer service and great customer service. It also helps with retention of existing customers and attracting new customers without the need of a promoter or service reps.
Answer customer questions as directly as possible to ensure them that your rules and new policies are not arbitrary, but serve a specific purpose.
For example, if you run an upscale formal dress shop and have a policy of not allowing returns after 10 days, you might explain that many people buy expensive dresses for one event, wear them and return them, which is why the policy is in place.
Demonstrating that your policy applies to all customers can help some consumers feel less like they’re being targeted, and make them more likely to be understanding.