Great customer service is all about focusing on treating customers well and exceeding their expectations. Following such approaches help businesses to engage customers and build strong relationships. American Express says, “68% of customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service representative”.
Irrespective of your business, excellence in customer service etiquette can distinguish you and give you the edge over your competition. The basic principles of service etiquette should be integrated into every facet of your business to deliver top quality service.
Empower your support team with proper training and education on how to interact with customers. The customer service manners and rules can help businesses to deliver superior customer service, cultivate long-term relationships with clients, and build customer loyalty.
Top 12 customer service etiquette to deliver a better experience
It is crucial to understand the importance of customer service etiquette for interacting with customers. In order to gain that understanding, you need to train & educate your employees on how to communicate with customers to deliver excellent customer service experience.
Here are the key customer service manners and rules that will help you to deliver excellent customer support.
- Be transparent about your products and services
- Offer proactive sales & support assistance
- Ask the customer for feedback after a resolution
- Use the right vocabulary
- Personalize your conversation
- Listen to your customers
- Offer gratitude to your customers
- Maintain a professional attitude
- Drill customer service etiquettes in your team
- Use interpersonal skills
- Keep your customers updated
- Be confident
Let us discuss the principles of customer service etiquette that can help your customer service associates to understand customers and handle them efficiently.
#1. Be transparent about your products and services
“Transparency is the new normal.” – Forbes
Customers look for transparent information about brands. Businesses while implementing the transparency practices must understand from customers’ perspective to what they want to know and hear.
One way to come up with that list is to look at the most common customer problem areas.
Based above areas here are some customer service etiquette tips to be followed:
- Be truthful and accurate – Impart authentic information related to products and services to avoid future confusion among customers.
- Keep your promises – Don’t make fake commitments and set customer expectations that will break their trust and loyalty.
- Share the knowledge – Know your brand offers and discounts prior to offering to customers to maintain brand efficiency.
#2. Offer proactive sales and support assistance
Being proactive means understanding customers’ issues and offering support before the customer reaches out to your support team. InContact study drew an inference that customers are satisfied and positive with proactive customer service.
Live chat is the best channel to offer proactive support to customers. With live chat software, you can connect with customers in real time when they are facing any issue or are stuck on any specific page.
You can also engage customers by using visual engagement tools like video chat & co-browsing solutions to make conversation interactive and effective. You can collaborate with the customer’s browser to identify issues faster and offer effective solutions. You improve customer satisfaction by reducing the number of touchpoints.
Customers prefer multiple channels like websites, social media, Facebook messenger, etc. to connect with you. You should offer omni channel support to engage them across their preferred channels and deliver consistent customer service. Live chat helps to gain valuable insights on the customer journey and trigger the right message at the right time to deliver the best omnichannel customer service.
Proactive customer service etiquette manners accelerate customer satisfaction as well as business productivity by:
- Improving customer loyalty – GDS report says, the businesses that follow proactive customer service etiquette noticed growth in the customer retention rates by 3-5%.
- Reduce customer support tickets – Identifying the issues and assisting customers with customer engaging tools before they become complex problems reduces the number of request tickets.
- Multi channel conversational engagement – Customers share their good and bad experiences with brands over social media. You can proactively handle such conversations to improve your brand image.
#3. Ask the customer for feedback after a resolution
Customer feedback is a vital ingredient for the success of any business. Through feedback, you can improve the effectiveness of your products and services. The best time to ask customers for feedback is after the successful resolution of the problem.
By analyzing customer feedback, you can measure customer satisfaction levels to improve customer service etiquette to deliver a better experience that further improves retention.
The key reasons why customer feedback is important for your business.
- Feedback from customers helps you to know what customers feel about the brand.
- Identify the gaps between the customers and the business and end up with a product that is sheer perfection.
- You can instill the feedback into customer service etiquette training to improve communication.
- It opens up a conversation with customers and develops a long lasting relationship.
- Customers feel appreciated for their opinion regarding the product.
#4. Use the right vocabulary
It is very important to choose the right words before you speak to your customers. The customers can get a bad impression with certain words or phrases used by the customer support agents.
Customers generally switch brands because they are put off by untrained or rude support professionals. McKinsey reports say, “70% of the customer’s journey is dictated by how the customer feels they are being treated”.
The video explains the magical customer service phrases to be used during real time conversations.
Support representations with proper customer service etiquette can make customers fall in love with your brand.
Phrases to be used during conversations are:
- How can I help?
- I’m sorry
- I can understand why you’d feel that way. Let’s see what can be done now
- You’re welcome
And phrases to be avoided are:
- Sorry about that
- I don’t know
- Unfortunately no
- No problem
#5. Personalize your conversation
Personalization adds a spark to the boring customer service. Irrespective of your business sector and size, connect with customers at a personal level and deliver personalized customer experience.
By using AI chatbot, you can engage your customers 24×7 and for complex queries, you can direct them to the right support channel immediately. 79% of buyers only consider brands that understand and care about them.
Here are customer service etiquette rules to follow:
- Make the conversations one-on-one basis, that will give a special feeling to the customer.
- Use the first name to address the customers while talking to them.
- Identify the nature of the problem and understand customer needs.
- Send personalized greetings to set a personal tone to your conversation.
Never waste time on general questions – jumping directly to the right solution for the customer makes the process personal as well as efficient.
#6. Listen to your customers
Never fail to make your customers feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated. Be knowledgeable of and understand the relevant policy and procedures.
Always listen to what they say. A significant number of customer complaints are just about the fact that no one “listens” to them. It is a big relief for a customer to know that someone is listening to them and trying their best to resolve issues for them.
Without listening to your customers you will never know the problem or the complexity of the issue.
Follow the below customer service etiquette manners:
- Listening actively is one of the best ways to serve your customers. You should not interrupt them in between. It helps you to identify the problems and provide relevant solutions.
- Attentively listening to customers helps to figure out what exactly your customers want, their opinions, feedback, etc. All the customer information collected can be passed to the teams across respective business platforms to implement it.
#7. Offer gratitude to your customers
An important principle of customer service etiquette is to demonstrate good manners. Your support team should be well trained to offer gratitude at the end of the conversion. One way to create a positive experience for customers is always to say “thank you.” Kindness and gratitude to customers are a sure way to further engage them for long term.
Believe it or not, a sincere thank you goes a long way. Establish a company culture of high quality customer service and commit to delivering superior service whether over the phone or face-to-face.
#8. Maintain a professional attitude
Being professional is a very important customer service etiquette that needs to maintain in all scenarios.
Tips to follow:
- Refer to customers as ‘Mr. XXX or Sir’ and ‘Mam’.
- You are supposed to ask customers – if it is OK to put the customer on hold and apologize if the customer was on hold for more than 60 seconds.
- Avoid using slang words or obscenities.
- Do not refer to the customer by the first name if it is not insisted on by them.
Following the above examples helps to set a professional tone throughout your conversation. It impresses the customers and is always appreciated.
#9. Drill customer service etiquette in your team
Training should be restricted only to top-level employees. You can make customer support etiquette a core part of your team training. And it should be consistent across all the departments and teams.
Few customer service etiquette training tips to follow are:
- Have regular team calls – You can share all the important information across the whole team so that they understand the customer issues.
- Conduct product service training – You can educate your team with all the existing and new features and problem-solving techniques for dealing with customers. If needed you also arrange interpersonal and team building activities
#10. Use interpersonal skills
Lend your ears as well as undivided attention to your customers. It never goes waste.
Your voice should be such that your customers feel happy after talking to you. If you sound dour it will leave a bad impression as words and inflection over a phone are much more important than in a face-to-face encounter.
Here are some basic customer service etiquette for different channels:
Proper phone etiquette
- Always have a purpose for your call.
- State your name and reason for the call. Ask the customer if it’s a convenient time to talk.
- Keep conversations brief and to the point.
- Speak slowly and politely.
The video helps us to understand why it is important to listen to the customers.
- Don’t use email in place of a phone call or personal meeting.
- Frequently save your email as you are writing so that you don’t end up losing any work.
- Reference attachments in the body of the message.
- Select a subject line that is targeted and relevant to your overall message.
Call center etiquette
- Always introduce yourself and the company
- Ask the caller if it is okay to place them on hold and wait for them to say it’s okay
- Inform the caller as to why they are being transferred
- Mention why it is in their best interest to be transferred
Live chat etiquette
- Always set a positive tone by using the right scripts and phrases.
- Make the right use of canned responses to deliver faster replies to customers.
- Keep your commitments to your customers.
- Show empathy when required.
You may also like to read more on how to use live chat etiquette tips for customer service success.
11. Keep your customers updated
Your customer service etiquette should not miss out the golden rule of keeping your customers updated about your new products, plans, policies, etc.
It is very important to train your team to update customers because they have to provide a time frame to your customers. Why?
Because when you resolve their issues within the time frame you gain a loyal customer at that point.
For example – If a customer has ordered something and not received on the date of delivery, he will be calling you to know the exact reason. You can be able to give a genuine reason, apologizing for the delay and inconvenience also assuring a date of delivery.
12. Be confident
Sometimes well-trained people also get fumbled, while dealing with a tricky request specially or when there is a new product launch. One of the key customer support etiquette techniques is to remain positive, calm, and poised while answering to customers.
Being confident not only creates a positive image for your brand but also builds trust and customers start believing in your brand.
What you can be confident?
- Politely ask your customers to please wait so you can deliver exactly what they’re asking.
- If you don’t know the answer, don’t apologize profusely or say that there’s nothing else you can do. Transfer to another associate or the manager in order to provide them the best possible experience. You should not feel that you are not able to provide quality service when referring the customer to a more experienced member of the team.
Final thoughts on customer service etiquette
Every business should focus on giving customers why they came for. You need to understand what exactly they are going through and look for and match their expectations keeping the right processes in place. Customer service etiquette training will ensure that your customers receive superior service with each interaction.