Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and anyone in the chocolates, flowers or cards business will already be seeing an increase in their sales. Some businesses will take the opportunity to mark the day by offering free gifts to their clients to thank them for their support. Customers always like free gifts but they can soon be forgotten if there is no follow through.

Winning new customers is part and parcel of running any type of business but keeping those customers is just as important. A Customer Service charter which sets out the key elements of service provision should permeate throughout the company. Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to reinforce your companies passion to deliver the best quality service possible.  

A Customer Service Checklist serves as a useful tool to highlight to staff the importance of offering an amazing customer experience to each and every customer. Having said this, here are five tips to effective customer service:

  1. Smile as you are answering the phone and always give your name  

    The Chinese Proverb ‘A man without a smiling face must not open a shop’ reinforces this. Providing your name should spark a connection with the caller and it gives them a point of reference in your company should they need to call back again. Clients appreciate this.

  2. Ask the caller for their name and use it

    There is nothing more personal than someone’s name and although you may never have met the person, by using their name you immediately make a connection and demonstrate that you are listening intently to what they are saying.

  3. When answering calls always give your full attention to the caller and their needs

    Your focus should be on the caller’s needs and how you can help them. It can help to summarise at the end of the call your understanding of their requirements and then you can advise them of the action you are going to take.

  4. Listen carefully

    This applies to every single call but most especially to irate callers. These are the calls where a company can learn most about their service offering and their shortcomings.

  5. If you promise to return a call always keep that promise

    Even if you have not yet got the information or product they were looking for.

So go ahead and treat your customers on Valentine’s Day but don’t forget to make them feel special each and every time they walk in to your firm or pick up the phone to ring. Customers never forget how you make them feel and this is what brings them back to your company and not to your competitors.