Techniques for Understanding Customer Needs

"The customer doesn't care how much you know until the know how much you care" this well known customer service concept has never been more true than now. Most markets are getting too tough, new competitors are popping up everyday whatever market you are in and the key differentiator has always been and still is customer service. Understanding the customer needs and showing them that you care is at the core of providing excellent customer service and exceeding the customer's expectations. The following key customer service concepts are the foundational concepts you need to first understand the customer needs to show them you care.

The customer needs to be understood
• Paraphrase
• Empathize
• Ask probing questions
• Actively listen and communicate with clarity and impact
• Tell customer what you can do not what you can’t do
• Remain calm
• Discuss solutions
• Avoid negative statements
• Acknowledge the problem
• Apologize on behalf of the company

The customer needs to feel welcome
• Use a pleasant greeting
• Be actively engaged in the conversation
• Maintain a positive and upbeat tone of voice (smile)
• Use the customers name
• Personalize the conversation
• End with an invitation to call back
• Introduce yourself and display proper business etiquette
• Ask if there is anything else you can help them with
• Appreciate the customer’s problem
• Thank the customer for calling and giving you a chance to correct the situation
• Assure the customer that the problem will be corrected

The customer needs to feel important
• Follow-up and have the vision, energy and passion to serve
• Involve the caller in the resolution
• Give the caller your immediate and active attention
• Keep multi-tasking to a minimum
• Explain to the customer when and why you are using the computer
• Let the customer know you appreciate their business
• Deliver what you promise
• Let them know they are a priority
• Selectively agree
• Treat the customer with respect
• Promise less: Deliver more

The customer needs to feel comfortable
• Be honest and upbeat
• Use a positive greeting
• Eliminate ambient noise
• Give reassurance

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