An important factor to remember in providing great customer service is that the customer is depending upon you and or your employees to be the expert in regards to your products/services. Whether you’re a small business owner or a manager in a large corporation, becoming an expert is critical in acquiring and retaining customers. What does it mean to be the expert? It means taking the time to become familiar with your products/services. How do they operate? What are the various features? How do these features benefit the customer? Which one will best fit the customer’s needs? Providing the correct answers to these and other questions builds trust with customers, which leads to long-term relationships (customer retention) and customer loyalty (long-term revenue).
Early in my customer service career with a Fortune 500 security systems provider, I learned the importance of being an expert. As an associate in the alarm monitoring center, I worked the evening shift which meant that a large portion of the commercial customers would be attempting to set their alarms at the end of their business day. From time to time, some of these customers would encounter problems setting the alarm and would call in for assistance. After initially receiving and stumbling through several of these calls, I thought it might be best if I educated myself on the operation of the various systems (this was before we developed a formal training program). This education proved invaluable as I became the go to person for customers calling in with alarm issues! The knowledge gained from reading the product materials allowed me to ask the proper questions to identify the system issue before developing a resolution and I also developed a good business relationship with the customers. While it may be fun for a while to be considered a hero, it quickly became overwhelming to be the only person with troubleshooting skills! I gathered the same product material for the other associates to utilize and we became a team of experts. This was great for the customer to get the same level of assistance from anyone answering the phone and it also improved employee morale as the whole team became more confident in handling alarm system issues.
Are you and or your employees product/services experts? Take the time to initiate product/services training so that everyone in your organization is an expert. Product/services knowledge leads to better assessments when determining how to best meet the wants and needs of your customer. Today’s customer has vast amounts of information at their disposal. Trust me, they can tell the difference between an expert and an impostor. As the customer gains trust in your ability as the expert, referrals are close behind. These referrals cost you absolutely 0 advertising dollars! Be the expert for the long term benefit to your business.