Customer service is critical in all businesses, especially in the incentive world. With more and more companies outsourcing this service, HMI has made a commitment to always have our own customer service employees, because having our own customer service really can help with the overall success of a program.
Excellent customer service starts by first taking the time to get to know the customer, the situation, the vision, the frustrations and the individual’s wants and needs. Since no two of our programs are the same, it is important to have customer service representatives that understand our products and our client’s needs. Since our CSR’s are always talking to our customers, we know how important it is to hire sharp, friendly people to be the face of the company.
When looking into an incentive program for your business it is important to not only look at the product, but the support that goes with it. Based on my own personal experience, I have defined four rules crucial to delivering top notch customer service:
1. Listen. - When customers complain there is a reason. More importantly, it is an opportunity to learn something, so hear the person out without interrupting. This will help resolve the issue faster and more accurately.
2. Never take the situation personally. Customer complaints are about the products or service that did not meet their expectations. Taking it personally, getting defensive, or getting angry only makes the situation worse. Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes when trying to solve a customer service issue.
3. Offer a sincere apology for the inconvenience. We all have experienced what it feels like when your purchase something and it didn’t arrive in time or wasn’t what you expected. Even huge corporations with high-tech automated systems can make errors, but it is your response to the situation that really matters. Treat others the way you like to be treated.
4. Never say “it’s not my job or my department or my responsibility.” Take ownership! If you work at the company that made/shipped the product or sold the service, it is your job! Make a personal commitment to do whatever it takes to fix the problem even if it is not in your job description.