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Customer Service: What Works for any Business

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By Mike Clear, HSA Home Warranty’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

customer_service_call_centerNo matter what your job title is, in real estate, customers are the reason your company thrives. Whether you’re a real estate agent, an administrator or in sales, customers and clients breathe life into your business. Because they’re so important, customer service should be everyone’s top priority. After all, if they’re not happy, your business is likely to suffer. It really doesn’t matter what your business is, or how you implement good customer service—as long as the customer is the number one priority, you’re on the right track.

This has never been more important than now in the social media age of “instant gratification.” With the average Facebook user having more than 200 friends, you can imagine how quickly negative reviews can spread. Not to mention the myriad other options today’s consumers have to instantly spew a negative thought about your business, that in the past would have been long forgotten by the time they sat down to write a negative letter.

But how do you provide good customer service across your entire organization, from receptionist to CEO?

Here at HSA Home Warranty, we interact with thousands of customers every day through our 24/7 call center, sales representatives and on social media. We know it’s important to consistently provide thoughtful answers to questions, and quick response times to any issues that come up.

Here are four proven strategies that we use, which can be applied to your business:

-       Practice empathy. Empathy can elicit trust, and it often de-escalates stressful situations. Many times, trainers will teach this through role=playing activities, which simulate real-life examples associates will encounter.

-       Get to their level. It is equally important to speak with customers in ways they will understand. This means limiting the use of jargon and slang, especially when discussing complicated products or situations. Your associates are likely experts in your market, and may often use technical terms. Even those that are well known in your industry can be confusing to your customers. A customer is going to care the most about resolving their current issue.

-       Consistently monitor your service. At HSA, supervisors listen to phone calls with all associates on a regular basis. They discuss both what went well, and what could be improved. By doing this simple exercise, many issues are resolved instantly—because associates are able to listen to how they sound on the other side of the call. Plus, it keeps experienced employees sharp, and focused on the nuances of their training.

-       Don’t ignore or delete. Confront negative reviews and comments posted by consumers via social media head on. This is actually a great opportunity to shine in front of hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of other consumers waiting to see how you will react. Ultimately, you may never be able to change that negative review to a positive, but during the process you may very well have earned some new fans and squelched some potential problems before they ever arose.

Remember, your business relies on your customers. Especially as a real estate agent, referrals from clients who had a great experience with you will drive more new business.   With new business ventures, expanding markets and changing tactics, most business’ customer service strategies change over time. You’re always going to encounter something new as your business grows and you may have to change your customer service strategies to adapt. Look at the impact that social media and online reviews have had on customer service.

This is extremely important in keeping up with your customers’ expectations, and providing them excellent customer service for years to come.

For more information, visit http://www.onlinehsa.com.

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