How to Treat Customers Professionally
By Alexandra Kozma
| 2. November 2022 |
Customer Experience - Service & Support
By A. Kozma Alexandra Kozma
| 2 Nov 2022 |

    6 Tips on How To Treat Customers Professionally

    photo business group

    What makes a customer service experience excellent? Ultimately, it all comes down to how you make your customers feel. Remember: happy customers lead to a thriving business!

    Remember: happy customers lead to a thriving business! 

    In this article, we collected everything you need to know about how to treat your customers professionally, what steps to follow to make them feel satisfied with your service, and what to focus on for long-term success.

    Why should you treat your customers well?

    In our increasingly competitive world, customer expectations are continuously growing. Unless you go out of your way to guarantee that your customers feel happy, you might risk losing them. 

    The math is simple. Unhappy customers stop paying for your services = you lose revenue. Happy customers want to continue buying from you and even tell their friends about it = you boost conversions.

    Happier customers lead to higher long-term revenue and a better reputation for your company. Downplaying the importance of customer service is a big mistake. 

    6 Ways To Make Customers Feel Special

    A good customer relationship goes a long way. Let’s look at 6 steps you can take to make your customers feel more satisfied with your service.

    #1 Active listening is a must

    What a basic idea, right? Yet, it’s one of the most commonly overlooked concepts.

    Active listening is more than just letting the caller speak without interruption. To make your customers feel truly heard, show your understanding by asking questions, repeating back the key ideas, or simply saying a few encouraging, affirming words, like,  ‘I see what you mean, ‘Please keep going’, or ‘I’m sorry you went through this’.

    Make sure that you remember everything the caller tells you (take notes!), and guarantee that you’ll do everything in your power to find a suitable solution.  

    Even the most irate customers tend to feel a bit calmer when they know that the company they gave their money to is not ignoring their concerns. 

    #2 Actions speak louder than words

    Words are empty when they’re not backed up with actions. Anyone can make promises – prove that your business is different by keeping them. For example, if you tell the customer that you’ll get back to them within 24 hours, make sure you send them a follow-up message before the day is over. 

    Or, instead of just saying “sorry”, give the customer a gift, a free upgrade, or any token of appreciation that seems appropriate in your case.

    Your customers will notice that you go out of your way to guarantee the best possible customer experience. 

    #3 Invest In Quality Customer Service Processes

    With modern-day VoIP solutions, technology is here to help you boost customer experience. 

    For example, you can ask your customers to provide feedback on your product or service or ask them to rate their current satisfaction levels with a simple tap on their phone screens. 

    Receiving regular feedback can help you stay on track with the current level of customer satisfaction and step in before it’s too late.

    But don’t worry – you and your team won’t need to spend extra time sending out these forms after each call. A VoIP telephony tool like CloudTalk can automatically send out such surveys to the customer right after their interaction with your support team, thanks to Workflow Automation

    See how to Retain Customers and Win Their Loyalty.

    Ebook cover excellent customer service

    #4 Make things easy for your customers

    When all information is at our fingertips, we don’t want to waste time looking for them. Often, it’s less effort to go to the competitor instead. 

    However, if you anticipate their needs, your clients will feel that you truly care about making their lives easier, winning some brownie points – and recurring customers.

    Show your customers that you respect the time and money they invested in your services by making things easy for them. 

    For example, create a thorough knowledge base section on your website that answers most FAQs, make the “Chat with us” icon visible at all times throughout your website and apps, place dynamic QR codes on your physical products, make all important buttons (login, upgrade, cancellation, etc.) visible, and so on.

    #5 Focus On Individual Customer Stories

    Everyone is different. Even if you only sell one product or service, your customers might come from different backgrounds, have different levels of knowledge or experience, and wish to solve different problems. Acknowledging this fact is crucial – and with the technology we have today, it’s not even that complicated. 

    The number one thing you need to take advantage of is segmentation. 

    For example, create different groups (or segments) within your email subscribers based on their purchase history, demographics, or activity. 

    Why is that useful?

    Well, imagine that you have products that keep you warm in winter – you may not sell them to a whole lot of people in Mexico. In fact, they might feel like you’re wasting their time with such an offer, and might not open your future emails as a result. Send your products to your subscribers from Norway instead! 

    On top of that, you can also use skill-based routing and ACD (automatic call distribution) in your call center. You could add VIP customers to your 24/7 support line or send foreign callers to agents who speak their language.

    With VoIP software features such as real-time customer cards, call notes, or contact history, your agents will have all the information about the caller right in front of them. 

    Imagine the frustration you take off your customers’ shoulders by not making them repeat their backstory over and over! 

    #6 Show Respect and Use Proper Language When Speaking on the Phone

    Your customers deserve your respect. After all, your business would likely fail if they took their money elsewhere.

    As Kenneth B. Elliott allegedly said:

    “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

    (We highly recommend printing this quote as a daily reminder) 

    Even if you find it hard to handle difficult customers, always remember the bigger picture: customers keep companies alive. 

    As long as you’re representing your company, give customers the respect they deserve and show that in your language.

    For example, never fight back or hurt the customer, even if they sound irrational; and never say “I don’t know” to their request, but offer to go the extra mile and see what’s possible.

    Keep in mind that customers, however difficult they might be at times, are the ones that are responsible for your salary. The nicer and more empathetic you’re with them, the more likely they’ll keep paying the company you work for, thus enabling your monthly paycheck.

    When you remember this, it’ll help you instantly handle customers with respect. 

    We compiled 9 ways to treat difficult customers, and you can read them in this blog post.

    Taking good care of the customer also means….

    …knowing how to thank them

    Customer service agents should always know how to show appreciation. Forget all cliché phrases used in every other phone call. The thank-you statement should fit the specific situation. The traditional “thank you for your time” can turn an upset customer into a furious one. In that case, it would be more appropriate to say, “thank you for your understanding and patience“. Communication should always be tailored to the customer. 

    In addition to picking the right words, you can also show appreciation via action. For example:

    • Send a handwritten thank-you note
    • Provide a free sample
    • Go the extra mile with helpful tips and solutions
    • Offer a special discount

    …knowing how to say sorry, if you were mistaken

    ‘Sorry’ might not come easy, but a call center agent should never be frugal with this word.

    However, the point we made in the previous section also holds true in this case. Just saying ‘sorry’ is empty and meaningless. 

    Or worse, sometimes a ‘sorry’ can be downright offensive – the customer might feel like your company is covering their lack of effort with this overused expression.

    Always be specific, empathetic, and proactive – for example, “I’m sorry that we couldn’t find a solution to your problem. I understand why it’s an inconvenience for you. While I cannot promise a solution today, let me offer a workaround / a refund / a free month”.

    While you can’t make every customer happy, often you can decrease frustration with a proper apology. 

    Put your focus on how to turn customers into lifelong clients

    Ultimately, your goal is to boost your company’s reputation, attract new clients and turn your existing ones into loyal, recurring customers. 

    The best way to start is by going out of your way to keep customer satisfaction high. 

    Here’s a checklist for you:

    • How long does it take to solve a customer query? Is there a way you could keep it shorter?
    • Are you asking only specific, relevant questions? Anything that’s fluff is wasting your caller’s time, thus increasing their impatiens and dissatisfaction.
    • Does the customer generally end the conversation in a better or worse mood than how they started the conversation? What do you think causes the change in their mood?
    • When you can’t solve a problem, how do you make sure that the customer still leaves with a good impression of the company?

    Professional discussion requires patience

    Handling customers professionally requires many soft skills that might take years to develop. Don’t worry if your agents haven’t got the hang of it just yet. Encourage continuous deliberate practice, training sessions, and learning from the recordings of your best-performing agents.

    Even if the result is not yet perfect, any improvement might result in a few more customers. 

    A pro tip for improving your agents’ soft skills: practice with role-playing games where they’re the customers who have a problem; and also encourage them to take notes whenever they make a purchase in their personal life that they need assistance with. 

    Knowing how it feels to be on the other side and how easy it is to get confused, frustrated, angry, or anxious can help your agents not only to gain awareness and understanding but also come up with more useful and realistic ways to deal with difficult customers. 

    Ready to provide excellent customer service?

    Which one of these steps can you implement right now? Here is one we can help with: start by implementing the right technology to get instant customer feedback, have easy access to customer profiles, monitor your agents to continuously improve their performance, and more! 

    FAQ Section

    What did you find in this article?

    How to treat customers professionally?

    Here are 7 tips on how to do so: 

    ▪️ always listen to your customers,
    ▪️ personalize your communication as much as possible,
    ▪️ show respect,
    ▪️ deploy a customer-centric mindset,
    ▪️ train your employees on how to communicate with customers,
    ▪️ enhance your customer service,
    ▪️ check customer satisfaction level regularly,
    ▪️ deliver a great customer experience.

    Check out our more in-depth article about how to improve customer service in the workplace to know more than 7 tips.

    How to treat customers with respect?

    Treating your customer with respect is basically the same thing as being polite and kind to people around you. Inspire your employees to:

    ▪️ be polite and kind even in not pleasant situations,
    ▪️ remember that actions speak louder than words,
    ▪️ use proper language and positive phrases when speaking on the phone,
    ▪️ lead a professional discussion with patience (but stay friendly),
    ▪️ thank you, customers.

    How to treat VIP customers?

    VIP customers are probably the strongest ambassadors of your business. You need to create incentives and rewards to show them that you value their faithfulness. Here are some of your options:

    ▪️ improve your loyalty programs (Give out points for actively participating in promotional events, introduce a welcome loyalty program reward, birthday reward or early sale access, provide exclusive discounts and unique offers throughout the year, offer X months of free shipping, as well as access to exclusive brands, collections, and pieces, implement a priority customer care and fast routing to the expert team, extend a return period to 28-day.),
    ▪️ make your services extra personalized (use data to enhance experiences, send personalized emails, create meaningful opt-in forms & thank you pages, chat with prospects in real time, give out personalized follow-ups, provide context-based support, solve customer complaints immediately, always use customers names),
    ▪️ pay attention to VIP customers’ feedback,
    ▪️ deploy reward programs (sales or promotional offers, surprise gifts, free access to add-on services, personalized thank you cards and gifts, charitable donations to causes they care about, exclusive access to services).

    The customer retention process is crucial for your business. It’s a procedure of turning one-time clients into loyal and repetitive clients. Making your customer VIP can help you to increase your loyal customer base.

    How to treat unhappy customers?

    ▪️ Start using an empathetic customer service mindset that will make your customer feel understood.
    ▪️ Listen actively. It is one of the most important steps in order to successfully deal with unhappy or angry customers.
    ▪️ Repeat their concern. It shows that you care. Here’s an example of what you can say: “I understand that you are about XY. Am I right?”.
    ▪️ Be empathetic and stay cool under the pressure.
    ▪️ Offer a solution, ideally more than 1.
    ▪️ Always follow up after a while if all is fine, and show that you and the company really care.
    ▪️ Ask for feedback.

    How to treat customers as individuals?

    If you don’t treat your customers as individuals, you will never be able to keep them completely satisfied with your services. Here is what you can do:

    ▪️ always show respect and use the right words,
    ▪️ focus on customers’ feedback,
    ▪️ personalize your communication with the customers,
    ▪️ focus on individual customer stories,
    ▪️ make every customer feel valued,
    ▪️ train your customer service employees on how to communicate,
    ▪️ check customer satisfaction level regularly,
    ▪️ always use appreciation notes.