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I recently stumbled across an interesting article on the Salesforce blog about customer service actions you should stop doing. From being confronted with bad grammar and slang talk, to the anger-inducing request to call back due to high call volumes, there was no shortage of frustrating actions to name.

Unfortunately, as customers, we’ve all experienced many of them at some stage. Usually it’s the onerous ‘your call is very important to us’, followed by a 30 minute flute solo. So here are 20 actions you should be doing to ensure your customers have an excellent experience each and every time.

1. Have an in-depth knowledge of yoCustomer service excellenceur product or service so you can best help your customers

2. Likewise, be knowledgeable about your procedures so you can solve customers’ issues on the first call

3. Have a positive, friendly and enthusiastic attitude

4. Avoid sounding like your answers are scripted

5. Be a good listener. Take your time to identify what the customer needs in order to give them the best advice

6. Make customers feel important and valued by using their name and treating them as individuals

7. Treat your employees the way you want your customers treated

8. Provide customer service training to employees

9. Keep on-hold time to a minimum. The longer the customer holds, the greater chance they will avoid your brand in the future

10. Offer simple IVR menus so your customer doesn’t have to navigate through endless options in order to speak to the right person

11. Only try to upsell to customers with relevant products and services

12. Deliver any bad news early and ensure this is followed with a solution to the problem

13. Speak clearly and give the customer an opportunity to ask questions

14. Present the benefits for taking a particular course of action

15. Ensure the caller is clear about what to expect and what the next course of action will be

16. Make it easy for customers to contact your business by making phone numbers visible on your website

17. Ensure your recorded up-sell messages are targeted

18. Try to avoid repetitive hold music that may annoy the caller!

19. Ask your customers to rate their experience with post-call surveys

20. Integrate your telephony with a cloud CRM system to provide a personalised service

For exceptional customer service, go the extra mile. Include a personal note in a customer’s delivery; send a birthday card or a box of chocolates to celebrate their promotion. The ripple effects of outstanding customer service extend beyond satisfaction and retention. It distinguishes your brand, builds repeat business and improves employee morale. Added to that, word of mouth is arguably the most trusted and influential form of advertising there is.

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About Nicola Brookes

Nicola is corporate communications director at NewVoiceMedia. She will mostly blog about customer service, industry news, events and company updates. Follow Nicola on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbrookespr

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