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5 Customer Service Skills That Really Matter

21Abraham Lincoln said: You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.

Customer service is crucial to the success of any business in aviation. We can all agree that customer service is fundamentally about people. It's about customer expectations and it?s about front line employee's desire and ability to meet those expectations. Given that our aim should be to please all of our customers, all of the time - we aim to achieve exactly what Lincoln says is impossible. How can we achieve this? Through excellent training - below are the top five customer service skills that we think really make a difference to the customer experience.

Be a great listener

Effective Listening and Questioning are communication techniques that require one to understand, interpret, and evaluate what the customer is saying.

The ability to listen actively and question effectively can improve inter-personal relationships and reduce conflict, increasing cooperation between the employee and the customer and nurturing an understanding of the customers? needs and expectations.

How?

Don't interrupt the customer, stay calm and in control. With the right type of questions one can obtain new information, verify existing information and clarify the intentions of the customers. With a few small statements in a supportive but concerned tone of voice, you can demonstrate active listening and empathetic behaviour to a customer as well as confirming the issues customers have voiced. We teach this skill on our customer service course.

Adapt your communication style to every situation

We need to understand the personalities and social styles of customers in order to deal with them appropriately and to resolve problems efficiently. "Social style" is the behaviour that one exhibits when interacting with others. Being aware of our own social style helps developing relationships, particularly with customers* . Understanding a customer's personality type, communication and social style, as researched by psychologists, can give one some clues as to how to help customers have a pleasant experience.

*Merrill, D.W. & Reid, R.H. 1991. Personal Styles and Effective Performance

Let's see who our customers are:

Amiable - As the name suggests, these people are friendly and outgoing. They are usually talkative and are eager to share their thoughts and feelings with others, even strangers. They are highly social and value the opinions of others.

Expressive - These individuals are hard to miss because they enjoy being the centre of attention. Generally, they are very self-focused and social. Expressive individuals are typically full of creativity and excitement.

Analytical - These individuals want to know the facts. They aren't interested in what other people think; their opinion is the one that matters when it comes to making their own choices. They can often be somewhat reserved and aren't always eager to speak up about their own concerns or feelings.

Driver - Driver's want fast results. They are very time conscious and task-focused. They don't waste time with unnecessary information.

As one can probably guess, each of these personality types approach purchases and customer service differently. An amiable service representative may want to spend some time chatting with a customer before handling the actual business transaction, which might irritate a driver customer who just wants to know whether a product will solve his or her problem. Regardless of one's personality type, the service must be provided in a manner that will work well with the customer's personality type. This can sometimes be difficult, but it's necessary.

Learn how to identify each one of these Social Styles in a matter of seconds and the strategies of how to handle the different communication styles in our Aviation Customer Service Course.

Build rapport and empathy

Build rapport and empathy with every customer within a few seconds of the interaction. This encourages customers to feel comfortable and to trust both you and the brand. Making customers feel special is one of the essential elements in forming good customer relationships. One can show that a customer is worth the organization?s time and attention in many ways. Rapport enables the customer to feel comfortable with discussing their needs and offering honest feedback. Seeing a problem from the customers perspective, does not mean that we have to agree with them but allows them to see that we understand their frustrations. Acknowledging their frustration and expressing regret demonstrates that the service provider is concerned and wants to resolve the situation, putting you on the same team. It's crucial to use appropriate sentences to demonstrate genuine concern to the customer, and the wish to put things right.

Mirror your customer

Mirroring is based on the assumption that we tend to feel comfortable with people who communicate non-verbally in the same way we do. In other words, we are drawn to people when their body language (gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions or eye contact) is similar to ours. To create rapport with others instantly, we merely need to "mirror" their non-verbal communication. Mirroring does not mean "mimicking." Don't mirror the customers exactly; just similarly. That prevents the customers from thinking they're being imitated. We don't have to mirror a customer for longer than a few moments. Once they become comfortable the customer service provider can actually start leading the nonverbal communication, and customers will follow. Learn this technique in our course.

Use positive language

The disciplined use of positive language technique brings benefits in all types of interactions with customers. Customers want us to show that we care. Positive language will enable us to control and frame our communication. Using positive and declarative language and power words will overcome negative language and customers' experience. Even when we are conveying unpleasant news, the impact can be softened by the use of what we call positive language. We can communicate in a more positive way that is more likely to elicit cooperation rather than argument or confrontation. When we are communicating with customers the use positive language will project a helpful and positive image - emphasizing to the customer what can be done, suggesting alternatives and choices available to the customer sounds helpful and encouraging, and stresses positive actions and consequences that can be anticipated. Learn these skills in our course.

Contact us today on 02034880261 and learn these techniques on our Aviation Customer Service Course.

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