Customer Service Etiquette Tips

Have you ever received exceptional customer service and wondered what’s the secret of a great agent? A large part of being a good customer service agent is remaining professional in the most difficult situations and learning how to respectfully represent the customer and company. If you are wondering how to amp up your service skills just like the agents you admire, here are five effective tips on how to show professionalism, patience and dedication to each customer you meet.

  1. Listen attentively to customer’s concerns Whether the customer is asking about the price of a product or inquiring about the ethics of company policies, it is imperative you are just as attentive to both situations. Ask open-ended questions to discern their concerns and get the most information possible on what the issue is. Let them finish their question or comment, even if you know the answer immediately. As hard as it may be sometimes, wait until they finish.
  2. Always remain professional through every interaction The majority of customers are very aware of staff conversations and actions around the store. When on the sales floor, do not speak on personal topics or after-work activities. Cater to exactly what they want, and try not to offer your personal opinions. If a customer is acting rude or condescending, do not comment on it or let emotions get the best of you. Instead keep your composure while getting all the information you can actively listening to the customer and show you care through your facial expressions and body language. Don’t place blame on the customer or the company when clarifying the situation or explaining the policies or solve the problem by making promises that cannot be kept.
  3. Be truthful While it is easy to ‘talk up’ a product or company policy, make sure you are being honest about those policies, regulations, and product services. As more U.S. Americans are choosing to buy online, customers that do venture into the store have often researched the product thoroughly. Do not make up a glorified answer simply to make a quick sale. Remember, the customer wants to get the best information. Address any points of concern with the customer, and provide other options they may not have considered.
  4. Preparation is Key Be sure to stay informed about the company, its culture and policies, and make sure you’re up to date on product education and training. If you have all the information you need, you will be prepared to inform the customer as best you can and provide exemplary service.
  5. Remain confident Even the most experienced agents get nervous on their first day at a new job, when dealing with a particularly tricky request, or when a new and unfamiliar product launches. Remember to remain positive and calm, keeping your composure and poise while answering what you know. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer to please wait so you can deliver exactly what they’re asking. If you don’t know the answer, don’t apologize profusely or say that there’s nothing else you can do. Rather, excuse yourself so that you can find another associate or the manager in order to provide them the best possible experience. Don’t feel as though you failed to provide quality service when referring a customer to a more experienced member of the team.

We hope these 5 tips will help you better your skills as a customer service agent. Be informative, friendly and courteous, and in no time you will be able to be the most helpful and productive customer service agent there is!

Sharon Schweitzer and Sophia Syed co-wrote this article. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.

Sophia Syed is a Summer 2017 cross-cultural communication intern with Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. As a third-culture kid who has lived abroad in countries including Dubai, Jamaica, and Singapore, she has interacted with many different nationalities in both a professional and personal setting. She was a Dubai student representative for the Global Issues Network Conference in Luxembourg in the Spring of 2015, where she discussed economical, environmental and human rights issues with representatives of 70 countries. She currently attends the University of Texas at Austin as a double major in Corporate Communication and Communication Sciences. Her most recent project is working with the Room to Read organization, which raises funds for children’s literacy efforts and girls’ education in Asia and Africa.

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