BSBCUE203 – Provide Quality Service in Response to Customer Queries Copy
Element 2: Provide Quality Service in Response to Customer Queries
Performance Criteria Element 2
2.1 Use technology to respond to customer queries
2.2 Greet customer according to enterprise protocol and in a manner that encompasses cultural diversity
2.3 Establish and clarify customer needs
2.4 Satisfy customer needs promptly, efficiently and effectively to maximise customer satisfaction and minimise delays and the need to refer customer elsewhere
2.5 Respond to customer concerns in a positive manner and in line with enterprise policy for complaint resolution
2.6 Treat customer with respect and courtesy, and enhance and develop customer loyalty
2.7 Complete follow-up action according to engagement escalation policy, timeframes, business rules and practices, and in line with customer expectations.
Provide Quality Service in Response to Customer Queries
Use Technology to Respond to Customer Queries
Customer queries are inevitable within any organisation. When queries do come, they must be dealt with correctly and in a timely fashion. Apart from being professional when responding to customers, it is important that you select the correct type of technology to respond to customer queries.
Technology that you could use includes multi-channel technology like computer equipment and telecommunications equipment.
• Computer Equipment
Computer equipment allows for a variety of ways to communicate with customers. The method most used for communication between an organisation and an individual through a computer is email. The advantages of email have already been discussed.
Another popular method is through live chats on the web. Whilst a customer is on the website, a chat box may pop up asking the customer or the person browsing the website if they need any help. If the customer chooses to respond, the customer service personnel then endeavour to help in any way they can. Further to this, some organisations have a call back function on their websites, where a customer can insert their contact telephone number and request a call back.
These functions have all become available due to the technological achievements sweeping through our communities. As a result, customers are able to gain information faster and the better the customer service they receive, the more likely they are to use the organisation’s services as well as become repeat customers.
With the change in our access to technology today, when you walk into some businesses, customer representatives are on the shop floor with tablets in their hands. Tablets are the most recent evolution in technology. They are hand held devices which are light in weight and very versatile. The functions of tablets are very much like computers in what they are capable of doing, the main difference is that they are more portable than a computer. Where customer service representatives are using tablets, it gives the business a very professional looking image.
• Telecommunications Equipment
Telephones and mobile phones are your most common telecommunication devices. With customer service positions, telephones usually have a headset that goes along with it. This allows for an easier, more comfortable work process because as customer service positions usually entail a large amount of time on the telephone, headsets eliminate the discomfort of holding the telephone handset against the ear.
Greet Customer According to Enterprise Protocol and in a Manner that Encompasses Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity refers to the many cultures that are found within a given society. Some communities are more culturally diverse than others. Australian society is a culturally diverse one, as it has people residing in Australia from many different countries around the world. Due to this diversity, it is important to be accepting and understanding of other cultures.
Diversity can be represented in many ways. It may include any of the following:
• National or ethnic origin
• Sexual preference
In order for society to remain harmonious and for all people to be treated equally, each person has to do their part in accepting and respecting diversity. Organisations and companies also have a responsibility to treat all their customers with due respect. Where this respect and equality is not carried forward to the customers, it can lead to the company developing a negative image and even being liable to lawsuits from discrimination charges. This is why individuals who work and interact with customers need to be aware of and be able to recognise culturally diverse customers, and thus know how to interact with them.
Greeting customers is the first point of contact between a customer and the company or organisation. As the employee is a representative of the organisation, protocols or procedures will be in place that need to be adhered to as employees interact with customers. Greeting customers will occur during face-to-face interactions and over the telephone. Factors which need to be kept in mind include:
• Being polite
• Being patient
• Using professional language, avoid using slang or badly constructed English sentences
• Smiling when talking to customers, smile when you are on the phone too, because the person on the receiving end of the phone call can hear your smile!
• Active listening
• Pronouncing words clearly and explain things simply as some customers may not speak English as a first language
• Do not talk too loudly else this may be interpreted as shouting and could be viewed as being rude in some cultures
• Avoid any physical contact with the customers as certain cultures do not value being touched by strangers
• During face-to-face interaction, ensure that there is a good amount of space between you and your customer. There are some cultures which are quite sensitive to the amount of space that must be between individuals. You do not want to invade a person’s ‘personal space’ and make them feel uncomfortable.
Establish and Clarify Customer Needs
The next step after greeting a customer is the step where the customer will highlight what their inquiry is about. At this point you need to be paying full attention to what the customer is saying. This is best done through the process of active listening and questioning techniques which will be highlighted below.
• Active Listening
Active listening is a method used during communication where the listener attentively listens to what is being said; full focus must be on the talker/s. Once the talker has finished speaking, the listener then repeats what they have understood the message to be. This entails paraphrasing the original message to the satisfaction of the talker. In repeating what they have heard, it gives the talker an opportunity to see that you have understood what they have said and to correct any misunderstandings.
• Asking Questions
Asking questions works hand-in-hand with active listening. There are a variety of types of questions that you can ask in order to solicit information. There are open questions and closed questions.
○ Closed Questions
You would ask a closed question when you want a yes/no or one word reply. They should be easy to answer questions and could include:
• “How many would you like?”
• “Have you used this product before?”
○ Open Questions
You would ask an open question when you want more detailed information so you can find the best product or service for them. They encourage the customer to think about their answer and could include:
• “For what purpose do you need the product?”
• “Are you happy with your current supplier?”
• “What’s the best time for us to organise delivery?”
Satisfy Customer Needs Promptly, Efficiently, and Effectively to Maximise Customer Satisfaction and Minimise Delays and the Need to Refer Customer Elsewhere
Satisfying customer needs promptly and efficiently is the epicentre of all customer service. It is logical to conclude that a satisfied customer will lead to repeat business and they can also act as a free marketing tool for companies through word of mouth, such as talking about the level of good service they received from XYZ Company to their family and friends.
In providing an efficient and effective level of customer service, factors you need to consider include:
• Listen attentively to what the customer requests are (active listening)
• Repeat back to the customer what you understand their request to be (paraphrasing)
• Know what policies and procedures you need to follow in order to carry out the customer’s request
• Remember to obtain the correct permission or signatures from supervisors or managers where necessary
• Ensure you have the product or service available before promising the customer that you have it
• Have all the correct facts and information about the products or services in question handy
• Make sure you are aware of any time constraints or delays, for example, if a piece of equipment is being ordered, ensure that you have enough stock available so that the customer does not meet any unexpected delays in receiving the product
• Where there are delays, clearly inform the customer of these delays.
Respond to Customer Concerns in a Positive Manner and In Line with Enterprise Policy for Complaint Resolution
When dealing with customer concerns, it all comes back to active listening. Making assumptions about a customer’s concerns is counter-productive, so it is best to avoid doing so. Listen to your customers.
Concerns a customer has can be varied and may include:
• Product or service concerns
• Payment concerns
• Postage concerns
• Eligibility for a service concerns
• Understanding what their obligations or responsibilities are in terms of signing up to a service
• Policies for returning goods
• Employee complaints.
Concerns can be very simple or they can be complex. Whatever they are, an employee has a duty of care towards the customer to dispel any concerns. When dealing with concerns, make sure that you:
• Are genuinely interested in fixing any concerns
• Use optimistic language
• Take steps which show that you are being proactive in resolving the concern
• Continually update the customer on the progress of the resolution process or inquiry process
• Show a level of understanding and compassion
• Respond and finalise complaints or concerns in a timely manner, do not let the situation drag out.
Treat Customer with Respect and Courtesy, and Enhance and Develop Customer Loyalty
Another key aspect of excellent customer service is treating customers with respect and courtesy. Remember, customers are what allow a company to make money, survive, and grow. Without a solid customer base, a company will slowly dissolve and become unsuccessful.
When a customer calls a company or enters an organisation as a first time or repeat customer, customer service is something that can influence what they think of a company. Naturally, if customers are met with unhappy faces or voices, and employees are not very helpful, it is obvious that customers will not be very happy with this response. The answer is simple, do the reverse of what was just described – be happy, be helpful, be respectful, and be welcoming. For first time customers, this will entice them to want to speak to or interact with you more. For repeat customers, the respect and courtesy they receive could be one of the key factors for repeat business and loyal customers.
Of course, customer service itself is not solely responsible for developing customer loyalty. Other aspects such as the goods and services being purchased from the company and the image of the company are all factors that a customer will consider in becoming loyal to a company. However, in today’s highly competitive market, companies do need to go all out to retain their customer base because it does not take much for a customer to be lured to buy another company.
Complete Follow-up Action According to Engagement Escalation Policy, Timeframes, Business Rules and Practices, and In Line with Customer Expectations
An escalation policy refers to the guidelines which need to be followed in instances where a customer concern or complaint needs further consultation. Simply put, when you cannot easily resolve a concern or complaint and you need to consult someone who is higher up in the organisation hierarchy, you follow the escalation policy.
When escalation policies are needed, the customer should always be informed the time-frame, or how long it should take their concern or complaint to be resolved. This is because of the slightly longer process needed to find a solution due to the consultation process. You must also consider the maximum time-frame permitted for escalated concerns or complaints to be resolved. Whilst the procedures of the escalation policy are being followed, it is also important to bear in mind all other business rules and practices that you need to follow.
• The use of technology in contacting and interacting with customers has increased significantly.
• Interacting with people from different backgrounds is very likely, so endeavour to treat all customers with respect.
• Always gain as much information you can from customers using a variety of techniques. Do not assume that you know what the customer wants.
• Interact with customers positively and give each individual the best customer service possible.
• Adhere to escalation policies as well as business rules when customer concerns or enquiries need to be followed up by higher management.