Customer service professionals play a vital role in customer relationship management, because they are often the first point of contact between a business and its clientele. First impressions are critical at this stage for fostering positive consumer sentiment and brand loyalty. In particular, ethics influence the manner in which representatives behave and are an important aspect of customer service.
Whether customers walk into a store to speak to a representative or phone into a call center regarding their accounts, they need to be treated with courtesy. This means that customers are greeted immediately upon first contact and politely asked to wait until a representative can assist them. Common courtesy goes a long way in making customers feel appreciated and valued, helping to win over disgruntled guests or those making routine inquiries.
All customers need to be treated with dignity and respect, whether or not they are simply asking a question or voicing a concern. Showing respect means that representatives are paying full attention to customers and are not preoccupied with other tasks. Respect also takes the form of listening versus speaking and allowing customers to express themselves fully before interjecting. If a customer wants to file a complaint or has another type of grievance, respect is critical for calming negative emotions.
Often, customer service representatives can turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one simply by following through on commitments. This means if an account discrepancy needs to be researched within an agreed-upon time period, customer service representatives respond within the allotted turnaround time. If customers are promised an email or return phone call, representatives need to follow through and contact the clients. Commitment inspires faith and trust in customers, which can influence their opinions and purchasing habits.
One of the quickest ways to alienate a customer is to promise something that can’t be delivered or by lying to them, which can have many negative repercussions. One bad customer experience is enough to cause a business to get a bad reputation. If a business is at fault for an error in an account statement or has made other errors, the situation is easier for clients to accept if customer service representatives are honest and fix the discrepancies quickly. Honesty can also build trust with a company’s client base, helping to retain more clients over the long run.