When working in customer service, your clients may be able to reach you through a variety of communication channels, such as in person, by telephone, by letter and by email. Regardless of the situation, there are certain protocols and guidelines that need to be followed to ensure appropriate responses and customer satisfaction. Your company might have its own specific protocols to follow, but the guidelines below are included in most customer service communication guidelines.
When dealing with a customer face-to-face, your attitude and behavior must match the values of your organization. You must remain professional and courteous at all times, even if a customer is making a complaint about something that is outside of your responsibility. When in doubt, ask your manager or supervisor to handle the request, or get the client’s name and contact information so that you can be in touch when you know how to fulfill their request.
Telephone and Voicemail
Via telephone, it is important to answer promptly, speak clearly and use a friendly tone. The greeting is the first thing a caller hears and it is often determined by your organization. If you have the liberty to answer the phone as you wish, keep the greeting professional by saying your name, the name of the organization and asking the person how you can help. Before ending any conversation, make sure you have answered all of your client’s questions and ask if there is anything else you can do. If you are absent from your desk or cannot take an incoming phone call, the customer will be directed to your voicemail. Your greeting should be kept current and updated. Check your voicemail frequently and return messages as soon as possible.
Letters and Memos
Your customer often sees communication in the form of written letters and memorandums as having more authority than verbal communication. Written correspondence should be clear, informative, timely and precise. The customer should know what is expected of him once he has read the communication. Make sure the tone is always courteous and professional, and always check for spelling accuracy and grammar consistency before printing and sending the communication.
Email and Online Forms
At times, you may also communicate with your customer via email or on-line forms. Similar to letters and memos, communication via e-mail should be conducted in a professional and courteous manner, with special attention given to vocabulary, spelling and grammar. Email allows for a little bit more flexibility and can sometimes sound more informal. Clear and simple messaging is key to providing stellar customer service via emails. Also, just like you would do with voicemail messages, email messages should never be ignored; always respond to all of your customers' queries.
Marie-Pier Rochon has been writing since 2005. She has served as a writer at PlaceForPoeple and a newsletter writer for the Creative Sydney festival. Previously, Rochon also worked as a communications adviser for various Canadian federal agencies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in organizational communications from the University of Ottawa.