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Getting to know customer needs proves key to delivering better service

Client retention is essential for any company, but customer service continues to prove one of the most difficult tasks employees undertake, as success requires them to understand the specific needs and problems of the human beings in front of them - or at the other end of a phone call or email chain.

Client retention is essential for any company, but customer service continues to prove one of the most difficult tasks employees undertake, as success requires them to understand the specific needs and problems of the human beings in front of them – or at the other end of a phone call or email chain.

TechTarget recently pointed out that effective customer communication often turns out to be more problematic than predicted, especially among companies specializing in technological products that can be complex for users. A gap sometimes exists between what the client understands and what the employee knows.

"An awful lot of the time, there is an assumption that an end user or customer has an existing level of knowledge, and this is not a safe assumption," Don Crawley, president and chief technologist at Soundtraining.net, told the news source.

As such, effective customer service rests upon addressing the customer on his or her own terms. In a column for Forbes, customer service expert Micah Solomon suggested that the same principle applies in other fields, such as health care. Doctors, he emphasized, should prioritize the patient's needs, aiming to provide care based on his or her own schedule and not the time constraints of the practice.

Solomon recommended that every employee at a health practice fully understand the right protocols for addressing and resolving patient concerns. Similarly, Tech Target noted that Vic Berger, principal technologist at Affigent, conducts weekly customer relations training sessions with his staff.

When managers see employees executing high-quality customer service and attempting to fully understand the client's perspective, they should be sure to reward the exceptional performance. Employee incentive programs can help ensure that there is a structure in place for providing tangible recognition to those who help further the company's success. Producing satisfied, engaged customers surely qualifies as a valuable contribution.

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