Customer Service: 15 Professional Qualities
Once you join the work force in the hospitality industry, you are inducted into their customer friendly culture. Every hotel has a standard customer friendly approach and from day one you are trained, mentored and supervised to get you to understand their basics like all other employees.
Once you become acquainted with the daily routines of customer service, you are then asked to serve on the frontline to test your customer service ability. It is better to always keep in mind the important aspects of good customer service.
Through my 10 plus years in the hotel industry, I have learned a lot from the trainings, the mentoring and counseling sessions and my own experiences.
Here I would like to share some insights into professional qualities in good customer service.
The most basic and important aspect of customer service is being friendly. This shows courtesy and politeness. Being friendly is knowing your customer by name and always serving them with a smile. This makes them feel welcome and important. However, one must draw boundaries when being friendly. Do not become too friendly with the customer and spoil that relationship you have with your customer.
The customer needs to know that the service provider appreciates their needs and wants. This basically is about being able to anticipate the customer’s needs and wants. Feel what the customer is feeling just by looking at the customer or conversing with the customer.
The customer wants to feel they are receiving adequate attention and reasonable answers. He wants to feel important. Put it simply. It means to extend the same standard of service to all your customers regardless. This makes them feel all important.
The customer wants to feel that his input has been considered in the outcome. This is quite a hard task trying to deal with customers who cannot settle for anything less than what he had asked for.
This is a very important aspect of customer service. One as a customer service professional must equip himself with a lot of information on the services and products you sell. Customers want to know about products and services but in an important and time- sensitive manner. Good information is often good service.
There is nothing like a pleasant face and a smile to greet a customer especially if he has a complaint. A smile and a polite conversation can immediately disarm a disgruntled customer. Facial expressions set the tone before you even begin speaking, thus, always smile at your customers. A relaxed and pleasant facial expression is ideal most of the time.
7. Eye contact
This is also very important. Always maintain eye contact with your customer. This shows that you are genuine and polite. Looking away or not maintaining eye contact while interacting with the customer can send out negative messages to the customer. It can mean that you are not genuine, or you are lying or you are not interested to know what they need.
8. Personal Appearance
Personal grooming has a big impact on your customers. When interacting with customers, dress neatly and in a professional manner so as to command respect and to let your customers know you take your position seriously. It sends them a message that you are proud of your job and you are willing to assist them. Also, your personal appearance gives away so much about the organization that you work for.
Dirty hands, messy hair and poor dress can mean the loss of an otherwise happy customer.
9. Shaking hands
When shaking hands with a customer, a firm and professional handshake is expected. The handshake should be straight and short. And not your hand over the customer’s hand or vice versa.
10. Be attentive
Always listen to the customer attentively. Slightly lean towards your customer and nod your head slightly to indicate you are listening. If you do not understand the customer, you are unlikely to be able to handle them. A good customer service provider is a good listener.
11. Tone of voice
Always convey friendliness and amicability. Control the tone of your voice no matter how angry or frustrated the customer is. Do not raise your voice in frustration or anger no matter how difficult or tiresome a customer may behave. This will show the customer that you are genuine in trying to solve his problem.
12. Hand gestures
Gestures are an important part of customer service. Use hand movements to emphasize what you say (even on the phone) and to emphasize your feelings. Your gestures give sends out messages to your customer about your body language. So what you are saying must be followed and emphasized by gestures.
When attending to a customer, your posture must be appropriate. Stand up straight, your head level with your shoulders and look straight at the customer whilst talking. Smile, maintain eye contact and talk to your customer in a nice tone of voice. Slumping into a chair or leaning against a wall while interacting with a customer are sure signs you are not interested in the customer. You posture should express attention, friendliness and openness.
13. Personal space
This is the distance that feels comfortable between you and another person. If another person approaches you and invades your personal space, you automatically move back without thought. You are uncomfortable. Always leave adequate space between you and the customer. It is important to making customers feel secured and unthreatened.
Notice how your customer behaves and what he reacts positively to while you are providing service. By knowing how your customer behaves and responds to you when you are providing service, you are able to anticipate the needs and wants of the customer. Observe and know your customers by hard. It gives you the upper hand when dealing with them.