Mastering the Art of Great Customer Service

Andrea Dilger, Customer Service Lead at SK&T, shares her secrets to mastering the art of customer service. Drawing from personal experience, Andrea offers powerful insights and tips on mastering the human touch, overcoming challenges, and building unshakeable customer loyalty in an age where every customer interaction counts. 

SK&T Blog Graphic | Mastering the Art of Great Customer Service

Economic challenges are hitting companies, and many businesses are cutting back expenses where they can. Don’t let poor customer service be the reason your company takes a hit. Providing great customer service is more important now than ever before. And cutting corners on customer service can prove to be a costly error for your company.

But how exactly can a business provide great customer service? The truth is there are a lot of ways. Just because a particular approach is successful for one company doesn’t guarantee it will be effective for another. As SK&T’s Customer Service Lead, I’m fortunate to have learned some tried and true approaches to delivering exceptional customer service that work quite well. And I’m excited to share those with you in this blog.

Don’t Fall for The AI Trap

With the increased use of AI, you might be tempted to incorporate chatbots or tools like ChatGPT for handling customer communications. Beware! While AI can be beneficial, it’s never a good idea to give it full control over your interactions with customers. Human interaction is always the preferred method when it comes to delivering great customer service. Nobody likes talking to a robot only to be put on hold for an unreasonable amount of time, especially if they’re a brand new customer.

When you call SK&T, you will always get a live team member on the other line. That’s because we all take turns answering the phones. This approach underscores our commitment to personal and effective customer support tactics.

3 Essential Customer Service Skills Everyone Needs

Having worked in customer support for over 20 years, I’ve learned that great customer service is an art form. It takes practice and you must have a lot of patience. Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned customer service professional, there’s always room to improve. For starters, here are 3 skills every customer service rep should master:

  1. Active Listening: Taking detailed notes during customer interactions sets the stage for successful follow-ups, ensuring continuity and understanding across team members.
  2. Consistent Communication: It might seem basic, but regularly updating customers on their requests and orders is often overlooked. A simple update by email or phone can significantly enhance customer satisfaction.
  3. Timely Follow-Ups: Setting reminders to follow up as promised is crucial. Even without a resolution, updating customers on the status of their requests demonstrates your commitment to their needs.

At SK&T, we not only look for these skills in our hires but also continuously train and practice them, a strategy validated by our client’s positive feedback.

Customer Relationships are Built on Trust

The power of trust can’t be overstated. When your customers trust you, it becomes a lot easier to provide exceptional customer service. But how exactly do you go about building trustful relationships with customers?

Think about the last time you experienced great customer service. What made your experience so great? Were they attentive to your needs? Did they resolve an issue promptly? Were they honest and upfront with you? Jot down your answers and make an effort to incorporate them into your daily interactions with your customers. It may not seem like much, but over time the trust will slowly begin to build. And once it does, your customers will keep coming back. Exceptional service not only fosters loyalty but also assures customers they’re in capable hands.Graphic showing Service as one of SK&T's 7 Core Values

Why Service Is Central to SK&T

Upon entering SK&T’s office, visitors are greeted by our 7 core values prominently displayed on the conference room wall. Among these, service is always the one core value that stands out to me the most.

At SK&T, customer service isn’t just a department or a team; it’s a mindset embraced company-wide. Whenever someone is on the website, our marketing department is servicing clients’ expectations of the products and solutions we can deliver. If someone walks into the SK&T office, they’re immediately greeted by smiling faces and team members ready to assist. If the sales team is providing a demo, that’s a form of customer service in action too.

Our company strives to provide great service at every touchpoint with our customers. This approach makes SK&T a remarkable place to work and a trusted partner to many of our clients.

Handling Difficult or Unprecedented Situations

Sometimes providing great customer service isn’t always as cut and dry as we’d hope. There will be times when you’ll face unprecedented situations or difficult customers that require more thought and effort than simply relying on past experiences.

One time we had a customer call in to get their thermal label printer repaired. It had stopped working on them mid-shift, and the customer called us in panic. I could hear how much frustration this was causing their team from the tone of their voice, especially since this was the only printer they had. Being a smaller business, this client didn’t have the budget to purchase a backup printer like some of our larger clients will do. So how did we handle it? Our team rallied to support this client. After a quick brainstorming session, a team member recalled that we had the same printer model sitting in the back of our warehouse unused. So, we decided to loan them SK&T’s printer as a temporary solution to help them get by while their broken printer was sent in for repairs. This act of creativity and teamwork is a testament to the importance of collaboration in overcoming customer service challenges.

A Final Note on Gratitude

Celebrating 27 years in business, SK&T owes much of its success to our customers. Their support fuels our operations and sustains our families. Recognizing the vital role they play, we practice gratitude daily, understanding it’s not just good manners but also good business. Appreciating your customers, regardless of size, reflects positively on your brand and is a crucial step in mastering the art of customer service.

How does your organization excel in customer service? I’m eager to learn from your experiences and insights. Sharing knowledge and strategies can help us all better serve our customers, benefiting your business and clients alike.

Andrea Dilger

Author: Andrea Dilger

Customer Service Lead