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Five-Star Customer Service for Your Business

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Picture this: your business is doing fantastic, your products are selling, your team is happy—then a customer service call goes wrong, a bad review scares away potential customers, and your company’s entire future is in jeopardy.

That might sound like an overstatement, but customer service really is that important. Disappointing interactions lose customers and positive interactions create loyal clients. So how do you guarantee your customer service is is in tip-top shape? Read on to find out.

All About Arnold

nullArnold Schroering is a rock star at Northwest. If you’ve read any reviews of our company, you’ve probably seen clients raving about the quality of his customer service. In a role that gets overlooked as frustrating and thankless, Arnold thrives. Why?

Because Arnold loves talking to people.

“I want to be noticed, and I want people to enjoy having a conversation with me,” Arnold says. “So I found this job and it’s like, oh my God, I get to talk to people!”

Arnold’s had the gift of gab since childhood. As an outdoorsy kid and Steve Irwin fan, he used to help answer wildlife questions, like if a snake someone found on their porch was dangerous (and if he could please help remove it). From there, his natural talent for conversation continued to blossom.

“Everybody said like, ‘You’re going to be a car salesman someday.’” Arnold reminisces. “And I do love talking to people. I’ve done other jobs, but they weren’t my passion, I couldn’t shine. And I always knew I wanted to help people, and I can with this job.”

As a Corporate Guide doing customer service here at Northwest, Arnold helps clients having issues setting up their companies or dealing with unforeseen issues with their accounts. He has excellent customer service skills which pay off in great reviews. Here are some of the things Arnold does to earn customer trust, which you can apply to your own business.

Build a Connection

Arnold approaches his customer service calls like a conversation, treating his callers like he would any friend or neighbor that drove up to his home to ask for advice.

“Having a conversation is the best way to build trust with somebody, not just pushing them off the phone as fast as possible. I’m going to try to help them, and if I have to stay on the line for 20, 30 minutes or an hour… I will. Having that level of patience is important.”

He knows that actually contacting customer service can be as stressful for the caller as the situation they are calling about, so he aims to make the entire process as smooth and trouble-free as he can..

“[Customer service calls] are this thing they’ve scheduled in, they need to get it done,” he explains. “They’re worried. They’re anxious. So I’m just relaxed as I tell them, Oh, this is going to be super easy… They expect a rough talk, but I reverse it. And that immediately shifts the conversation.”

Pay Attention

Arnold says its important to pay attention to the specifics of what clients are asking, and tailors his approach to that caller. Sometimes that means knowing what services apply to the callers’ business. Sometimes it’s just a matter of picking up on tone.

“I’ll ask them what they do for a living, what they plan to do with the company. Having these unstructured conversations. But they’ll give you subtle cues, too. If they say things like ‘I just really don’t know if I need it,’ or have a certain tone of voice or if they sound like they’re in a rush, then you know you’re not gonna sell the whole shebang. That’s a case where you just give them the bare bones they need to be able to open a business bank account and let them get on with their day.”

Whether it’s a first-time business owner feeling lost, a caller that just wants the bare minimum, or someone who wants to spend half an hour talking conspiracy theories while setting up their account, Arnold does the best he can to understand what they need and lend them a hand.

“No matter what, I’m here to help them. I don’t want any client to be confused or hang up the phone and be like, why didn’t I ask him that question? So I always follow up where I can during a call. Like, ‘hey, did you know that the BOI Report’s due? It’s a new thing, we need to get it done.’ A lot of the time they didn’t even hear about it before. I’m not upselling people or telling them ‘oh, you have to get this extra service’ or being slimy. I’m just asking, ‘hey, is this what you need?”

Don’t Let the Cracks Show

Sometimes, you’ll have a tough interaction with a customer. Even a customer service pro like Arnold has a bad call once in a while, but he doesn’t let that affect him after the call is done.

“Even if I have a really bad phone call, I know how to just end that with that and start the new conversation as a brand new chapter. It was a learned skill, to shut that off, like opening a new browser on your computer and starting over.”

He knows that customers are sensitive to how a representative acts, and can tell if something’s amiss, even over the phone.

“They can feel it in your voice, if you sound like you’re annoyed, or you’re tapping your foot during the conversation, they can hear that stuff. Don’t do that. Don’t be muted and scrolling Instagram on your phone on a call. Just having self-awareness goes so far, you know?”

Know Your Stuff (Or Know Where to Get Answers)

In reviews, customers often mention how knowledgeable Arnold is, and how good he is at breaking down complicated issues for them. It took him took roughly a year and a half to learn the intricacies of business formation in the states he provides service in.

“A lot of callers feel wrapped up by the complexities of an LLC. They don’t even know what ‘Articles of Organization’ mean. And I just tell them, it’s not that tough, it’s just terminology.”

But what did Arnold do before he became an expert?

Arnold says confidence and familiarity goes a long way when it comes to explaining complicated material. But even he gets stumped sometimes. Sometimes that means scouring documentation. Sometimes that means knowing when to turn to others for help.

“My team members are way smarter than me. I’d always use them for reference, chat with them and be like, ‘hey, do you know the answer to this?’” (thanks, Madison!)

Ultimately, Arnold says that the important thing is being honest with his customers when he’s short on answers.

“If I ever feel like I don’t know something, I tell them, ‘I’m gonna call you right back. Give me 10 minutes here, and I’m gonna call you right back.’”

Be Real With Your Customers

A lot of the bad rap customer service gets comes from things like confusing automated systems or representatives that are so stiff they might as well be robots themselves. Meanwhile, Arnold’s customers know that he’s a regular guy, and respond to that. He throws out the formality and the accompanying “sir”s and “ma’am”s that people associate with customer service, opting instead for a friendly “buddy” when addressing callers and the same light tone he’d have when talking with a friend or neighbor.

“I always tell coworkers who are struggling, talk to them like a real freaking human. Just have an organic conversation as individuals.”

He stresses the importance of empathy without pressure. “Tell them, ‘Hey man, I get it. This is confusing. If you’d rather, you can hire us to do it for you. But I’m not going to up-sell them, I’m just going to say hey, so for your business, you need this, and if you don’t want the optional stuff, you can always get it later if you want. And they love that because I’m not pushing them.’”

Take Ownership

Customers respond to a sense of pride and ownership when dealing with a representative. Arnold always works to represent Northwest well and show his pride in the company. Even if sometimes customers misinterpret the source of that pride as a personal stake.

“I try to project a sense of pride, like its my own business. And I’ve had clients ask if I own the company. Which I say, ‘Well, no, I’d be on an island somewhere.’ And they laugh, but it’s refreshing, that level of care, thinking I own the thing. It’s nice.”

Our customer service doesn’t stop with Arnold. When you hire Northwest to help you form a business, you’ll have our expert Corporate Guides on hand for all your registration and compliance needs.

This entry was posted in Opinion.