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The Importance of Professionalism in Customer Service
Excellent 24/7 customer service is not only what makes your business stand out in a competitive market, but it’s also what allows you to build and foster trust in your customers and maintain long-lasting relationships with them. As such, you’ll need to constantly strive to improve your customer service.
In turn, professionalism is one of the core components of exceptional customer service. But what exactly is professionalism and how do you maintain professionalism in customer service. In this post, we’ll look at the importance of professionalism in customer service.
Did you know that 90% of customers globally consider issue resolution as the most crucial customer service concern?
What is Professionalism?
Before looking at why professionalism is important, let’s first recap what professionalism is. In short, professionalism is about achieving high standards in everything you do and every interaction with your customers. In other words, professionalism is less about what you do and more about how you do it. Although this might sound relatively straightforward, professionalism can be a complex quality to develop and maintain.
With that in mind, here are 8 core characteristics of professionalism:
- Emotional intelligence.
Why is Professionalism an Important Skill?
At its core, professionalism is about how you and your team interact with your customers, how you solve their problems, and how you meet their needs. It, therefore, impacts how you communicate with your customers, how you deal with complaints, and how customers perceive your business.
As such, it’s a critical skill you and every member of your team should have.
Why is Professionalism Important in Customer Service?
Considering that professionalism impacts how you serve and interact with your customers, it’s easy to see why it’s important in professional customer service. For one, it can help you attract more customers as they will encounter a professional team the first time they engage with your business.
Also, when you show professionalism during future interactions, you’ll be able to retain more customers. Flowing from the above, high levels of professionalism allow you to create and foster more trust and build stronger relationships with your customers. Ultimately, it’s this trust and these relationships that can help your business stand out in a crowded market.
Examples of Professionalism in Customer Service
There are several examples of professionalism in customer service, which differ based on the specific industry or circumstances.
For example, in retail, professionalism would include always being courteous to customers despite their attitude and having a positive attitude that shows them you’ll be able to solve their problems. Professionalism also means that you and your team take responsibility for your actions, even if you’ve made a mistake.
Conversely, in the hospitality industry, professionalism would be offering exceptional service to customers across the entire establishment and going out of your way to serve customers the best way you can from the moment they arrive at the establishment to when they leave.
Finally, in technical roles, professionalism would mean taking ownership of customers’ problems and making it your responsibility to solve them. In addition, in this case, professionalism would entail being empathetic to customers’ issues and challenges and giving them peace of mind that their difficulties will be solved.
How to Maintain Professionalism in Customer Service
Now that we’ve seen what professionalism is and why it’s important, let’s look at some ways you can maintain professionalism in customer service. This is one of the cornerstones of maintaining quality assurance in call centers.
Prepare Before Dealing With Customers
Ultimately, when customers contact your customer service department, they likely have a problem that needs solving. In order to maintain professionalism, you should always be prepared for these times.
For instance, you should ensure that all your communication channels work as they should so that customers can make easy contact. Also, your team should know as much as they can about your products, what issues might arise, and how to solve them.
Always Maintain a Helpful Attitude
Let’s face it, disgruntled and unhappy customers can be challenging to deal with. When you do, it’s important to remember that you are there to help customers solve their problems and give them the reassurance that their issues will be sorted out. As such, you should avoid conflict with customers and always maintain a helpful and positive attitude. This shows professionalism and prevents interactions from escalating into more distressing situations.
Speak Politely, Patiently, and in Clear Voice
It’s no secret that a customer’s impression of your professionalism relies, to a large extent, on how you speak to and interact with them. This is especially relevant when you consider that most of your interactions with customers from a customer service perspective will be when they approach you to solve their problems.
For this reason, it’s crucial to always speak clearly, politely, and patiently. This has several benefits. For one, it gives customers reassurance and confidence that you’ll be able to solve their problems. Also, it helps you to avoid any misunderstandings and build more trust in your customers.
One of the best ways to maintain professionalism is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. In other words, you need to show empathy with your customers. When you do, you’ll understand their challenges and how they feel about them. And when you understand these aspects, you’ll, ultimately, be better able to serve your customers and meet their needs.
To be a consummate professional, you should always be honest with your customers. As such, if you can’t deliver a product on time, or you’re unable to solve a customer’s problem, they should know about it. For example, if a customer has a problem with a product that you can’t solve without involving the manufacturer, explain this to the customer.
By being honest, you’ll avoid any misunderstandings which lead to a canceled order, or worse, a lost customer. In turn, by being honest, you’ll create and foster more trust in your customers.
To achieve high levels of professionalism in customer service, it’s vital that you be proactive rather than reactive. In other words, it’s always better to reach out to customers and offer assistance before they experience any issues or request your help.
By doing this, you’ll not only solve small problems before they become bigger issues, but you’ll also improve your customer service and increase customer satisfaction.
Offer Timeous Assistance
More often than not, your customers will associate your levels of professionalism with how fast you’re able to solve their problems. As such, when a customer approaches you with a problem or issue, it’s crucial that you respond and attempt these problems as quickly as possible.
If you get this right, you’ll be able to build stronger relationships with your customers, which not only allows you to retain customers but also makes them some of your business’s biggest promoters. In turn, this helps you to attract new ones.
Follow Up Consistently
To maintain your professionalism, you have to remember that customer service doesn’t stop after you’ve made a sale or solved a customer’s problem. You should also follow up consistently to ensure that customers are, and stay, satisfied with your products or service.
In this way, your customers know that they can always count on you to deliver stellar customer service. In addition, by consistently following up, you’ll also learn where your products or service fall short, which gives an opportunity to improve.
Don’t Stop Learning
As you deal with customers, you’ll encounter new problems and challenges constantly. Some you’ll be able to solve, others not. You’ll likely also make mistakes along the way. What’s important is that you learn from these experiences and mistakes.
When you do this, you’ll constantly improve, which is vital in maintaining professionalism across your entire business.
You’ll often hear the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, when dealing with customers this isn’t always true and customers will judge your professionalism, by the way, you and your team dress. As such, you and your team should always wear clothes suitable for work and the image you want to portray.
To maintain professionalism across your business, you should always prioritize your task. As such, you should rank them based on their importance and complete the most important tasks first. Likewise, you should never delay important tasks for later. When you do this, you’ll show professionalism by dealing with customers’ concerns and challenges quickly and efficiently.
Outsource Your Customer Service
If you don’t have the capacity to deal with customer concerns timeously and efficiently, outsourcing your customer service will be the best way to maintain professionalism. When you do, you’ll help your customers solve their problems, no matter how busy your team is. In addition, you’ll improve all your metrics relating to call center analytics.
Professionalism forms part of the foundation of your customer service efforts. And if your customer service is up to scratch, you’ll help your customers solve their problems, serve them better, and be able to generate more revenue. Hopefully, this post showed you what professionalism entails and how you can maintain professionalism in your customer service.
Another component of exceptional customer service is using the right tools. And here, ULTATEL’s cloud contact center solution is invaluable. It provides your business with a streamlined and comprehensive communications solution that allows you to communicate and engage with your customers, regardless of what platform they choose. As such, you’ll improve the customer experience, serve your customers better, and guarantee continued growth.
Greg is the product marketer for ULTATEL. He develops and markets products that help people do their best work, and enables the businesses they work for grow their revenue.