20 Customer Service Tips

Updated November 28, 2022

Customer service professionals are often the first point of contact for consumers. It's important to deliver great customer service to improve your brand's reputation, foster consumer loyalty and create a positive experience.

In this article, we will provide 20 tips that you can use to improve the quality of customer service you provide.

20 customer service tips to improve your performance

Here are 20 tips you can try to give great customer service:

  1. Practice active listening.

  2. Show empathy.

  3. Remain impartial.

  4. Always follow up.

  5. Be personable.

  6. Communicate clearly and often.

  7. Avoid negative language.

  8. Apply the CARP method.

  9. Take note of frequent complaints.

  10. Be patient.

  11. Close the conversation properly.

  12. Initiate the first reply as quickly as possible.

  13. Track your own metrics.

  14. Connect customers with additional resources.

  15. Talk to your coworkers.

  16. Stay informed of company news.

  17. Invite feedback.

  18. Commit to continuous learning.

  19. Make sure the customer feels in control.

  20. Provide a consistent experience.

1. Practice active listening

Active listening means taking the time to understand the customer's problem before you begin offering solutions. You can do this by restating the question or problem to make sure you understood it. Along with restating the problem, make sure to ask questions about it so that you can gather more details.

2. Show empathy

Empathy is the act of understanding someone else's perspective by imagining yourself in their situation. With customers, think about how the problem is affecting their experience with your brand. Demonstrate this empathy with statements that show you understand what they are experiencing.

Related: Why Is Empathy Important in the Workplace?

3. Remain impartial

When customers get upset, it's important to remain calm and solution-oriented. Try to diffuse the tension with empathy and active listening. If they are still upset, try to refocus the conversation toward solutions to their complaints. Keeping impartial can help solve the issue more quickly.

4. Always follow up

After the problem is resolved, send a quick follow-up email to thank them for their patience and invite them to reach out if they have any further questions. You can automate this but make sure it feels personal and authentic. Following up shows you're interested in the customer, which can improve satisfaction long term.

5. Be personable

You don't need to spend a lot of time exchanging pleasantries, but be polite and friendly. When customers seek a representative rather than using automated support options, it is usually because they need to interact with a person. Make sure you use a conversational tone with customers to make them feel more comfortable. Even if you read from a script, practice it a few times so that it sounds more natural.

6. Communicate clearly and often

In customer service, great communication means demonstrating that you understand the problem, clearly explaining what steps you are taking to resolve it and making sure the customer understands and is fully satisfied with the solution you are offering.

If you need to put them on hold, give them an estimated wait time and a brief description of what you will be doing while they're on hold. If you're inputting information into the computer, narrate what you're doing. Keep them informed of each step in the process as it's happening so they can better understand the process.

7. Avoid negative language

When communicating with customers, always try to give your responses in positive terms, even when delivering negative news. This is not just about keeping the tone optimistic—positive language also works by delivering the solution with negative information. Try to offer an actionable response that can help customers.

For example, instead of saying, “We are out of stock,” say, “That item will be in stock in three weeks.” The first response doesn't tell the customer anything about what their next steps might be. The second response provides a specific timeframe for when they can expect the product. You can then follow this up by asking whether they'd like to place an advance order or receive a reminder when the item becomes available.

8. Apply the CARP method

CARP stands for a four-step process:

  • Control the situation.

  • Acknowledge the dilemma.

  • Refocus the conversation.

  • Problem-solve so the customer leaves happy.

This is a useful way to approach every customer service interaction. Start by getting a clear understanding of what the problem is. Then, empathize with the customer by showing that you acknowledge the inconvenience or trouble it is causing them. The third step involves directing the conversation toward a solution or a set of potential solutions. Finally, work with the customer to implement a solution that will make them feel like their concerns have been fully addressed.

Related: Learn About Being a Call Center Representative

9. Take note of frequent complaints

If multiple customers are contacting you with similar complaints, you may want to notify your supervisor. That way, your company can try to solve the issue and reduce complaints. In the meantime, use your experience with past complaints to improve your service for future customers with similar complaints.

10. Be patient

While you want to resolve the issue efficiently, the customer should never feel rushed or get the sense that you are impatient. Do your best to keep the conversation focused without interrupting the customer. Being patient can also help you address the entire issue and find all possible solutions to satisfy the customer.

11. Close the conversation properly

Once the issue is resolved, ask them if they have any other questions or concerns about this particular issue. If they don't, ask them if there is anything else they need help with. If there's nothing else, thank them for contacting your brand and invite them to call back if they ever have any other questions. Making sure they have no other questions can indicate that they're satisfied with the experience.

12. Initiate the first reply as quickly as possible

As soon as you see the customer request or ticket appear, you should send a quick reply verifying that you received the request, you are working on it and you will get back to them as soon as you have an answer or update. Acknowledging the customer as quickly as possible can show you care about their time.

13. Track your own metrics

If you have the tools or data available to you, tracking your own customer service metrics can be a great way to see how you are performing and what you can do to improve your quality of service. Useful metrics to track include average resolution time, customer satisfaction and first contact resolution rate. You can create a spreadsheet or see if you can access your company's information.

Related: Building Skills To Be a Great Call Center Employee

14. Connect customers with additional resources

In your emails, you should always include links to additional resources customers can refer to. This might be the company's help page, a customer discussion forum or company social media profiles. Many questions a customer has may already be addressed in these sources. Customers might be able to solve the issue on their own, leaving you with extra time for more complicated issues that require human assistance.

15. Talk to your coworkers

Ask your coworkers for their tips on improving service and how to handle any issues that are unique to your company. They will have unique tips on how to be the best representative for your particular customers. Remember to be equally open to offering advice and tips of your own.

16. Stay informed of company news

Make an effort to inform yourself about new products, changes to the website, any recent media coverage of your company and anything else that customers might have questions about. Researching your company can help you quickly answer any questions a customer could have.

17. Invite feedback

Before ending the conversation, invite customers to leave feedback on your performance. Tell them that you are always looking to improve your level of service and that their honest feedback will help. Customers usually appreciate it when you actively seek their honest opinions.

18. Commit to continuous learning

To maintain a great level of customer service, you should regularly make time for learning the latest trends in customer service and planning adjustments you can make to improve your performance.

Schedule time at least once a year to review your performance and research the latest tips and strategies that you can use. If your managers perform annual evaluations, make sure to listen carefully and take notes. Other perspectives on your work can help you get a full idea of where you excel and where you can improve.

19. Make sure the customer feels in control

When offering a solution, make sure that you present a range of options for them to choose from. If it's not realistic to provide a range of solutions, make sure to offer the solution in the form of a question. For example, “Would you like me to go ahead and pull that information up for you?” Giving them opportunities to give consent or permission helps customers feel in control of the situation, which can minimize their frustration or impatience.

Related: Learn About Being a Customer Service Representative

20. Provide a consistent experience

Strive to provide the same level of patient, personable and empathetic customer service to every single client you come in contact with, no matter how difficult the problem is. At the same time, make sure your interactions with customers are consistent with the company's overall brand voice.

For example, if your company is cultivating a professional, high-end brand image, your interactions with customers should be more formal and businesslike. If your company has a more casual, trendy brand image, you might be a little more creative and informal in your customer interactions.

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