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Must-have customer service skills that every business needs

Customer service is more than serving people – it is about improving their experiences with high-quality assistance that emphasizes good communication

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Must-have customer service skills that every business needs

Key statistics

  • 66% of customers switch companies due to bad customer service – Accenture.
  • 82% felt their customer service provider could have done something to prevent them from switching – Accenture.
  • A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service-related vs. price or product related – Bain & Co.
  • 58% will never use the company again after a negative experience – NewVoice
  • It is 6–7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer
  • 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them – 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey

Customer service is more than serving people – it is about improving their experiences with high-quality assistance that emphasizes good communication, technological prowess, empathy, and writing skills. Great customer service skills aren’t just for people who work in the customer service department. Instead, customer service is a mindset that’s baked into a company’s DNA and culture. Businesses need great customer service teams to keep their customers; after all, almost 90% of customers started doing business with a competitor after a customer service experience. So what skills should you look for, or look to develop, in your customer service teams?

Patience

Patience is absolutely key. Customer service agents need to appear totally unflappable, showing patience when things aren’t going right on their end. An agent who has patience in customer service is more likely to have a calm customer than one who is demonstrating their frustration. The customer’s always right, right? The ability to swallow one’s pride and accept blame or negative feedback is crucial.

Must-have customer service skills that every business needs

 

Clear communication

Customer service experts absolutely must have the ability to communicate clearly and well. They are often the staff that customers speak to the most, and they are likely to leave a lasting impression. More than a quarter of satisfied customers recommend a business to their friends. To be satisfied at the end of a call, customers need to understand what is happening at each step of the way.

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While communicating clearly, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Speedy response

Ensure that all tickets are either resolved or escalated within a certain period of time. The time you first reply is all-important, so clearly define expectations with your staff members, and with your customers.

[READ MORE: Essential soft skills that will help you succeed in your business]

  • Be Concise and to the point

Remember that the reader of your email or text messages is reading many, many emails, so do them a favour and make your message concise and to-the-point. People, especially today, just don’t have the patience to read a lot of unnecessary verbiages. You’re not trying to impress with your great writing skills; you’re actually trying to help your customers.

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  • Personalize your messages

All emails should have their own personality: Don’t be robotic with your messages – They need to know that their messages came from an actual person, so use your own voice and approach. You’ll be reflecting your company’s philosophy and persona in your own way, but when closing the message use a signature based on the resolution and tone of the interaction.

Product knowledge

It seems obvious that customer service agents need to have product knowledge, and many companies give agents scripts to share with customers about problems. But scripts only go so far; customer service agents need to be able to improvise based on their own knowledge of the product.

[READ ALSO: How to choose the right co-founder for your startup]

Positive language

If you want to make your customer feel comfortable and relaxed during their conversation with you, you must adopt a positive and friendly tone of voice. By being natural, enthusiastic, helpful, and attentive you’re providing good customer service. When you answer the phone with your greeting, smile as you offer your greeting: it’s true that a smile can be ‘heard’ through a telephone. By smiling as you connect with your customer you’ll begin a positive interaction and allow for a friendly and productive exchange. Research has shown that positive language is vastly more effective in creating a positive mindset.

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Use their name

The moment you hear a customer’s name, use it. It’s important that you use their name while having a conversation, so try to include it naturally throughout your conversation: don’t be too obvious and abuse the use of their name. Also, and this is important, ask for the correct pronunciation of their name: customers appreciate this; plus it’s just good manners. You may also want to ask for the right spelling, if appropriate. It’s always much nicer speaking to someone who calls you by your name: again – great customer service!

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Leave your customer happy

When you finish a conversation on a positive note it will leave a lasting and positive impression and a happy customer. To achieve a nice ending to a telephone call, before you hang up to ensure that your caller completely understands the information you provided. Ask your customer ‘Is there anything further I can do for you’? Answer all their questions to the best of your ability to ensure your customer’s total comprehension and satisfaction. Do they require any information in the future? If they need to call back, provide appropriate times when they should call, and who they should ask to speak to.

 

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Must-have customer service skills that every business needs

Give your customers a way to provide feedback

No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. To make sure you learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly experience your customers have, create an easily accessible way for customers to give feedback.

Whether it’s a phone survey at the end of a service call, an email survey sent directly from your CRM tool, or a form on the “Contact Us” page of your website, creating a means for customers to give feedback makes it easier for you to learn what needs improvement.

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The FG in partnership with the private sector will continue to support MSMEs – Osinbajo

Osinbajo has stated that the FG in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses.

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Solar, FG to slash import duties on tractors, buses, others in 2020 Finance Bill, Nigeria will not issue Eurobonds, says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, FG guarantees mortgage loan to low income buyers at low interest rate, FG inaugurates gold refinery project in a landmark event

Nigeria’s Vice-president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during an MSME stakeholders’ meeting, disclosed that the Federal Government in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses across the country.

According to a press statement issued by Laolu Akande, the VP made this statement on Monday at the first meeting of MSMEs stakeholders for the year 2021.

Prof. Osinbajo said the Government would continue to support innovation and interventions to deepen the involvement of new and existing MSMEs in the nation, this he said would help to improve the economy and create more employment opportunities for Nigerians.

He stressed further that the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan Survival Funds has sent positive economic signals. In a bid to complement the gains in this space, the Government needs to scale up interventions in the MSMEs sector.

In this vein, Osinbajo urged stakeholders in the public and private sectors at the virtual meeting to be innovative in the interventions planned for small businesses across the country, so as to consolidate on the gains recorded in the MSMEs space in the past few years.

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What they are saying

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the MSME stakeholders’ meeting, said:

“We must continue to be innovative in the interventions that we plan for MSMEs because small businesses are the engines of growth of any economy, in the areas of wealth creation and employment opportunities, MSMEs are very important.”

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said:

“We really have to think out of the box in our engagements going forward. We need to change the way we do many things, we need to look for ways of multiplying our efforts because the challenges in this space are greater than what we have been able to achieve so far. Of course, we have done a lot, but looking at the numbers in need, you will find out that there is a lot more to be done.”

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What you should know

  • The Federal Government’s MSMEs Survival Fund grant scheme, which includes Payroll Support, Artisans and Transport support tracks, is a component under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP.
  • The Survival Fund scheme was designed to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic especially on the most vulnerable small businesses, is a conditional grant to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector.
  • The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country. However, 283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme. This leaves millions of Nigerians out of the consideration of the scheme.

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MSME

283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs have benefited from FG Payroll Support Scheme

The FG has revealed that over 200,000 persons have so far benefited from its Payroll Support Program.

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Nigerian MSMEs suffer negative impact of COVID-19

The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that 283,032 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have so far benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme of the Federal Government.

This disclosure was made in a tweet shared via FG Survival Fund’s official Twitter account.

What you should know

  • The Payroll Support Program by FG under the Survival Fund initiative was created to provide an adequate buffer against the impact of the COVID-19 on the stream of income of MSMEs.
  • This, however, is an offshoot of the Survival Fund initiative, established to support and protect small businesses from potential vulnerabilities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In line with the mandate of the programme, the government will support MSMEs with staff salaries for 3 months.
  • It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic and other regulatory actions of the Federal Government affected the core segments of SMEs, as well as the revenue and income vehicles of Small businesses in Nigeria.
  • According to a survey by NBS, it became public knowledge that the total number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country was about 41.5 million, as of December 2017, with significant employment contribution running to millions.
  • In the light of this, it is plausible to say that the Payroll support programme is not inclusive enough, as the recent move by FG to support MSMEs leaves millions of MSMEs and their employees out of the radar.

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MSME

FG warns applicants of N75 billion MSME Fund against fraudulent websites

FG warned unsuspecting members of the public to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details.

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MSME, world bank, FG seeking FDI to develop Special Economic Zones - Trade Minister, FG clamps down on filling stations, others for faulty measuring and weighing equipment, AfCFTA: Nigeria securing approval to ratify agreement- Trade Minister, FG meets group to access AfCFTA's $650 billion market, UNIDO’s $60m investment programme to boost Nigeria’s industrialisation - FG, FG to strengthen economic ties with Turkey, FG moves to facilitate tax incentives for SMEs, Made-in-Nigeria vehicles gulp N364 billion from FG

The Federal Government has warned unsuspecting members of the public, who wish to apply for the MSME Survival Fund, to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details, before giving applicants N50,000.

According to Punch, the disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued in Calabar by the Project Delivery Office (the Coordinating office of the scheme) under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and titled ‘Portal requesting for beneficiaries account details to get N50, 000 not known to us.’

READ: CBN reacts to videos, pictures of new N2,000 and N5,000 in circulation

The PDO is coordinated by the SA to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, Tola Johnson.

What the Trade, Industry and Investment Ministry is saying

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The Ministry, in its statement said, “Our attention has been drawn to the activities of fraudsters parading themselves as operators of the Federal Government’s Survival Fund Scheme.

“The syndicate operating a fraudulent portal with the link https://survivalfund-gov-ng.freefunds.xyz/#1609249530133(https://bit.ly/FG-survival-fund) are asking unsuspecting members of the public to check their eligibility for the scheme by providing their account details on the portal in order to be paid N50, 000 grant under the Survival Fund Scheme.

READ: How to access FG’s new grant for Bus, Uber, Bolt drivers, cart pushers

“It is pertinent to note that the Project Delivery Office (the coordinating office of the scheme) does not operate any such portal and beneficiaries do not require to go to the website to verify their eligibility for the federal government’s Survival Fund as indicated on the fraudulent portal.

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“The website requesting beneficiaries account details is, therefore, a scam. The PDO does not operate any such portal and wishes to advise all Nigerians and beneficiaries of the different tracks of the survival fund to be wary and desist from having dealings with the operators of the site.

READ: CBN raises alarm over fake tweet posts on N50 billion COVID-19 fund

The Ministry pointed out that the authentic survival fund portal remained www.survivalfund.gov.ng and the PDO would always inform members of the public on updates about the scheme whenever it was necessary.

What you should know

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The MSME Survival Fund, which is part of the N2.3tn stimulus package of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, was introduced by the Federal Government as part of efforts to help businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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READ: SEC to refund victims of ponzi scheme, Dantata Success and Profitable Company

The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.

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READ: Germany’s 18th Century old bank begins a Bitcoin, Stellar, Ethereum Fund

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