Why is customer service so important for a company’s brand? Excellent customer service can create loyal customers, and referral partners. Customer service doesn’t begin once the product or service is sold, it starts at the first point of contact with the customer. It is the cumulative experience someone has with your company. So what can you do to improve your customer service? We have some tips for you.
Know Your Product, Know Your Customer
The first step to good customer service is knowing the ins and outs of what you’re selling. This means you, and all of your staff should know how your product or services work, and be able to answer customer’s questions.
The flip side of this is knowing your customers wants and needs. You cannot have a stellar interaction with a customer without having an idea of what they’re looking for. Personalizing the transaction is everything, and customers love it. This may be hard to do with a first time customer, but it’s certainly possible with repeat clients. Get to know them, remember names and previous conversations and take notes if you have to. For a small business, personalization is the key to making your customers come back to you.
Be Friendly And Respectful
It is said that customer service starts with a smile, and certainly a warm greeting is the first thing your customers should see or hear from you. Handling customer service requests over the phone or even email and social media should be friendly and respectful.
If a customer is getting in touch to make a complaint or have a problem fixed, keep in mind that their emotions may be heightened, so make sure to be courteous and respectful, and not allow your own emotions to take over in the situation.
Own Up To Your Mistakes
One of the biggest complaints in customer service is that companies don’t take responsibility for making a mistake. This is the quickest way to getting a bad reputation. It is important to be transparent in business, and that includes customer service. The high quality of your products or service will mean very little if you don’t have a high standard of customer service to go with it.
Respond Quickly And Be Responsive
Speed of response is a huge factor in good customer service. In fact, it is something that can set you apart from your competition. However, this is something a lot of companies lack at. A report released in 2011 found the average email response time for the top 100 internet companies was 17 hours. In 2017, a different study found the average time to be 15 hours, which is not much better. A third study showed that the biggest pet peeve for customers is being put on hold.
While a lot of companies may respond late, there are companies that don’t respond at all. Not responding is a lot worse than a late response for a customer who is trying to get help and resolve an issue. Or, when it’s a first time customer wanting information on your products or services. In not responding, you lose existing customers and won’t get new ones. Remember that a response is always better than no response, even if it is to say that you’re looking into the matter and will be back in touch. Ignore the customer at your own risk.
As a business owner you may think you should already know what your customers need and want. But you might be surprised to find out what you will learn not just about what the customers think of your business, products, and services, but also about them. It’s easy to ask for feedback via online tools like Survey Monkey, which also keep the customer’s information anonymous.
However, it’s not enough to merely collect feedback, if you don’t listen to anything your customers have to say. Take the time to regularly review the feedback you receive and identify any areas for improvement and make the changes where you can. The more feedback you receive and changes you implement, the better the customer’s experience with you.
Say Thank You
Gratitude. It’s the simplest thing in the world, and yet not one that is widespread. Gratitude is memorable, and it will remind your customers why they keep coming back to your company. Saying thank you works across all kinds of businesses, products and services. Make it a habit to say thank you to your customers.
We’ve all heard horror stories about customer service, but one doesn’t hear about great customer service very often. Excellent customer service is about consistently checking in with your customers and ensuring that they are happy with what you’re selling as well as the process of working with you. Yes, it may be time consuming, but going the extra mile will result in a happy customer, who will not only return to do business with you but also recommend you to others.