How important is customer service for your business? Well, how important is it to you? Why do you return to your favourite familiar spots?
Consider the following:
But, on the flipside:
So, yes, customer service is important. But have you committed the time, training and resources to create an exceptional customer experience? In too many cases, the answer is no.
It represents your company’s brand image, core mission and values. It’s critical for your business’s survival and it could be a game-changer for your bottom line because it leads to priceless word-of-mouth advertising.
If you are just starting your business or are looking to ramp up your customer service, here are some strategies to keep your customers coming back.
Your quality of service can quickly take the customer experience from good to great. Whether you’re a small business where every employee interacts with customers in some way or a larger entity with a dedicated customer service team, consider every interaction as an opportunity to create a “wow” moment.
Here are a few ways to leave a lasting impression:
If you genuinely care about your customer’s experience, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
How can your company become better at customer service? It’s a question you should never stop asking because it can ALWAYS get better. Customer service is a great place to apply the kaizen mindset of continuous improvement. Don’t assume you can hire experienced Customer Service Representatives and leave it at that. Examine your protocols, look for areas to improve and train, train, train.
You should identify the touchpoints where interactions with customers occur, and practise how to handle various scenarios that apply to your specific business needs. This type of growth mindset also leads to greater employee satisfaction.
Some key questions to ask may include:
A mindset of continuous improvement benefits your customers and helps you become a better business every day.
As the employees on the front lines, your customer service reps (CSRs) are the best situated to show off your company’s values and work ethic. Give them the training and autonomy to do it.
Here are the keys:
Customers appreciate personalized service, but they value efficiency. Look for automation opportunities that speed up their interactions.
Tools like help desks and ticketing systems free up valuable time for CSRs to actually service clients and solidify relationships. Or you could create an online community where your customers can use each other’s knowledge to solve problems.
The key is finding the right balance between technology and the human touch. This will change depending on your customer personas, but you’ll know when your bot/person ratio is in a good place.
Feedback is essential for ensuring service quality, but it’s hard to get. Behind every vocal customer are dozens of silent ones.
Social media is an excellent way to get feedback — even though it often comes in the form of unsolicited criticism. But keep in mind there are ways to spin the negative into a positive. The most important thing to do when it comes to social media criticism is to address it: never ignore it. A best practice is to acknowledge quickly, apologize, and provide a contact to discuss further. By doing this you are showing that you care about the customer’s opinion, which, in the end, is what every customer desires.
When it comes to other forms of feedback, make it easy for your customers to give it. As the adage goes, meet your customers where they are. Be on the social networks they’re on. Send them emails at times they’re more likely to have the time to read them. Make surveys easy and quick. And always thank them for their feedback. Remember: unappreciation is the #1 reason customers switch to a new brand.
Bottom line: treat your customers right and they’ll return the favour in spades.