Customer service is the probably the one of the most overlooked parts of any business. Connecting your company to the customers who patronize you is an essential step in ensuring that they keep availing your products and services.
Furthermore, while retaining customers who are already satisfied is important, you’ve got to think about the other end of the scale. How about those customers who weren’t as pleased with your goods? You have to figure out the best way to convert these dissatisfied customers into your most loyal ambassadors.
You may be able to sell something so someone once, but it’s your follow-through that will keep them coming back. You’ve got to be ready to field any questions or concerns that your customers may have, and the capability to support the requests that they may impose.
Of course, you may not have the infrastructure, personnel-wise, to handle a robust system of customer support. You’ll have to hire new employees or work out an arrangement with an outsourcing company specifically trained to handle matters like this. Whichever route you choose, you’ll have to remember and impart numerous philosophies and practices that will allow you to provide great customer service. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Customer Service Tips
- Pay Attention
Simply lending an ear to your complaining customer will work wonders. They will have a chance to voice your concern, and you will be able to add a possible point of inquiry to your quality assurance processes.No matter how inane the complaint might be, it might hold some truth. Have your customer service staff categorize each and every issue that your customers may have, and plot out potential patterns. Take every complaint as a chance to improve, and every compliment as assurance that you’re on the right track.
- Know Your Customers
To achieve optimal satisfaction among your clientele, you’ve got to know what makes them tick. This goes beyond post-purchase surveys—this involves an almost personal understanding of what goes through their heads when they interact with you or your business.This means going through their experiences as well. If you have a physical store, try hiring or acting as a “secret shopper”. Go through your own customer service hotlines. Whenever your customer orders several items, attempt to anticipate anything additional that they may want, and offer it as a bonus item or at a significant discount.
- Understand What Your Customers Want
Taking your customers’ feedback and transforming that into tangible, desired outcomes isn’t an exact science. There’s no one way to make it happen, but a great way to facilitate that is to detach yourself from the situation and really get into what your customer is saying.Your closeness to the situation—being part of the company—may influence your consideration of the problems that your customers may be having. Try to listen as an impartial party, and do your best to address whichever issues they bring up. Do they no longer wish to patronize you? Find out why, and attempt to reverse it. Barring that, take those insights and apply them for the future.
- Engage With Your Clients
Establish relationships with your customers on several different fronts. The amount of ties they have with your company will make them that much less likely to end their patronage. This means giving them commenting privileges on your blog posts, offering them your email newsletter, opening up a forum in which they can discuss various matters, and giving returning customers various discounts.Show your customers that you care about their input and feedback, that you value their spending time with your business, and they will be inclined to stay.
- Remember The Value of Customers
As a company becomes more successful, it might become easier to forget how and why you got there in the first place. Your customers are responsible for your success, and their continued loyalty will remain integral to your growth.Always encourage your customers to increase their ties with you. Whether that means offering them a subscription renewal, asking if they want fries with that, or letting them have a complimentary tie with that shirt, remember how valuable customers are to your company.
- Find a Solution to Every Problem
No matter the nature of the complaint or request, keep in mind that customers have no patience for people and companies who cannot offer a solution to their issue. Always have options to offer them.A caveat, however: even though customers love to shop, they intensely dislike being sold to, and can spot a sales pitch almost immediately. Make sure that your solution is equally beneficial to both of you, and emphasize that you’re here to help.
- Track, Analyze and Report
As you gather feedback, you will be able to quantify the various issues that come up in your customer service interactions. Customer service interactions aren’t limited to actual dialogues with your customer service representatives, such as phone calls and online chats. These extend to optional surveys and customer reviews.Use the points raised in these sources of feedback to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your operations. Quantify the data you gather, and use it to show everyone in your company—from staff to those at the management level—what needs to be done to avoid these complaints as your move forward.
- Strive for Continuous Improvement
Customer service is an iterative process. Whichever complaints and issues your customers have will only serve to resolve these problems in your company. These improvements will then be scrutinized by your end users, which leads to another cycle of improvement.By changing your style and always getting better, you’ll have the opportunity to exceed customer expectations nearly every time they interact with you. Best of all, this works for both pleased and disappointed clients. If your customers were dissatisfied, they’ll see that you’ve attempted to address their concerns. If they were already satisfied, they’ll be even more impressed with your product or service.
Customer satisfaction should be a goal that should always be in your sights. Happy customers mean repeat customers, and customers that will evangelize your company to their friends and family. Loyalty is a commodity that takes a long time to develop, but great customer service will speed up that process considerably.