Customer service, like it or loathe it, is all the rage in business these days. Whether the hype can be blamed on every individual having access to countless eyes and ears via social media or on an actual decline in quality customer service, the businesses that are offering customers the best service are often growing leaps and bounds compared to their competitors. Whether you sell shoes or offer piano tuning, your customers expect a lot from you. Start exceeding expectations by improving your customer service almost immediately with the following six tips.
1. Get Interactive
How do your customers want to interact with you when they have a problem, a question, or a complaint? Depends on the customer, right? With a SaaS customer service solution like eGain, you won’t have to constantly monitor every channel your customers might be frequenting. Instead, you can simply inhabit their omnichannel world. Interact with your customers and potential customers everywhere and in every way they want to from email and social media to live chat and virtual assistant. There’s no need to hamstring yourself when it comes to the ways in which you can offer service. The easier you are to get a hold of, and the more readily you respond via the channels your customers prefer, the better you’ll be perceived when it comes to customer service.
2. Empower Employees
Far too often, the natural inclinations of employees to do what’s right when it comes to the customer are hampered by the rules and regulations of the company for which they work. Don’t keep your employees from solving your customers’ problems. Instead, empower them to grant customers the good service you say you want to provide. When it comes to fixes that are clear, related to errors on your part, or not too expensive, don’t require a manager to sign off. Let your customer service rep OK the change and you’ll have happier customers — and employees — almost immediately.
3. Always Be Available
Even banks don’t keep banker’s hours anymore — at least not on the World Wide Web. The days of addressing customer concerns during “business hours” have long passed. With the advent of the Internet and its global reach, customer service has become something that must occur at all times, or a business won’t be able to remain competitive. Whether you outsource it or staff it, you need to make sure that, when it comes to customer questions, complaints, or concerns, your door is never closed.
4. Use Names
In many ways, this next piece of advice should be followed in nearly every interaction one has with another human being. Use the person’s name. Regardless of whether you were contacted via email, phone, Twitter, or chat, address your customer by name (or handle), and instruct your employees to use their names as well.
What follows will be a personal exchange between people, rather than a customer service exchange between a company and a customer. Are you still a company and customer? Of course. It’s just that people enjoy being treated like the individuals they are. It’s a simple move and takes little effort, but using your customers’ names will pay big dividends in the customer service department.
5. Be Nice
While it should no longer need any mention on a list like this one, the reality of poor customer service dictates that “niceness” be given ample attention. Far too often, companies view customer needs as silly, secondary, or lacking in merit. When customers are seen in this light, they’re subject to poor treatment. Avoid this trap by always, in every circumstance, regardless of the complaint or the way in which it is made, treating your customers with kindness and respect. If your organization’s default is to be nice, even if a customer doesn’t get a demand met, he’ll at least know he was treated like an individual with value.
6. Get Feedback
Whether you routinely win accolades from customers or you’re routinely maligned, ask for feedback regarding your customer service. Customer insight is valuable — even when what they have to say stings. Allow for more than just a standardized, multiple-choice response, and when a theme emerges — or a really good idea — act on it. Nobody knows more about what the customer wants than the customer. As much as you can, give it to them.
Improving customer service can feel akin to hunting Bigfoot, but it doesn’t have to. Follow these six tips, and your organization will improve customer service almost immediately.