Great customer service is critical if you want your business to stand out. Here are some essential tips to ensure your clients love your customer service. From managing customer expectations, to ensuring satisfaction with your product or service— strong customer service attracts new customers to your business and retains existing customer loyalty. Loyal customers talk to others about your fabulous service and such word of mouth marketing is worth its weight in gold.
Why does it matter?
Customer service ensures potential customers get a good match between what you offer and what they need, and acts as a safety net if things don’t go according to plan. If you solve customer issues quickly, effectively and with understanding and courtesy then you will stand out. Putting your relationship with your customer first and understanding their needs throughout their purchasing journey or throughout their interaction with your service in other words.
Make it personal
This shows your customers that you know and value them, as an individual not as a transaction. For example, knowing relevant facts about your customers means you can serve them more quickly and easily, and you can make sure their preferences are met without them having to ask. It has also been shown to encourage sales because it makes the customer feel special.
Good to Great: Quality Customer service skills
however busy you are, every customer feels they are being listened to and their needs understood.
Friendly and calm under pressure:
being cheerful, friendly and receptive whilst listening actively.
Attention to detail:
Remembering details about customers and orders as well as following through on promises and requests makes a huge impression on customer loyalty.
When you’re building up a customer service team there are two key priorities for the business: Ensuring the staff you already have in place have support and guidance so they understand how you want every eventuality to be managed. Make processes logical and easy to follow and routes of escalation clear and obvious. During interviews for team roles pay attention to personal traits that make people a “natural” at customer service, these include patience, optimism, listening skills and friendliness.
A golden rule of customer service is to be available and responsive to customer needs on every platform where you are present, and being present on every platform your client may wish to use.
Handling queries quickly and having effective solutions to those queries ready to deploy as needed will quickly lead to positive customer feedback and high satisfaction with your services.
Tackling Customer Contact well.
A customer has got in touch to say they are really pleased with your product or service? That’s brilliant. This is also an opportunity to strengthen that relationship further by asking further questions:
Ask what part of the service worked particularly well for them so you can learn from their feedback.
Give them a shout out on Social Media, celebrating your happy customer and giving them recognition in the process.
Ask for a testimonial or review, or ask if you can quote their feedback on your website.
Complaints happen no matter how careful you are or how high your standards. It’s how you handle this negative feedback which matters and you can use this to your advantage.
Listen and empathise with the customer. Be responsive, find out exactly what happened and how it made your customer feel and make it clear that you will set things right.
Focus on solutions and if possible offer a range of solutions that fit different customer issues, from refunds and apologies to a change of policy. Although no one expects problems, it’s better to have a solution ready just in case rather than have a delay in the resolution process whilst you come up with a plan.
Be clear about what will happen next so the customer knows what to expect, when this will happen and what the solution will be. If someone will call back, ensure the customer knows when this will be, who will call and ensure that the time proposed will be convenient for the customer.
Learn from it: Complaints aren’t fun, but constructive feedback is a great learning tool. Take note of it and if the same complaint happens more than once, consider how you can alter things to avoid that issue in future.
Questions and Queries
Whether a customer wants to know where their order is, how long it takes to ship to the US, or whether the tuna in your cat food is dolphin-friendly, the same rules apply:
Answer quickly. Ideally, show your response times on your website or use an auto-reply on your email system.
Consider a Frequently Asked Questions section on your website or add a chatbot so people can find the answer quickly when they need to, at whatever time of day or night that might be.
Good internal communications are critical in large organisations with multiple departments. This allows departments to contact each other to answer queries that have been raised by clients quickly and effectively, so the person who took the query can reply to the customer fast or refer them to the correct person…. No one likes to be the subject of email “pass the parcel” or have their call transferred multiple times before they get an answer to their question.