Businesses spend a lot of time and money on marketing and advertising to attract new customers. While this is important for the growth of the business, sometimes the value of returning customers is often overlooked. Loyal customers are critical to the success of any business and it is by providing them with excellent customer service that they will remain loyal to the business. All customers want businesses to provide them unbelievably good customer experience.
Without a robust customer centric culture, where timely resolution of issues are the norm, a business leaves itself helpless to the anger of customers. No matter how great the business thinks the product is, or how talented the company thinks their team is, what the customers are most likely to remember is the direct contact they have with the company.
Here are the top tips to help give the customers the kind of service they truly deserve.
• Anticipate the needs of the customer
Use knowledge about the customers and the products that they have bought in the past to predict future needs. Thee needs might be recurring or unusual, either way getting to know your customers show them that they have not been forgotten and the brand have their best interests in mind.
• Understand that Good customer service is a continuous learning process
Every customer is unique and every support situation is different and in order to handle surprises, sense a customer’s mood, address new challenges accordingly, the business have to be willing to keep learning. Strive to have a deep understanding of the business and its customer’s challenges and continue to search for better ways to address them.
• Greet customers with a smile
If the company operates a bricks and mortar company, this can be done with a warm and friendly greeting as soon as they enter their premises. Even if the company is dealing with customers over the phone, it’s thought that a warm smile can be sensed.
• Make time for the customer
In a busy environment it can be frustrating for an employee if a customer wants to stop and talk when they are occupied with a lot of work. However, the customer will be able to tell if the employees’ desire is not in the conversation, so it is always important to make the customer top priority.
• Make customers feel important
Making the customers feel important can be achieved through little details such as addressing them by their name or making them feel genuinely welcome when they do business with the brand. If customers feel valued and appreciated by a business then they are more likely to come back and make more purchases.
• Apologize if things go wrong
No business is perfect all the time and mistakes can be made. Often it is the way that business deals with this mistake rather than the mistake itself which will determine whether the customer returns to the business. As soon as the business realizes that a mistake has been made, they should admit the mistake, apologize sincerely and do everything in their power to rectify the mistake conducted.
• Give customers more than they expect
Customers are more likely to feel loyalty towards a brand that has exceeded their expectations, both in terms customer service and the products they have provided.
• Ask the customers for feedback
A business may think that it is performing well in terms of customer service but they can never really be sure until they ask the customers what they think. After this information has been gathered it should be acted on to fix specific issues and improve areas that are identified that have weaknesses. Take time to thank the customers for their helpful tips and reward them accordingly.
• Treat the employees well
In most cases it will be the employees of a business who have the most face to face contact with the consumers. The better they are treated, the happier they will be while at work and this will be evident in the way they treat the customers. The atmosphere that is created by a good working environment will be more pleasant for customers as well.
• Be truthful about the products which are being sold
If a customer asks for advice about a product then the advice that is given should be honest. If a customer is misled in order to make a sale then they will not appreciate it when they find the product does not function properly as expected and probably won’t come back.
• Bend the rules if needed
If a regular customer makes a special request that would not normally be part of the business policy then this request should be given maximum consideration rather than the customer being told no. Customers will appreciate that the businesses have empowered the employees with common sense and the ability to see the bigger picture.
• Show the customers the company’s work ethic
Customers appreciate a representation that does not pass the buck and sticks with them until their problem is solved. However, the company cannot spend too much time handling one customer while others are waiting. The company needs to stay focus on their goals to achieve the right balance.
• Pay attention to the customer’s experience
A negative customer experience at any point in the customer lifecycle can destroy the company’s relationship with them. It is important to pay critical attention to key touch points such as customer trial periods, customer sign ups, customer on boarding etc. Make sure the company have a full view of the customer experience or the company may risk breakdowns in service that will hurt businesses.
• Practice Active Listening
When the company practices active listening, the customers feel heard. Make sure the customers know the company understands them by clarifying and rephrasing what they say. The key is to empathize with the customers and reflect their feelings by saying things like I’m sorry, I understand what the problem is etc.
• Follow-up after the problem is solved
Follow up with the customers to ensure their issues were resolved properly and that they were satisfied with the service is very vital. The company should give them a call, send them a good support email or even a feedback survey is a great way to let the customers know the company cares and they are still on their side.
• Be real by getting Personal
The customers want help from real people not just FAQ’s and automated emails. Take advantage of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and review sites and respond when the customers post on the company page. Display support team pictures and bios on the company website. Show the customers that the company has real people working on their behalf.
• Be Accessible
Part of the personal touch is being available to the customers. The company has to make it easy for the customer to reach them. Even if the business is largely online, try to meet in person with local customers or offer video calls to keep being interactive with them.
• Practice Clear Communication
How the company communicates with the customers couldn’t be more important. Styling affects communication, as well as tone affects communication. It is important to watch out for passive aggressive language as it will turn off the customers. The company should also avoid confusing the customers with slang, colloquialisms or technical jargons.
• Use the CARP method
It is important for customer service teams to stay consistent in the tone they use and the processes they practice. A great way to do both is by using the CARP method.
–Control the situation
–Acknowledge the dilemma
–Refocus the conversation
–Problem solve so the customer leaves satisfied
• Stay informed with customer data
Do not rely on ‘it feels like we spend a lot of time addressing this issue’ when customer data can be easily eliminated from the guesswork. Tracking the frequency of issues as well as the average handle time, will give the company the reporting they need to make better decision on how to improve their business.