Good customer service should be at the forefront of your business. Giving customers what they want and when they want it will make your business better than your competitors, as long as customer service is consistent. However, how do you ensure that you give your business customers good service every time? And, how do you improve the existing customer service you provide?
Go through the journey as a customer. This means covering every stage from purchasing to complaints and aftercare. When you go through the journey and experience as a customer, you clearly and accurately see where the problems lie. Knowing where issues lie within any process will ensure that you can rectify them as soon as possible. Suppose you want to ensure that your customers receive excellent customer service around the clock. In that case, services like Voco can help make the process manageable. They provide both mobile and desktop apps your staff can use. This is great if your office is only open 9 am to 5 pm, and you are a small business with only several employees.
You have to ensure that communication is at the center of any interaction with your customers. This is especially true if you run an online-based business. Customers want to feel reassured, and quite often, they want to be kept updated with what is happening. Hence, you need to ensure that you communicate regularly and clearly with customers at all stages of a process. Communication also needs to be consistent to ensure that standards are kept high.
You need to monitor how you and your business handle communication. If possible, also implement practices to ensure that you maintain consistency. For example, ensure that all emails are responded to by a human within 24 hours. Or that callbacks happen within one working business day. Open, clear, and honest communication is essential to ensure that your customers are happy and satisfied with your services. Poor communication can lead to lost business and bad reviews, which are, of course, detrimental to your business.
Engaging with customers is essential. Whether they are new customers or old established customers, it is essential to engage with customers whenever you can. Do not just go through a transaction with a customer as if you were going through the motions. Instead, engage with them, get to know them and what they want. When you engage with customers, you build up a rapport that will lead to long-term loyal customers. Which of course is what every business wants.
To truly offer exceptional customer service, you have to remember the customer is always right (even if they are not). You need to use good listening skills and empathy when trying to resolve any issues that arise. It is important to remember that even when providing excellent customer service that you will have those customers that are never happy and that never will be. The key to overcoming these negative situations and scenarios is to focus on the positives you can gain and learn from them.
Dealing with less than friendly customers will help you improve your customer service policy to ensure that, where possible, customers are as happy as they can be. Customer service is a never-ending journey. Learning and improving patience, adaptability, and good listening skills will help you and your business move forward and consistently offer the best service around, which ultimately will work in favor of building up your brand.
Continuous learning and development help you build a strong and workable customer service policy. The only way you learn is by gathering feedback. To gather accurate feedback, you need to ask for it from customers. If you are able to get online reviews for your business, this can be very valuable. Some customers will not readily provide you with the information you require unless you prompt them for it. Of course, if you offer something in return, such as a discount on your next purchase, then you are more likely to receive feedback no matter whether it is good or bad.
Learning from customer feedback is easier to do and less painful in the long run. Additionally, it can save you and your business from a bad interaction with an unhappy customer. When you have received customer feedback, it is wise to analyze it as soon as you can. Old information and data can be useless, so use any feedback you have received promptly to ensure it is relevant. Look at reviewing, amending, and updating your customer service policy (if necessary) at least every month.
Consistency is vital when providing customer service. Therefore, you should create a policy that ensures all customers receive fantastic service at every stage of the journey. Everyone within your business should follow a policy that, at a minimum, covers how you want people within your business to act. This can include showing empathy, being knowledgeable about the company and your products/services, and being a clear communicator at all levels. The policy should also cover how problems are handled, when escalation is required and how the staff will handle unhappy customers.
A thorough policy will also cover when and how to follow up on any transactions that were not as smooth as they could have been. For example, if on the phone call a customer showed dissatisfaction but did not complain directly, then the right course of action would be to follow up with the customer a few days later (when they are calmer). Then you can see what needs to happen to rectify any issues or problems, and ultimately make the customer happy. Lots of businesses never follow up on complaints, and this is where they lose customers.
Customer service is about being there for your customers, anytime and anywhere. Professional customer service is welcoming and cheerful, helpful and attentive. Good customer service is about solving problems and being aware of what the customer has gone through or is going through. Your customer care and service will evolve as your business develops. All you have to remember is to keep your customers first.