Customer service – done well, it makes happy customers even more loyal while preventing displeased customers from taking their business elsewhere. Strong customer service is also essential to maintaining a good business reputation. Given the amplifying effects of today’s social media networks and online review sites, even one happy or angry customer can significantly move the needle in terms of public perception.
Given the profound importance of this issue, let’s explore five key strategies for upgrading your customer service.
Invest in additional staff training
Great customer service begins with a well-trained staff. While this is especially true in industries with a lot of face-to-face client interaction, virtually every business can profit from additional customer service training. Doing so helps minimize the odds of mistakes occurring, and gives employees the foundation they need to seamlessly address errors when they do happen.
By dedicating enough resources (in terms of time and money) to ensure that your personnel are well-trained, you can keep your staff confident and competent in the face of adversity — and afford your customers the kind of pleasurable experience that keeps them coming back.
Incorporate a 24/7 answering service
Accessibility is one of the cornerstones of excellent customer service. If your clients or guests can’t get in touch with you, they are likely to become frustrated by the experience — and may walk out the door, permanently.
One way to help ensure this doesn’t happen is the use of a 24/7 answering service. Incorporating such a service into your business comes with a variety of benefits: you won’t miss critically important business calls, your company will handle communications in an efficient and effective manner, and your customers will be able to get in touch with you on their terms. All of that adds up to a drastically improved customer service experience.
Gather feedback or data from your clientele
Companies that place emphasis on great customer service tend to be highly responsive to the needs and wants of their customers. The tricky part of that equation is anticipating when those desires change. Customer expectations are always evolving.
To help stay current with these shifting needs, many enterprises find it helpful to gather feedback and data from their current customers or guests. This may take the form of surveys, online questionnaires or membership/rewards programs. By staying in tune with your clientele’s expectations and desires, you can make sure that your customer service is perfectly calibrated for the task.
Make sure you’re technologically up-to-date
Today’s customers want convenience and responsiveness. We’ve been conditioned by the “on demand” economy to expect businesses to meet our needs, on our terms. One example: A few years ago, most online services were designed to be delivered via desktop computer. Now, many people prefer to conduct transactions via smartphone. So businesses that pivoted to mobile early-on are reaping the benefits.
By ensuring your technology and strategy are up to date, you can accommodate the changing behavior of your customers — and improve service at the same time.
Always be patient, proactive and understanding
When a customer service problem occurs, the best strategy is to acknowledge how the client is feeling. A little bit of sympathy and understanding in the beginning can set the tone for an exchange. Customers who feel their issues are being recognized and treated seriously are more likely to stay in the fold, even after a negative experience.
Great customer service is a critically important part of any business. By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can help ensure your customers remain engaged, happy and loyal.
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