Great customer service isn’t just a nice thing to have. It can be the crucial ingredient that puts your business ahead of the rest. Here’s 3 essential tips for awesome customer service.
Fact: improving customer service helps businesses grow. From managing customer expectations, to ensuring satisfaction with your product or service—a strong customer service team can not only attract new customers to your business, but keep existing customers loyal.
Customer service is the action you take as a business to help people get the best possible experience of your products and services.
That includes the advice you provide when they’re considering a purchase, the adjustments you make to fit your offering to their needs, resolving any issues they may have, and the customer support you give them after the sale is made.
Customer service is about people first and foremost. It’s the process of building a relationship with your customer, whether it’s a short-term connection or lifelong brand loyalty.
More often than not, it’s the result of individuals in your business acting in ways that are focused on customer success. All those positive moments are what make up great customer service, and they’re a result of a company culture that values and promotes great customer experience.
Customer service is important because it’s what connects your products and services with their end users – it’s where the rubber meets the road.
It helps make sure potential customers get a good match between what you offer and what they need, through careful listening and good advice.
It can also act as a safety net when things don’t go completely to plan, and it could even turn a poor experience into a positive one. For example, if a customer needs to return faulty goods, how you respond to that issue could actually strengthen their opinion of you—if you are fast, courteous and effective in solving the problem.
Although it’s about relationships first, good customer service can play a role in optimizing your business operations and processes too. With a customer-focused approach, you’re more likely to choose software and methodologies that please your customer base and deliver better results for them – and by extension, for your business.
The business world has become highly attuned to the power of a great customer experience, and there are lots of strategies, tools and techniques out there for making it happen. Here are a few must-haves for any new business looking to start out on the right foot.
Personalized experiences show your customers that you know them and value them, and that when they buy from you it’s not just a transaction, but part of a larger business relationship.
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’s also a proven way to encourage more sales. People love getting customized attention – and the numbers back it up. According to research, birthday campaigns – personalized promotions you send your customers on their birthday – lead to a 481% increase in transaction rates and a 382% increase in revenue. Clearly, making your customer feel special will result in increased engagement and purchasing patterns.
Have you ever received a robotic business email? You know, the kind that was copied and pasted from a template? There’s a good chance you didn’t engage with the email like the sender expected you to.
When you’re dealing with a large number of customers or high volume of orders, personalization can really help warm up an interaction that might otherwise feel cold and systematic. Knowing your customer and storing their information with a good CRM (customer relationship management) system means you can deliver that personal touch at scale.
A good-quality CRM system – such as Mailchimp or Salesforce – acts as a centralized hub for customer service, tracking a customer’s past purchases and interactions with you across multiple channels. It allows you to save time and please your customers by not asking for details repeatedly, and it means customer support staff have information on hand when they answer a query. It also allows you to send personalized messages – like those super-popular birthday campaigns.
As we’ve explored already, the behavior of people in your company is a make-or-break factor in great customer experiences. And when it comes to personalization, human interaction is about as powerful as it gets. So it’s worth knowing the most important service skills and making sure your team’s excelling at them.
A few qualities of great customer service people:
Some of these things are personal qualities that come naturally to certain people, while others are a matter of training.
So when you’re building up a customer service skills base, you have two strategic priorities:
That way you can make sure you have the personalities and abilities best suited to an outstanding customer experience.
A golden rule of customer service is to be available and responsive to customers whenever, and however, they reach out to you.
If you can handle customer queries and enquiries quickly, and you’re able to respond to all types of queries with solutions at the ready, you’ll quickly see positive results in how your customers regard you.
Has a customer got in touch to say how happy they are? Congratulations! It’s an awesome feeling, and it’s also an opportunity to make the relationship even stronger. You can respond to this kind of interaction by:
Complaints happen. No matter how high your standards are, there will always be hiccups, whether it’s a terse phone call or a nonplussed online review. How you handle negative feedback is what matters most. Must dos:
Whether a customer wants to know where their order is, if your product is vegan or halal, or how they can make an overseas order, these rules apply:
Customer loyalty is a result of repeated positive experiences with a business. Over time, basic customer satisfaction becomes something more enduring and personal – it becomes a belief in the high quality of your brand.
Loyal customers are more likely to:
All of that translates into more sales and better brand awareness.
That’s why many businesses treat Net Promoter Score (NPS) as such a crucial metric. It’s a measure of how many customers would recommend them to family or friends, and it reflects the level of loyalty they have achieved.
Businesses often develop specific projects aimed at building loyalty, such as customer retention strategies and customer loyalty programs.
The idea of a customer loyalty program is a familiar one to anybody who has collected points at their favorite store or joined a VIP customer program. It’s a kind of quid-pro-quo deal that offers clear rewards to the customer for their repeat business. It’s more about practical benefits than developing brand loyalty for its own sake, but it can support and drive the loyalty process and encourage it to build over time as it brings customers back to you again and again. For a new business though, loyalty programs can be cost-prohibitive to set up and slow to deliver returns.
Other customer retention projects work by creating an easy route for the customer and breaking down barriers to purchase. An example might be a smartphone app that gives customers a speedy order experience or delivers exclusive discounts and downloadable vouchers.
Good service, alongside high-quality products and a strong brand, helps turn customers into loyal clients and even advocates for your brand. In fact, it’s a key ingredient in the mix.
The reason customer service so important is because of how loyalty develops. Customer loyalty builds gradually, as a result of multiple positive experiences over time.
Each good experience strengthens an expectation of more good experiences in the future, and eventually customers associate your business with satisfaction and prefers your brand on principle, rather than choosing you on a case-by-case basis.
Some of those good experiences are product or service related, such as receiving good value for money or having a product with all the right features. But many more of them are about personal interactions, like a friendly reception in store, an easy-to-use app or a welcoming voice over the phone.
And while those things aren’t as high-profile or long-lasting as your products or your brand, they matter just as much.