You can probably think of various times you’ve had a negative experience with customer service and it left a sour taste in your business. Businesses actually lose 71 percent of consumers as a result of poor customer service, and chances are your business can’t afford to make that mistake. Instead of providing poor customer service, you want to provide superior customer service to satisfy your customers. This is a way to keep them happy and loyal in the future. Take a look at these seven tips to give customers an experience that they will appreciate and keep them coming back to your business time and again.
1. Use Active Listening
Simply listening to your customers goes a very long way, and active listening takes things a step further. Prove to the customer that you hear what they are saying. You can do this by showing you understand; reflect on, paraphrase or repeat what your customers are saying.
You can say, “I understand you are frustrated because your order was incorrect.” When you say this, you let the customer know you understand his or her problem and you aren’t giving scripted answers. Your body language is important too. If possible, stop whatever you’re doing and make eye contact, giving your customer your full attention instead of acting like the task you’re working on is more important than helping them.
2. Show Respect
It only takes a second to address your customers by their last names or “sir,” or “ma’am” until they encourage you to use another name. Always act polite, and use good manners like “please” and “thank you.” Speak to the customers professionally, avoiding slang terms. If you are speaking with an angry customer, do not use sarcasm or raise your voice. Remember never to argue – your behavior should remain professional at all times.
3. Be Proactive
The majority of things you do with a customer are reactive; you’re responding to his or her requests, wishes and needs. The way to be a superior customer service agent is through being proactive. That means you identify the things the customer might need before they know they need them and solve problems before they arise. There are various trends in online customer service; always remember that the customer experience is increasingly important and do what you can to make their lives easier.
4. Remain Positive
Positivity takes you far in life, and it’s essential to keep a positive attitude when working with customers. They pick up on your mood, and if you’re displaying negativity, it’s likely they’ll believe you do not want to help. Even if you’re not face-to-face, smile. A smile even during a phone call shines through to prove to your customer that you care about them and how they are feeling.
Positive language is also essential to avoid conflicts. For example, if you have a product that is on backorder, it’s essential you communicate this in the right way. Instead of saying “I can’t get the product to you for a long time, it’s on backorder.” You could tell the customer that the product will be available next month and that you can place the order now, so it’s sent to them as soon as it reaches the warehouse.
5. Follow Through with Every Customer
Has anyone ever told you they would do something, then failed to follow through? How did this make you feel? Chances are, you were frustrated and felt that you could not trust them.
If you tell a customer you are going to do something, it’s essential that you follow through. Your customers have to know that you are dependable, reliable and stick to your word. This holds very true when your customer has an issue that can’t be resolved at that moment. Make sure to follow up with your customer to ensure the problem has been resolved and that they are happy. Return emails and phone calls promptly. If you are unable to carry out something you promised, you need to be honest and let the customer know right away.
6. Give Thanks
Customer retention matters; we’re in a world where there is a lot of competition, yet many online businesses seem content to avoid interacting with customers. Showing sincere appreciate is one of the best and easiest tactics to form a closer relationship with customers.
There are many ways to leverage personalization in your marketing strategy. Remember that your customers are people. They like communication and personal touches. Think about writing a hand-written note using the person’s name. Be specific about what you are thanking them for when sending a note.
You could also include something small when sending the order. You’ve already paid for the box and shipping, so add an extra freebie to give your customers a little extra delight. A task that takes just a few minutes can transform a customer in a repeat one. Never underestimate the value of a simple thank you.
7. Invest in Good People
It’s true: the quality of the customer service provided will never surpass the quality of the individuals who provide it. If your intent is to provide better support than the competition, you have to invest in a team that has the ability to deliver. Hire people you trust and trust the people you hire. Don’t scrimp when it comes to the talent you bring onboard. No matter how great your website, products and brick and mortar store are, if your customer service stinks your customers will look elsewhere.
Take the time to develop and train your employees and hone in on the importance of making the customer a priority, always.
Provide excellent customer service by reflecting and repeating what is said to you to convey you understand. Follow through with your customers to prove that you are dependable. Make sure to return emails and phone calls in a timely manner and always ensure the customer is satisfied with the resolution to their issue. Customer service can be a means to an end or it can be an active aspect of your business. These tips are all vital to remember and act upon as you strive to provide top notch customer service.
Megan Totka is a business expert and online author. She was the marketing & editorial director at ChamberofCommerce.com for over a decade. As a business expert, she specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips, and reliable resources, as well as providing business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of business marketing and has spent several years exploring topics like copywriting, content marketing, list building, social media and any hot topics to help businesses run their business successfully.
When she’s not writing articles to educate businesses on the vast importance of building up their web presence, she likes to keep her finger on the pulse of the latest small business products, services, apps, and other reviews.
With a strong suit for managing business partnerships and developing partner relations, she often cultivates topics around the partnerships she’s established by reviewing and highlighting what makes each business unique. She prides herself on keeping up with the diverse variety of services each business specializes in to spotlight new offerings.