Many assume that for a modern-day business to be successful, all that’s necessary is to provide a product that will appeal to the market or a unique type of service such as Uber, Airbnb, or Spotify. However, what truly lays at the foundation to a successful long term business, is impeccable customer service. Companies live and die with their customers. Businesses always focus on delivering good customer service, but, what does it take for customer service to rise above good, and become truly great?
Knowing how to take care of your customers affects whether or not they will return to your company in the future. The chance of a customer returning is greatly increased if they carry a smile with them after interacting with your business.
So here are: 9 Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service in Your Business.
Hire the Right People for The Job
Hiring a new employee is always a complicated process. Usually it is quite difficult to get a feel for if any specific type of person will be a good addition to your practice in the long run. Pay close attention to the individual you are interviewing, do they have a natural charm, are they communicable, and generally friendly? Simply put, a true people person. Let potential candidates know that you have developed certain goals that you would like your business to achieve, let them in on your ideas, and maybe they will have their own ideas as to how you can reach your goals more effectively.
Set specific requirements for your candidates as to how you would like them to approach the job. Inform them of the direction you want your customer service operations to go and what kind of measurements you are seeking to fulfill.
To satisfy these requirements, management must establish core values that the business will stand by. Employees should be picked so that their values align with your own.
This is not a job for everyone, a certain mentality is required. People with a bright personality make an ideal fit, as well as those who can clearly articulate in their own words, what great customer service means to them.
A functional, happy, and dynamic team of representatives is one of the stepping stones towards making your customer service stand out among competition.
Educate Your Employees About the Products and Services Your Business provides.
It’s certainly wonderful that in today’s day and age a concerned customer may simply pick up the phone, go into a chat, send an email, or walk into a store to have their issues resolved. However, many businesses fall short in providing a smooth transition from issue formulation to resolution. Time and time again, clients call in, are connected, and then forwarded through every single department multiple times just to ask a question, launch a dispute, or even set up a meeting. Empower your employees with knowledge as to the products and service you provide as well as internal alternatives and recommendations.
It is crucial that every individual who is in one way or another pertinent to customer service, be fully educated to as far as the subject matter goes. You want your employees to be able to handle incoming requests, questions, and concerns as efficiently as possible without taking up too much of a customer’s time.
The moving parts at the forefront of your business need to understand how to interact, communicate, and resolve issues for customers as headache free and knowledgeably as is possible. This can be achieved through training and education.
A business should not stop progressing and improving once it reaches its initially established goals. Plateauing is not a desirable outcome. Management must always seek greater heights and ways in which it can improve shareholder perceptions via specific goals.
How does a business go about establishing goals and finding areas on which to improve upon? Many organizations like to utilize industry wide banal surveys. Everyone knows them, nobody likes them. Why? They take too long and are a horrendous statistic to rely on when trying to set goals and find areas for improvement.
Some organizations like to flood email inboxes with requests for reviews, ask customers questions at the end of a conversation as to how well they perceive that they were handled by the customer service team, the answer to which is usually “Fine, thanks, (Insert Name), have a good day… ugh”!
These bombardments are only good for fulfilling a meaningless month end quote. There is not much of a difference between a rating of one, or five stars’ if you can’t find out why the rating was given.
Instead of surveying, set realistic goals that are specific, relationship oriented, focused on improvement, and can empower everyone within your organization. Gather statistics on the goals set, and you will be able to clearly understand your shortcomings and improvements. Objective feedback is much better than good feedback.
What does a specific goal look like?
Specific: Our goal is to satisfy customer requests in a time frame of 30 minutes or less to three hours.
A clear, understandable goal – leaving no one confused as to what needs to be accomplished.
Unspecific: Our goal is to satisfy customer requests fast.
The problem with this unspecified goal is that different individuals within an organization will have a different understanding of what defines “fast”. To some it may be 24 hours, 10 hours, or 30 minute.
Never set an objective to answer as many telephone calls, chats, messages as possible. Instead, set your goal to make as many clients as satisfied as you can. Establishing a relationship oriented goal like this will ensure that customers and representatives alike can feel and provide unique, individual experiences.
Treat Customers with Empathy and Respect
Ten minutes prior to closing for the night and a customer walks in, calls, or simply stays a few minutes after closing time browsing for a final piece of merchandise? Never kick them out with a coldshoulder.
Many companies are capable of providing quality customer service. However, sometimes these companies allow themselves to handle customers as if they were sardines mixed in a sealed tin can, a walking wallet, or an additional subscriber. Obviously, customers don’t want to be just another number, they want respect like any other human being.
So, attend to those customers that run in ten minutes before closing, and the ones that have puzzled looks after everyone else has left. They will be sure to remember the care and attention you provided them with, and this will bring them back with a feeling of being provided with truly great customer service.
Make sure you and your employees can cordially solve problems, deal with them, and most certainly not create new ones!
Add A Personal Touch to Your Customer Service Practices
A personalized approach undoubtedly always creates a more pleasant customer experience in any industry, and can truly launch a business level above its competitors.
Have a shop with a large and steady flow of customers? Figure out a way to conduct the checkout process without them having to stand in redundant lines wasting time. This provides your CSR’s with the perfect opportunity to learn a customer’s name and establish a foundation for trust.
Make sure your employees know when customers simply want to be left alone and tend to themselves. Being too pushy can make your service process lousy instead of great.
Instead of running your customers around a loop through different departments, managers, representatives so that they have to explain their issue over and over again until their next birthday, have the rep taking care of their issue give a quick briefing to the next person they will be forwarded do.
And if you tell your customers that they will be transferred to Bob from the IT department, make sure you provide them with a means of reconnecting with IT-Jedi Bob before you transfer them, just in case they get disconnected.
Customers will always remember that extra mile you went for them.
Become Faster While Retaining Quality
Never leave your customers hanging on the line with an automated response system and a plethora of beautifully sounding prerecorded voice messages. Give them a readily available option for human contact.
Consider providing loyal and returning customers with a way through which they can reach their necessary department without having to hang on the line for too long. Not only does this improve turnovers and efficiency, it’s an all-around great way to build trust and a personal relationship with your clients.
A great example of a company improving the speed of their service while retaining quality, is Lexus. Everyone’s been to the dealership or repair shop with their car and sat around for hours waiting. Lexus came forward with an innovative idea to provide their clients with Lexus model rental cars to drive while their main means of transportation are being worked on. If your business has the resources for process innovations such as this, consider implementing them.
Consider installing a chat feature if you haven’t already in addition to standard modes of communication, this has been proven to greatly improve the speed at which requests can be handled.
Handle Complaints Effectively
The customer is always right. Make sure that if your client leaves negative reviews or feedback, that its analyzed and a collective solution is formulated regarding the issue. The odds are more likely than not that more than one customer carries the same opinion, they simple aren’t always voiced. An analysis and understanding of complaints will allow you to avoid them in the future.
Effectively handling complaints, establishing trust, building personal relationships, understanding goals, improving speed, are all necessary in order to launch your businesses customer service to the next level. And thankfully, we live in an age of rapidly developing technology, which makes achieving all of this much easier.
Don’t Shy Away from Technology and Millennial’s
Thanks to recent technological developments it has become much easier for businesses to remain connected with their clients and to improve their customer service practices.
Consider utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to act as mediums through which customers can reach out to your business with feedback, questions, and compliments in a modern and efficient way.
That’s the purpose of social media, interconnection and bringing interactions to a very personal level. It’s also the preferred method of contact and communication between millennials who will soon act as the dominant consumer force for all industries. Board the hype train and utilize these tools to improve your customer service!
Finding a common ground for proper communications and customer service for millennials will be crucial for businesses in 2017 and beyond.
Be on The Receiving End of Your Businesses Customer Service
A phenomenal way to understand how well your customer service is functioning, and if it has gone beyond good and achieved true greatness, is to play customer for a day. Go through the routine processes that any other ordinary customer would go through when dealing with your business.
This will give you the perfect insight as to what needs to be done in regards to delivering truly excellent customer service.
We hope this article helped you understand how you can launch your customer service passed just good, and become truly great! Is there anything you feel we left out? Let us know in the comments.
Ben is the founder/CEO of Today’s Local Media. He spends his days reading up on the latest trends from the internet marketing world, and managing customer experience for TLM. He strongly believes that top notch customer service leads to the growth of TLM and all their clients.