Whenever customers deal with a brand, they expect good service. And that expectation extends far beyond the product customers receive. Providing excellent customer service also includes delivering a superb customer experience at every interaction with the business.
If a business fails to provide a positive customer experience, people will not become repeat buyers. Poor customer service will also impact referrals and damage the brand’s reputation. So, investment in customer service is as crucial for success as investing in products.
Delivering top-class service is within reach of any business. You may need to invest in some new systems and improve some services. But you can begin improving customer service by developing a customer-centric company culture. Here are ten steps that will help you deliver top-class customers service to your customers.
1. Know Your Market
Market research is usually associated with marketing and branding. The focus is generally on finding the best way to sell to a market. However, gaining a better understanding of your target market will also help you provide better customer service. For example, do you know how users use your products? Do you understand your customer’s pain points? And what levels of service do your competitors offer? The more you know about how your product fits into your customers’ lives, the better you can relate to customer issues and concerns.
2. Know Your Product
Customers expect you to be the expert on your products. So, when a customer calls to inquire or complain about a product, the company’s representative must be able to speak knowledgeably about what you sell. Or, if a representative cannot answer a question, there must be someone available who can.
3. Know Your Customers
Every customer should be important to a business as an individual. So, each customer should have a personal relationship with the brand. Of course, if you have thousands of customers, genuine personal relationships will not be possible. However, company representatives should at least have the customer’s information when they deal with them. For example, what the customer purchased, what they have on order, and a record of previous communications. All of this and more be easily achieved by implementing CRM (customer relationship management) software.
4. Train Your Employees
As mentioned in the introduction, customer service covers all interactions a customer has with your brand. So, all employees who may interact with customers will need to be on board with the idea of providing the best possible service. And employees in front-line roles will benefit from training in your products, your services, and how to answer customer questions and complaints.
5. Make it Easy for Customers to Contact You
Customers will want answers to their questions fast. And some people prefer specific methods of communication over others. So, it is best to offer various means of communication and make those contact methods easy to find. For example, display telephone numbers, email addresses, and your physical address on your website. And display your opening times, too
6. Respond Quickly to All Customer Communications
As mentioned above, speed is of the essence when answering customer questions and complaints. So, try to ensure that telephones are responded to promptly, and emails responded to the same day. And ensure that comments or complaints left on your website or social media are answered, too.
7. Use Technology to Improve Service
Technology, such as CRM software, will help you to manage customer relationships. Even so, in a customer-centric business, the customer comes first. So, the primary objective of technology should be to enhance the customer experience. For example, your website’s FAQs (frequently asked questions) page should be designed to improve customer service, not replace human interaction. And it is best not to expect chatbots to replace the need for other forms of communication entirely. If you want to put the customers first, it would be best to remember that not everyone is comfortable using technology.
8. Be Reliable
If you say you offer next-day delivery, ensure that you are geared up to deliver most products as promised. And, if you promise to call a customer straight back, don’t leave it a week before you get back to them. These simple examples of reliability are only two of the ways to build trust with your customers. And trust is crucial. Because if you can’t keep the simplest of promises, how can your customers believe anything else you say?
9. Empathize with Customers
The best rule to follow when dealing with customers is to put yourself in their shoes. So, try to understand why customers feel frustrated, disappointed, or angry, even if you disagree with their point of view. People hate to be ignored or not taken seriously. So, try to empathize with customers, see things from their perspective, and go the extra mile to resolve their concerns and complaints.
10. Track the Stats
Improving customer service is a continual process. And if you want customer service to be a priority, you must have a means of measuring performance. So, it is best to track and monitor customer service KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, keep an eye on the average time it takes to respond to a customer query. Track the time it takes to resolve customer complaints. And, when a response to a customer service communication falls outside of acceptable limits, find out why and take steps to ensure the issue does not occur again.
Much of the above is little more than common sense. But it takes a concerted effort by the entire team to improve customer service. So, begin by understanding who your customers are and what they need. Put providing the best possible customer service at the heart of the company. And ensure that everyone is on board and has the training and tools to deliver an excellent customer experience.