I am a strong believer that “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all”. Not only does it provide assurance that you have assisted your “fan” in receiving or acquiring the service/product they required but they also become the best advocate for your brand. Remember however, that when it comes down to customer service, surveys show that a negative experience is shared a lot more often than a positive one.
Customer service is a key aspect to customer retention. Arguably, one of the most important actions a brand can take to improve its relationship with its customers as it is this experience they will remember when purchasing a brand.
With the sudden emergence of social media, many brands and companies have swiftly moved their customer service to their respective accounts so as to ease and speed the process. Offering unparalleled customer service will help your business stand out from competition and hence succeed no matter what the economic climate or latest technology craze is. Here’s how:
Understand your Customer needs
The more aware you are of your customers traits and habits, the more the chances you can get a better comprehension of their expectations and needs. Make sure to conduct so market research and identify where your customers are coming from. Spend some time improving your product or service in line with the needs identified which in turn will assist in finding ways to meet customer aspirations.
In this way, not only will you have a clearer understanding of your number 1 fans but also be able to provide outstanding customer service to them in order to ensure their return.
Be Available and Knowledgeable
Customers should be able to reach you – one way or another – at all times. Whether you have face to face or online based customer service, make sure your customers are aware of it and can contact you at any given point. Provide them with a variety of options (not too many) to come into contact to ease their process and build a relationship with them.
In addition, it is always useful to be knowledgeable. Been there to assist in queries is 1 thing but also provide useful information and answers to common problems or questions could potentially save you time and also demonstrate your willingness to help. Build a help/support network that will help you be consistent and effective.
Create a Customer Service Culture & be Consistent
Achieving a high level of employee engagement means that your team members are also consistent in the service they provide. Make sure that all staff are trained in the same way and demonstrate that in their daily duties. Set specific objectives and goals from your customer service experience and train your staff on how to implement them as part of a habitual pattern. After all, the goal of a customer service is to bring resolution to everyone’s satisfaction; it requires patience, empathy and comprehension of ones complaint.
Once you have created a basic strategy with specific key goals of how you would like your staff to resolve customer service queries (from the simplest to the most complex), focus on consistence and how all staff can produce this strategy fully. Consistency is key as it will ensure all your customers experience the same service no matter the channel or location it comes from.
Provide a platform for Feedback
No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. So in order to never “miss out” or fall behind, offer your customers the platform to be able to review or provide you with feedback.
Whether its a newsletter, phone survey, contact us page or “Add feedback” email a month after a purchase, creating a means for customers to give feedback helps you understand what needs improvement and which part of your service is letting you down.
Feedback is a very important part to any customer satisfaction goals you may have so treat is a tool that helps you improve and analyse as much as you can all data extracted. Use it to identify your strong and weak points and work on improving them. Don’t be shy to demonstrate your changes for customers to appreciate your efforts to constantly improve.
Additionally, it also assists in keeping disgruntled customers from voicing their displeasure on highly visible places such as TripAdvisor or Social Media
Hold regular staff meetings & training
Last but not least, make sure to train all your staff to your high standards of service. Training your staff is extremely useful and effective not only from a business perspective, but also for employees within the business. It will increase job satisfaction, morale and motivation among employees and as we all know a happy workforce is a productive workforce.
Hold regular meetings as that will also help to get feedback from your staff whether that maybe regarding specific aspects of the service of perhaps areas they believe they are lacking experience or confidence. This will also help your staff feel more valued as you are spending time helping their professional progress and growth.
Conclusively, use all of the above and you will steadily see significant improvements in your customer service experience. Ideally, try to unify all of your customers service channels (email, live chat, social media, telephone, post, etc) into one inbox so as to be consistent, organised and have an easier task categorising your complaints and identifying where they come from.
Let me know if there are any others tips you consider crucial to ones customer service strategy or simply email me with any queries you may have.