Keep it clever
When it comes to running a business, there’s no point throwing some half decent products and services out there, then patting yourself on the back, putting your feet up with a cuppa and not giving a toss what happens next.
That’s brand suicide.
Yep, no two ways about it… customer service is crucial to business success.
And it doesn’t stop once a sale has been made.
After sales service can be the very thing that sets you apart from the competition.
Indeed, for a large number of consumers, it can be even more important than the product, service of price.
Get your customer service right, and you can not only deliver an emotive end-user experience which will help build loyalty, but can also attract new business.
If you’re looking to improve your customer service, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s not rocket science.
There are a lot of simple tweaks you can make.
For starters, you have to deliver what you promise. And keep your word to keep consumers satisfied.
Also, make sure your customer feedback management teams are really on the ball.
You need to listen – and respond – to customer complaints.
It really can be that easy.
Customers have standards. And expectations.
If you promise something, such as personal service or fast response or delivery times, you are setting up their expectations.
So, if you don’t deliver on said promises, people are going to be disappointed. (Or even mightily pissed off if you really screw up).
Therefore, it’s important to lead by example and make sure all staff members are delivering customer service at the expected level.
Don’t just expect them to know how they are supposed to deal with customers. Spell it out.
Open the lines of communication with internal teams and encourage them to offer feedback and suggestions.
Make sure your people have the right attitude. (Let’s face it… we’ve all come across staff members who are downright rude and seemingly couldn’t deliver quality customer service even if their life depended on it!)
Also, make sure you look at what you are promising your customers with regards to all elements of your sales and marketing.
Are you meeting or exceeding their expectations?
If you’re falling short, it’s time to take drastic action.
Can you get your products or services to the end-user within three or 4 days?
If so, brilliant. But, promise them that whatever they are waiting for will be with them in five to six days, or even a week.
You can then sit back in smug delight when you customer is delighted because you got it to them sooner. You over delivered.
Shout about and advertise your strengths and all the things that make consumers pleasantly surprised.
But don’t blow your own trumpet if the reality does not match your claims. You’ll lose business if you do that.
But if your end-users think you’re doing things right, there’s no stronger marketing message out there.
Go the extra mile
If your customer service is top notch, it really gets people talking.
And there’s no better recommendation than positive word of mouth from a satisfied consumer.
So, don’t just muddle along and tick all the boxes.
Instead, consider going the extra mile.
Yep, if you go above and beyond, end-users will be singing your praises to their friends so loudly that your ears will be burning.
And it doesn’t get much better than that.
So, what can you do to go that one step further?
Maybe you could call a customer to follow up on a sale.
If everything is ok, they’ll be pleased that you care.
But, even if something is amiss, by phoning them, you will be able to address the issue instantly and they will be delighted!
It’s also important to ensure you pay attention to detail.
Solve customer problems quickly and efficiently. Respond to emails and calls promptly.
Log customer service calls to ensure all team members can be up to speed on a consumer’s history at the click of a button.
Don’t complain about complaints
Sure, things can – and do – go wrong.
The crux is how you handle issues.
Get it wrong and you can lose business.
But get it right and you can actually increase customer loyalty.
It sounds kind of crazy, but you should actually embrace end-users that complain, as opposed to those that simply spit their dummy out and go elsewhere…
A ‘complainer’s’ valuable feedback can help you make improvements and costs you nothing other than your time.
And if you then go one step further from listening to actually resolving their complaint, and they could go on to become one of your brand’s biggest advocates.
Make sure you thank customers for their complaint. And be respectful and sympathetic (even if you think they’re being overly dramatic and you’d rather hurl abuse at them!)
And acting quickly is imperative. This shows you really are taking things seriously and reduces the amount of time that the consumers stews for.
Plus, ensure you have a system in place for handling complaints across all channels (the last thing you want is for someone to berate your business on social media, only for you to not spot it for weeks!)
And know your customers and what they want. Ask them what sort of resolution would work for them.
Sometimes, it may be enough just to say sorry.
Whatever it takes, just make sure you smooth the waters.
The customer is always right, even when they’re wrong!