They’re the reason you’re in business, and if you play your cards right, they’re the reason you’re successful. Customers are and should be the beginning, middle, and end of everything your business does.
The trouble is that every customer is different, making customer service a tricky thing. There’s no one-size fits all solution to every problem brought to your door or phone. That said, there are practices you can put into place that can increase your successful customer service interactions.
One Call, One Person
How often has this happened: You spend a good twenty minutes waiting on the phone for your call to be handled. Then, once you finally reach a human, another good five-to-ten minutes are spent explaining the reason for your call…only for the call to be transferred because the person you reached only handles X types of calls. It’s frustrating, to say the least, and doesn’t do much for customer loyalty.
Make your business stand out by changing the model. Train your customer care employees in all aspects of the business so they can each personally take care of any calls they get. This means every customer has one person handling their case from start to finish. It allows them to build trust with an individual and does away with the annoyance borne of bouncing around departments.
Put On the Customer’s Shoes
On that note, what does it actually feel like to be your customer? Take the time to go through the process of calling your customer service desk with an issue and experience the process your customers get. You might be surprised at how many wasted steps there are in your chain, or how long different tasks take. Use that first-hand knowledge to revolutionize how service is handled.
As you make changes going forward, keep testing the lines to see how improvements can be perceived on the other end. Continually ask: If I had to interact with this kind of service, would I want to do business with myself again?
Always Exceed Expectations
Rarely do people take to social media to brag about the business that simply answers their customer service call or routinely resolves an issue. It’s when a customer service employee goes above and beyond that really makes waves.
Make it a priority to exceed customer expectations. Start with the basics of empathy and active listening. People appreciate knowing that you actually care about their problem. Validate what they’re feeling. Responds to what they say with clarifying statements.
And if there’s something within your power to do that goes a little extra, do it. This could be a simple as letting them know about a discount coupon they would not have used otherwise, or sending a handwritten note with a replacement product. Small gestures like these can create lifelong loyalty.
Put Feedback to Work
Feedback comes in many forms, from customer surveys to hashtagged Tweets to voicemails. Much of the feedback received is either filtered out or tabulated to get a bigger picture of any large issues.
Feedback can also inform your process going forward. Every time you get feedback, think, “What can I do, concretely, to make this better?” Turn feedback into actionable steps your business can take to improve customer care.
It all runs right back to the customer, as it should. So be it through empathy, exceeding expectations, experiencing the customer’s experience, or putting what they want into action–or all of the above–taking steps to strengthen customer service will strengthen you and your business as a whole.
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This has been a JBF Business Media production.