Good customer service needs to be a benchmark for your brand as it is a huge part of the reason people will return and use you again and again. Customers like to have a pleasant experience and if you invest the time in ensuring your business provides it, you’ll have a much better chance at ensuring they return and use you again in the future.
1. Make it easy
Whether its setting up an instant online chat option, providing a phone number or responsive email address, make sure your customers can contact you to let you know they have a beef with something. No matter how smooth your logistics are planned, unforeseen problems can occur and you need to be able to fix these promptly and pleasantly. People are forgiving, particularly when presented with a simple solution.
2. Know Your Service
There is very little more frustrating than trying to describe a product or service to someone who hasn’t got a clue what you’re talking about. Make sure you know your business and what it provides inside out so you can knowledgeably handle any call or complaint that comes in. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many companies neglect this detail and come across as incompetent when it comes to their own services.
Related reading: 3 tips for using technology for better customer service
3. Friendliness Matters
The first thing a customer will want is to get their point across, so you need to be sure you’re listening. Don’t rush them to get to the point, but take the time to let them finish. They’ll be much more reasonable about your suggested solution if they feel they have been heard to begin with.
Maintaining a non-confrontational, patient approach is one of your most valuable customer service tools. People want someone to blame when something goes wrong and sometimes this will be you. If you handle it with gentle language, respect, and a friendly demeanour, it can turn them around. It’s incredibly hard to continue yelling at someone who is being placid and understanding about your problem. They might even brighten up and end up thanking you at the end of it. They’ll remember that the next time around, and hopefully, will use you again knowing that if something goes wrong, they’ll have a pleasant experience making it right.
4. Provide A Consistent Experience
Nothing irks a client more than inconsistencies in how their account is managed, whether this is in the sale of goods or supply of services. According to a McKinsey article, sustaining the long-term commitment of a client boils down to maintaining consistency in three different categories: customer-journey consistency, emotional consistency and communication consistency.
One way to ensure consistency when managing client accounts is to have clear workflows and processes, especially in the areas of payments and finances. Ensure you have in place the key legal documents that outline your payment practices, including the following:
Businesses often do not pay enough attention to these critical documents as they regard payment transactions as mere formalities that are not central to the customer experience. However, there may be detrimental consequences if such processes are inconsistent and the documents not well-drafted. You (and your sales force) should have the same answer to answer these questions:
- What payment options do your company accept?
- Is there any option to make payments in instalments?
- Are there discounts for bulk purchases?
These are questions that may be on the mind of your customers. Having standardised documents and systems in place ensures that both you and your clients know what to expect.
5. Get Feedback
People often like to voice their opinions and if you ask them how you did at handling their problem, they may give you some hints at how you could improve the next time and will also feel like you really care what they think. This is a very positive way to end a conversation, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or on email, and will leave your customer on a pleasant note that may lead to beneficial word of mouth to one of their friends, who could become your next customer.
6. Train Your Staff
Make sure every member of your staff knows your policy on customer service and employs the above techniques. Have them listen to you deal with calls or copy them in on emails so they can continue to learn how to handle different situations. It can make all the difference in the success of your entire business if you can entice repeat customers based on your handling of problems when they arise.