Having great customer service is an important part of running a successful business. Good customer service can be an easy way to convert one time customers into lifetime buyers, and also to get them to tell their friends about your business. Even if you feel that your business already has a good customer service program, there are still probably a couple of small changes that you can make to take it to the next level. To help you reach this goal, here are seven tips to help you improve your customer service and grow your business as a result.
1. Practice Active Listening
The easiest way to make a customer feel like they’re heard and their complaint is understood is to practice active listening. After a customer says something or voices an opinion, put it into your own words and repeat it back to them. This achieves two things. It ensures that you understand the problem clearly which helps you to quickly fix it. Another advantage is that it gives the customer the impression that you’ve heard what they’ve said and you’re on their side. Active listening can be a breath of fresh air for customers who are used to dealing with customer service representatives who try to get them off of the phone as soon as possible, instead of actually addressing their needs.
2. Follow Up on the Problem After You’ve Fixed It
A great way to stand out from the crowd is to follow up on a problem after you’ve taken care of it. That can be as simple as sending out an automated satisfaction survey to a customer’s email address, or even writing them a short, personalized email asking if there is anything else that you can do for them. This follow up is something that few businesses offer, and it can go a long way in making you stand out as a company with outstanding customer service.
3. To Improve Customer Service, Improve Employee Satisfaction
Numerous studies have shown that if an employee is not satisfied with their work or their employer, then they’re going to offer sub-par customer service. On the other hand, employees who are satisfied with their work and like their employer are the most likely to offer the best customer service. To improve employee satisfaction, consider instituting an anonymous suggestion box, or creating a program where employees can submit feedback freely without fearing for their job safety. By satisfying your employees you can ensure that they consistently provide the best customer service to all of your important customers.
4. Give Customers a Chance to Submit Feedback
Customer feedback is the best free tool that you have to improve your organization’s level of customer service. If you give a customer a chance to submit feedback to you when they have a problem with a representative, they’ll often do so. This can help you to identify problem areas and fix before they create any other complications. However, as you’re probably already aware, customers are significantly more likely to submit feedback to you when they’ve had a negative experience, versus when they’ve had a very positive one. To combat this you may want to give much more weight to all positive feedback received, or to offer an incentive to customers to submit feedback so that you get a more balanced idea of the experience that your customers are actually having with your representatives.
5. Cater to Your Customers
You may have a great customer service department, but if your customers don’t have a chance to talk to them they’ll never get to experience that. To cater to all of your customers you should consider opening earlier and closing later. This will make it easier for customers from different time zones to get a hold of you. Another great option is to offer Skype calling so that anyone who wants to contact you from a different country can.
6. Look for Common Ground With Your Customers
People tend to like other people who are similar to them, and you can use this to your advantage even if it’s just with a ten minute phone call. If your customer service representatives can find something in common with a customer, the customer is far more likely to relate to them and have a positive experience on the phone. Even though a customer service representative is talking to someone that they don’t know, there are still quite a few chances for them to relate to a customer. Sports, talking about common experiences with the product, and music are all a chance to share a common interest.
7. Be Willing to Admit Mistakes and Lack of Knowledge
Quickly admitting a mistake and telling a customer how you’re going to fix it is the best strategy for dealing with problems quickly and efficiently. By admitting a mistake right from the beginning you reduce the chance that a customer will get emotionally involved with it and have any more negative thoughts about your business than they may already have. Another idea that fits into the same area is admitting when you don’t have an answer. Sometimes a customer will ask you a question that you cannot answer. It’s tempting to guess, but the better solution is to admit you don’t know, and then tell the customer how you’re going to go about finding the answer. This will make you appear far more credible than if you had guessed the wrong answer and a customer had found out about it later on.
These seven tips can all be used to improve your company’s customer service strategy and offer the best level of service possible. However, you shouldn’t just implement them once and consider the problem solved. It’s important to continually instill these ideas into your customer service department until they’re part of the culture. That way when a new member joins the team they’ll quickly pick up on the positive habits of other representatives and they’ll be offering outstanding customer service in no time. Don’t waste another day, start making the best impression on your customers today!