Every business is different, but there is one thing that ties them together: keeping customers happy. Happy customers lead to customers for life who refer their friends and colleagues. Providing excellent customer service starts with a genuine desire to delight your customers. To get there, you need to think beyond selling. You have to consider the whole customer experience from the first time they visit your website, what they think and feel and how you can improve their experience from the start.
Why do you need good customer service?
Increases Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is of utmost importance in the competitive market today. Word of mouth is always the best form of advertising. Keeping your customers happy is essential for those recommendations.
Improves Your Product
Every business has areas that they can improve on. Sometimes those areas are hard to detect, especially if you have been with one company for a long period of time. Your customers are a great source of information about improving your business. Ask for their feedback and listen to what they have to say. Not every suggestion will be worth putting into practice, but you will find some that are important for your company to hear and put into practice.
Humanizes Your Company
The way that most companies are structured these days it’s easy to lose contact with people. A lot of processes are automated for ease of use and efficiency, but customer service sometimes gets lost. A great way to keep that contact going is to pick up the phone from time to time, rather than sending an email or a text message. Make sure the customer knows the face behind the company logo.
As you can see, there are several reasons why customer service is extremely important. How do you provide this kind of customer service though?
What are the keys to making it an everyday practice in your company?
- Actively Listen - The most important key to excellent customer service is listening to your customers. Take a minute to provide them with your full attention. Listen to hear their problem, not just to respond. This may take a few minutes out of your already tight schedule, but it is important to make sure the customer feels heard and knows that you care.
- Be Open and Honest - Open communication with customers and employees is important to customer service as well. Sharing information among your team members will ensure that problems get solved more efficiently in the future. Talk to your customers about how they are doing. Ask them about their experience and ways that you might be able to improve it. The happier they are the more likely they are to recommend you to their network.
- Train Your Employees - Provide training to give employees the tools they need to ensure that your customers have the best experience every time they interact. Setting your employees up for success from the start is important, especially where software is involved. Also, providing refresher courses for more seasoned employees will help to alleviate bad habits and make sure that they are using the software most efficiently.
- Be Responsive - There is nothing worse than non-responsiveness to a customer who is trying to get help, especially when they have a problem or have had a negative experience with one of your employees. It is crucial for your business to connect with customers and resolve their concerns as quickly as possible. Provide multiple ways for customers to contact you as well including office phone, cell phone and email. Not all business can provide 24-hour service, especially busy contractors. It is important to excellent customer service to let customers know this up front. Set expectations for timely response and follow through with those promises. If your website says you will respond within one business day, make sure that is a promise that you can fulfill continually.
Providing great customer service takes a bit of effort from the start. It’s more than just a friendly smile and a handshake. However, when you can pull together all of the elements needed, you will see the benefits from happy customers and referrals to keep your business running profitably.