How To: Ensure Your Business Provides Excellent Customer Service
Customer service is essential to the success of just about every business. It extends beyond the point at which your team interacts with the public to promote the merits of your services or products. In other words, customer service continues past the point of the sale. Ideally, you will stay in contact with your customer base after purchases are made to keep your business and its services/products fresh in the minds of those most likely to fork over their hard-earned money for your value offering. Let’s take a quick look at the value of elite customer service and what your business can do to provide unparalleled service that leads to that many more sales across posterity.
Build Relationships With Customers
The best customer service is centered on relationships. It is not enough to provide your customers with a value offering at one point in time only to neglect them as time progresses. Just like every other relationship, these relationships require work, time, effort, and patience. Make a concerted effort to stay in contact with your customers after the sale is made, and they will think of your business in a positive light.
Even something as simple as sending a company newsletter via email or a thank you note by snail mail has the potential to impress a customer to the point that it keeps him or her in the fold as a loyal customer across posterity. In other words, businesses that go out of their way to make their customers happy are likely to receive that customer’s money in the form of purchases in the weeks, months, and years to come.
It is Cheaper to Retain Current Customers Than Recruit new Customers
Successful business professionals are well aware of the fact that it costs a bundle of money to acquire customers. Alternatively, it is comparably cheap to retain customers. This is precisely why customer service is so important. If your business has not gone out of its way to prioritize customer service, now is the time to do so. Provide customers with what they desire, meet their demands in a timely manner, exceed their expectations, and they will spread the word about your top-notch customer support. All it takes is making a positive impact on a single “influencer” to spread the word about your business on social media, by word of mouth and through other avenues. However, once you set high expectations for your customer service, the challenge is in meeting those expectations in a consistent manner as time progresses.
Recognize the Fragility of Your Relationship With Customers
The moral of this story is customer service is of the utmost importance. It merely takes one negative experience from an individual with an expansive social, professional, or personal circle to spread the word about your allegedly disappointing business practices, service, product, etc. If your customers have a negative interaction with your employees, product, or service, they will be that much more likely to speak negatively about your business. They will do it when interacting with others, posting on the many different social media platforms available on the web and leaving feedback on online review directories.
Sadly, customers who are pleased with your customer service are not as quick to post positive reviews or spread the word in other manners. Even if your business provides top-notch customer support 99% of the time, the 1% of the time when you disappoint your customers just might be enough to create the perception that your company is not friendly to its clientele.
Abide by the Golden Rule
When it comes to customer service, the most important thing you can do is follow the golden rule. In other words, treat your customers as you would like to be treated. Be sure to train your team to adhere to this customer-first mentality at all times. Though it is difficult to view things from an alternative perspective, doing so is absolutely essential to your company’s customer service.
The operative word in customer service is service. Team members who interact with the buying public are servants of sorts. These professionals must be empathetic to customer pain points, needs, and concerns. The golden rule applies to both offline and online interactions. Even the web-based service offered on your company’s homepage matters a great deal. Fail to abide by the golden rule, and your team will not be able to provide exemplary service that solves the problem in question, provides customers with the necessary support, and ultimately keeps them in the fold as loyal customers in the years to follow.
Time is of the Essence
Timeliness is an essential component of customer service. Customers detest waiting for anything, be it a product, a service, or another value offering. Respond to customer questions, concerns, and needs in a timely manner, and they will be that much more likely to recognize the merits of your business. Timely service dramatically enhances the chances of customers returning for additional purchases, spreading the word about the merits of your value offering, and ultimately recommending your company to others in need of your product/service.
Alternatively, if your customer service is slow or inconsistent, your customers will be that much less likely to return for additional purchases. After all, time is money. The best customer service teams recognize this fact and provide exemplary service without delay, so they do not run the risk of wasting customers’ time.
Hire the Right People for Your Team
Piecing together the puzzle of customer service involves pinpointing individuals most likely to excel in public-facing roles. Some people are simply not cut out to work in these roles. Be careful when selecting individuals to interact with your customers, whether it is over the phone, face-to-face on the sales floor, or even through live chats on your website or one of the many social media channels. Choose people who genuinely enjoy interacting with others, and they will be that much more inclined to provide flawless customer support that keeps your clientele coming back for more.
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