The quality of your product or services is not the only determining factor why customers will continue doing business with you. There’s another equally crucial aspect to customer experience that you need to prioritize. That’s no less than customer service.
Do customer service right and you’re bound to get repeat transactions from clients. You might even enjoy referrals and word-of-mouth popularity among your target audience. Do it dismally and expect your sales to drop. Expect your products and services, no matter how promising, to be ignored.
To avoid the latter, there are strategies you must practice. Here are some of them.
1. Always be ready with answers
Customers want to know as much as they can about a product or service before parting with their hard-earned money. Hence, they ask questions. Your job is to provide them with the answers they need. These answers should be consistent. If the answers changed, you must be ready to provide the whys and show proof if necessary.
For example, if you have recently migrated websites and a customer asks about obsolete information from your previous websites, you must be able to backtrack your archived websites, if only to understand where the customer is coming from. That right there is going out of your way to satisfy a confused client.
2. Make your employees happy and satisfied
You cannot give top-notch customer service if your team consists of miserable individuals. If that’s the case, chances are your customers are often welcomed by unfriendly faces that talk in a tone of voice that won’t do your business any good.
To ensure that your customers are happy, keep your employees happy too. Give them the salary packages they deserve. Offer job perks and privileges. Encourage work-life balance. Do whatever is in your power to keep your employees smiling genuinely whenever they’re at work.
3. Standardize customer service
You cannot wing customer service. You must have a fixed system in place. And it should be written down. That way everyone in your team is on the same page. Once you have standardized customer service, it’s easier to ask for accountability from your employees. After all, they know exactly what’s expected of them. Your customers will know what to expect from your business too.
4. Personalize customer service
Just because you’ve standardized your customer service does not mean your staff should deal with your clients like robots dealing with robots. Customers are different from each other. What works for one customer might not always work for another. Sure you’ve placed your ideal service time at no more than five minutes per customer as part of your standardized process but that does not mean you can’t do something extra to make a specific customer feel valued.
For instance, you can encourage your staff to chat with a customer who’s always up for some banter based on previous encounters. The goal is to make customer experience feel like there’s a genuine human connection that has transpired throughout an otherwise purely financial transaction.
5. Do not overpromise
Manage your customers’ expectations. Do not promise them things you can’t fulfill. Consider a customer who returns a product for replacement. If you cannot complete the process within 24 hours, don’t promise the customer that’s what you’ll pull off. Set a timeframe that’s feasible. If you can, surprise the customer by doing better than what you’ve promised.
6. Outsource if you can
You have the resources to let other people manage your customer service. That’s a route worth taking. Do not be discouraged by naysayers that believe customer service should be handled in-house. There are organizations out there that can provide you with their expertise in the matter. Maximize what they have to offer.
Now that you know what the best practices in customer service are, it pays to also keep abreast of the common pitfalls to avoid. For instance, insisting on following company policy instead of letting the customer have their way.
Consider this scenario. A customer wants to take more than five dresses to the fitting room because they are in a hurry. Company policy only allows three at a time. You can argue your point, extend your encounter with this customer, and delay sales. Alternatively, you can give the customer a leeway and make the situation pleasant for everyone.
Keep in mind that while the customers can’t always be right, your job is to ensure that they think they are. And that you’re on the same page. Once you’ve built this kind of rapport with a customer, chances are they’ll keep coming back.