The needs of the modern customer aren’t satiated by merely the provision of a high-quality product or service, they also want to be treated with the utmost respect, care and attention, whenever they get in touch with a company. “Word of mouth” marketing can really benefit any business, and its true effectiveness is realised by companies that accept the true vitality of customer service. If a customer loves the way you treat them, not only are they likely to come back for another purchase, but they are also going to mention you to their friends and family looking for recommendations. Esteban Kolsky claims that 72% of customers will share their positive experiences with 6 or more people; whereas around 13% of unsatisfied customers will talk about the unpleasant incident with 15 or more people.
Engaging and helpful customer service can often provide businesses with a strong competitive advantage over its counterparts. By increasing the levels of customer satisfaction and retention, the customer service department helps a company in maintaining positive cash flows. In this article, we mention some of the tips that can help any business in improving its customer service:
1. Being fast is as important as being right
The customer doesn’t care if you have a user-base of billions; to them, their call is the most important and time-sensitive. Even though it can sometimes be impossible to answer every customer immediately, that’s the type of efficiency a company should aspire to achieve. According to HelpScout, 41% of consumers expect a response to their email within 6 hours, and only 36% of retailers manage to do so.
When a customer receives a response within the ideal timeframe, they start believing that your company cares for them and it paves the way for a healthy, long-term business relationship.
2. Personalize the experience; know your customer
The more you know about the needs and wants of your customer, the better your engagement with them will be. Modern CRMs provide the ability to store supplementary information against every customer which can help sales agents have meaningful, friendly conversations with the customers. For example, if a customer mentioned that their dog Lucy was sick, the last time they called, you can store that in the CRM and ask about Lucy’s health the next time you meet or talk to them. By creating personalised experiences, a company can cement its place in the hearts of its clientele.
3. Show empathy and be an active listener
Sometimes, a customer service agent just wants the call to be over with; they end up listening less and speaking more. However, to understand the customer’s needs astutely and to ensure that you have completely satisfied them, it’s important that you practice the art of active listening. First of all, you should ask questions of them if you are unclear about anything; if they start having a casual conversation, reflecting on feelings and showing empathy can go a long way in indicating that you are being attentive (e.g. phrases like “That must have been tough” and “You do seem pretty thrilled about this wedding”). Lastly, it’s also important that you end the conversation by asking them whether all their queries have been answered or problems resolved.
4. Learn to say “I don’t know”
A good customer service agent knows that it’s okay to say “I don’t know”. Sometimes, you might be tempted to conjure up a story regarding something you are not sure about, but it’s not the right way to go about it. If you are unsure about an issue or a process or anything else, just admit it to the customer and tell them that you will get back to them once you know more.
5. Make use of professional and positive language
Usage of positive language is an essential tenet of an engaging customer service experience. By slightly changing your words, you can avoid drastic repercussions. For example, a customer’s product got lost in shipment, and you need to resend it to them, adding 3-4 extra days to the delivery time. Consider the following two sentences:
Negative language: Your product will not reach you for another 3-4 days. It got lost in transit.
Positive language: The product will reach you within the next 3-4 days, and it has already been dispatched from our warehouse.
6. Realize your mistakes and prevent their repetition
The true importance of customer service is realized by companies that are ready to accept their mistakes and rectify them. Instead of hiding your mistakes, it’s more professional and reassuring of your honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness that you agree that you were in the wrong and are taking steps to right the wrong.
This counterintuitive approach is important in a company’s bid to provide excellent customer service, and it goes against the historical notion of branding to promote a flawless of perfection. In the modern age, customers want authenticity and transparency.
7. Go the extra mile (or two)
When it comes to customer service, being complacent and doing the bare minimum is never enough. If a customer asks you where they can find a product, don’t just give them directions, but take them there. If they had a reservation regarding your store which you ended up clearing, send them a follow-up to see if they are satisfied with their experience now. By walking the extra mile, you make the customer feel it in their heart that they are loved.
8. Keep the whole company informed and involved
Providing good customer service is not just the job of the support department, and hence the entire company should be involved in the effort. This ensures that everyone in the workforce feels the pain (and the love) of the customer. You might want to keep your development team segregated from the customer interactions (with them being expensive resources) but how are the developers going to realise the problems faced by the actual users of their applications if they aren’t kept in the loop?
The importance of customer service is realized by companies that believe in building long-lasting, healthy relationships with their customers. Not only does good customer service help with customer retention, it also helps in the acquisition of new customers by word of mouth marketing. By showing customers that they matter and by listening to their concerns with attention, you build a strong brand reputation and ensure that your customers always remain satisfied. An engaging customer experience can lead to a happy customer; happy customers mean more sales and more sales mean better revenue streams.