Here’s the deal: no one wants to have to deal with customer service. Ever. This means that there is an issue with our order, the product is broken, or we can’t find the answer to our question. Long story short, tensions are running a bit high.
Bad customer service is no laughing matter. Many customers call and answer a few questions, only to find out they’re speaking to the wrong person, and then gets passed off to someone else. The more people a client has to speak with to get a resolution, the worse the experience becomes. If left unchecked, bad (or perceived bad) service can kill your business’ reputation & devastate your bottom line. But it’s also an opportunity for your team to differentiate your business from your competition by making it known that you can be counted on to make it right for your customers.
Today, your business can flourish or not by how you approach customer engagement. As the main points of contact with your business, it starts with killer customer service. The secret to a loyal customer base is really no secret: great customer service will bring them back every time!
Here are six key components for providing outstanding service, and your team needs to be great in each and every one of them!
Having a Quality Product or Service
Do you want to buy or be served junk? Of course not! So why would you ever do that to the customers who support your livelihood? The best way to reduce customer complaints is to provide high-quality products and services.
When someone contacts you, capture the issue and notify all internal and external parties who need to know. If it’s possibly a big issue that will impact your customers, be proactive and email them a note that you’re aware of the problem and are working to correct it. People will appreciate that you owned up to your limitations and feel comforted that you have a plan of action already in place.
Communicate With Them Where They Are
The biggest change in customer service is the sheer number of channels through which people can contact your business. Instead of just phone calls and snail mail, consumers can now reach you by email, social media, text message, video call and live chat. Mobile technology has also enabled constant connectivity, giving customers 24/7 access to public forums in which they can talk — or complain — about your company.
It’s looking like the trend toward social as the future of customer service is going to continue, but the most important thing you can do is communicate with your customers on the channels they prefer. This means if they post on your Facebook or Twitter then keep the conversation there as long as you can. If they call and leave a voicemail, then call them back. You get the picture.
Time is Not on Your Side
Consumers are not patient, especially if they have a problem. If you can’t deliver what customers want when they want it, they’ll move on rather than waste their time. They will not wait around for you to get your act together and reply. They expect you to get back to them very quickly even if that’s just to acknowledge you saw their message and you’re working on it. If you take this approach however set a time that you will follow up so they (and everyone else watching) can hold you accountable.
Every time. I highly recommend you invest in the few moments it takes to send a follow up email, phone call, or even text. This will help you proactively offer service and go above and beyond with your clients. Some examples:
- send an email as soon as you get off the phone so the customer has a record of your next steps
- contact them a few days or a week later to check in and see how things are going. Bonus points if you can have it come from the original representative they spoke with.
The only thing worse than no reply from your business is a canned response. Customers appreciate the care, attention, and a more tailored approach; they tend to resent it—publicly—if it’s not in evidence.
Although generic responses make for quick replies, they also if left unedited make it look like you’re not fully listening to the client. To the customer, it seems that you cared more about getting their email out of your service queue than actually caring about their issue.
Customers who feel cared for will continue to use your product or service. Ultimately, they will become brand advocates who recommend you via word of mouth, both online and off.
Cut the Scripts
Create a service team that wants to provide genuine, useful, unscripted service. Give them the autonomy to do what needs to be done to make the customer happy. Why have them take valuable time to get the ok from a manager to do something creative to resolve an issue? It’s likely that’s going to end up being the action that you take anyway.
If you’re still offering that kind of service, you are disempowering your employees and frustrating your customers. This can lead to not only lost buyers but also higher rates of employee turnover.
Customers are in control — and it’s going to stay that way. Customers now are empowered by the ability to blast your brand at even the smallest of slights on Yelp, YouTube, and Facebook.
Charisma Communications can help you create a proactive plan of action to build and retain a killer customer service team. Contact Corin Harmon today!