Build Your Business with Better Customer Service
If you want to maintain your customer base and grow your business, delivering good customer service is essential. Too many companies make the mistake of neglecting customer support when they’re focusing on core business areas and this can cost them dearly in the long-term.
Many consumers claim they would pay extra if they were guaranteed good service, which highlights just how important good customer support is. In fact, in a crowded marketplace, exceptional customer service can help you to stand out from the crowd and outshine your competitors.
If you want to ensure your customer support hits the mark every time, take a look at how you can build your business with better customer service…
Customers can interact with your business in more ways than ever before. However, this doesn’t mean it’s always easy for customers to do so. While automation can enhance many areas of your business, there are times when a human touch is necessary.
When customers have an issue, it’s important they can get in touch with you quickly, easily and conveniently. Having a phone line which is only manned during office hours won’t enable you to deliver the level of service that customers expect.
Instead, you’ll need to adopt a multi-channel approach to customer service. As well as facilitating telephone communication, consider having a dedicated email address for customer support, in addition to live chat options and social media support profiles.
Ensure a Fast Response
Regardless of whether a customer contacts you by phone, email, live chat, social media or any other options you make available, make sure they get a prompt response. For emails, you can use automated software to acknowledge receipt of their interaction, but you’ll need to follow this up with a real resolution swiftly.
Similarly, you won’t want to leave customers waiting on hold for long periods of time as they wait to get through to a customer service representative. If callers are routinely waiting for more than five minutes to speak to someone, you’ll need to consider expanding your service department. In the meantime, offer a callback facility so that customers aren’t forced to wait until an assistant is available.
The internet has enabled us to access products and services instantaneously and customers expect everything to be delivered quickly, including support. Depending on the nature of your business, some issues may take time to resolve. Typically, customers will be understanding, providing you give them a timeline and update them regularly. While you may not be able to resolve the problem straight away, you can ensure you deliver superior service by keeping your customers updated and letting them know what you’re going to solve the issue.
Introduce Customer Service Training
There’s nothing more irritating for customers than being told different things by different members of staff. In most circumstances, this isn’t the individual staff member’s fault, but they’ll bear the brunt of the customer’s frustrations.
You can avoid this by implementing companywide training when it comes to customer service and support. If all staff members are aware of your internal policies, you can be sure that they’re delivering the right message to your clients or customers.
However, it isn’t just the information they’re relaying that you need to focus on. Training staff in customer service means teaching them how to deal with frustrated customers and how to resolve difficult situations. When a staff member is able to diffuse a situation and rectify an issue, it leaves the customer feeling satisfied and well-treated.
What’s more, a complaint that’s dealt with well can ensure that the brand’s relationship with the customer is maintained. Rather than telling people about the issue they encountered, they’re more likely to tell people about the great service they received. By training your staff well, you can actually increase customer lifecycle value and gain positive PR from a potentially disastrous situation.
Customer relationship management
In some cases, an issue will need to be escalated or passed on to a different member of staff so that it can be dealt with effectively. However, no customer wants to have to repeat their story to numerous different people before it’s resolved. Worse still, you don’t want staff members to have different versions of what’s happened or what the issue is.
Customer relationship management enables your staff to engage with customers based on the company’s last interaction with them. With internal reporting, for example, a staff member can report every interaction they have with a customer. When the next staff member engages with them, they can simply read the notes and pick up where the other member of staff left off.
CRM software is a fantastic way of collating customer details and gives you the option to record a wide variety of customer data, including their brand interactions. With the opportunity to gather information throughout the customer’s lifecycle, you can resolve issues more quickly and more effectively, as well as making your brand engagement infinitely more meaningful.
Managing staff in the field
Customer service isn’t just delivered in-store, on-site or remotely. If your business employs field staff, then they’re going to be interacting with clients and customers in a variety of different environments. Of course, it isn’t possible to have a supervisor to oversee every customer interaction when field staff are at work. Instead, you’ll need to find effective and innovative ways to manage field-based staff and ensure a superior level of customer service is always delivered.
To ensure field staff can offer a high level of customer support, it’s essential to give them the right tools. With field service management software, you can ensure your field staff can access the data they need to interact with customers effectively. Cloud services are a great way to ensure that field staff can access the same level of information that office or store-based staff can, so be sure to make the most of it.
Furthermore, managing your field staff more effectively will enable you to deliver a better service as a company. If you’re relying on field staff to deliver customer support, you’ll want to ensure they can get to your customer or client as quickly as possible. Maintenance firms may need to send a plumber or electrician to a customer’s location in order to resolve an issue, for example. If so, dedicated software can enable you to trace field staff with the appropriate skill level and assign them the job.
With the ability to update, modify and generate customer service requirements in real-time, effective field staff management enables your business to deliver stand-out customer service and support.
Incentivize Your Employees
To deliver great customer support, your employees really need to care about your business and your customer base. If employees are disinterested or demotivated, they simply won’t be bothered if a customer is unhappy or if their conduct makes the brand looks bad. In fact, they won’t really mind if you lose a customer to a competitor.
When staff are unhappy at work, it shows in their interactions with customers and clients. Ultimately, this leads to a poor level of customer service, which naturally impacts on the financial performance of the business.
To ensure your employees are committed to the company and dedicated to serving your customers, it’s important to incentivize them. Treating your employees well doesn’t need to be complicated or convoluted. You simply need to provide a good working environment, worthwhile incentives and let employees know how much you appreciate them.
Internal competitions can be an effective way to encourage employees to up their game, so why not reward top-performing staff with vouchers, celebratory meals or even an extra day off? If you’re keen to foster a more collaborative working environment, internal competitions based on teams can be a great way to encourage staff to work together.
If your company cares about the brand, they’ll care about your customers too. By making the workplace a happy place to be and ensuring the company is good to work for, you can cultivate an engaging, compassionate and motivated workforce. As well as enabling you to deliver better customer service, this will shine through in every area of the business.
Making Great Customer Service Your USP
Every business should have a USP or unique selling proposition. This is something which only you offer, and which makes customers choose your firm over your competitors. While a bespoke product can act as your USP, this isn’t an option for most companies. If you’re a retailer, for example, you may offer the same products as other retailers, so your goods can’t be your USP.
However, your approach to customer service can act as your USP. When your brand is associated with superior customer care, great levels of service and quick resolutions to issues, you’ll find your market share increases accordingly.
As more and more customers place an emphasis on the level of service they receive, businesses that respond to demands for better, faster and more effective customer support will be the companies that continue to thrive.