Good customer service requires focus on your customers and employees.
Times are changing rapidly, but the fundamentals of delivering exemplary customer service have remained the same. The customer is still always right, and amazing customer service is the lifeline of each and every business, regardless of the industry. So, what does providing good customer service look like? It starts with creating a culture that your employees can get behind, and rely on, to deliver a unique experience for each and every customer. The following are a few other customer service best practices to focus on in order to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
1. Be accessible
And not just during “hours of operation.” In today’s technology-driven world, customers want to be able to reach a business regardless of the day or time of day. Have a system set up where there is always someone available to answer questions or concerns – whether it’s through email, social media, or over the phone. And above all, if you’re going to have these communication channels available, be sure you have people on staff at all times to respond to customers in a timely manner. If you provide several different contact points but don’t have the staff in place to maintain these channels, you could inadvertently cause your customer service to decline.
2. Ask their opinion
Outside of the ownership and employees, nobody knows your business more than your customers. Request their feedback from time to time to find out how you’re doing, what makes them stay customers, and what they’d like to see improvements on. This creates open lines of communication with your customers, and lets them know you are always looking for ways to improve their customer experience. This extends beyond a “Contact Us” button on your website. Include surveys in your email communications, or reward them with coupons for providing feedback. Even if the responses are negative, you will be strengthening the relationship with the customer and improving your business at the same time.
3. Say “thank you”
It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked. With every “thank you,” you are letting your customer know that you appreciate their business and don’t take it for granted. These thank yous can be conveyed with a follow-up email after a purchase, a handwritten card in the mail, or even on an advertisement. But be sure each “thank you” is genuine and sincere, rather than feeling forced or mandated. This stems from every employee having as much buy-in for growing your business as you do. Which leads us to our next tip –
4. Treat your employees like customers
If you want your employees to treat your customers well, you must treat your employees the same way. Employees are happier when they feel appreciated and part of the team. Of course, not every business is able to reward their employees with competitive salaries and benefits, but they don’t always have to. Genuine interest in your employees and extending small tokens of appreciation can sometimes be more effective than a raise (though a raise never hurts). Decorating their office on a birthday or work anniversary, remembering their child’s birthday, or throwing an office party to celebrate a productive month are all ways to show your employees that you care about them as much as you care about your customers. Delivering an excellent customer experience starts with motivated and engaged employees. You should think about your employees as much (if not more) as you think about improving your customer experience.
We all know customers have more choices than ever before for just about every product or service they want. Amazing customer service is at the heart of distinguishing your brand from others, so don’t make it an afterthought. You’ll be rewarded by customers who don’t just buy your product, but who are fierce advocates that will help you grow your business.