Customer service is vital to the success of a company in any industry. Poor customer service can lead to lost customers, low levels of customer loyalty, and bad publicity. Unhappy customers tend to talk, whether to their friends and family members or in the form of online reviews.
No matter how you look at it, customer service should be one of your top priorities as a business owner or manager.
Improve Response Times
In today’s digital world, people expect to receive a response quicker than ever before. One of the key factors in providing excellent customer service is responding nearly instantaneously, even if only just to say “we have received your request and will get back to you”.as you can. If the issue is time-sensitive, the urgency should increase. According to a study performed in 2011, the average response time for an email is 17 hours.
A more recent study found that the average response time decreased to just over 12 hours. That study also found that 62 percent of companies don’t respond to customer service emails, and 97 percent of companies don’t send any follow-up email to make sure customers are satisfied with the service they received.
What about calls? Likewise, giving your customers “I’m sorry, but our office is currently closed” or even unanswered calls isn’t helping you to win them. You want to be there for your customers 24/7. Fortunately, there is a way: Outsourcing to a telephone answering service can boost your customer service response time by tenfold. No more putting your customers on hold!
If you can reduce the amount of time it takes to respond to your customers, you can improve satisfaction rates. Following up with customers afterward can also help resolve issues and build loyalty.
Go the Extra Mile
It’s also important to make your customers feel valued, and you can do this by going the extra mile to ensure their needs are met. A handwritten thank-you note can go a long way in making a customer feel like you appreciate them and their business. Gratitude sticks in the minds of people long after the sale, helping to remind customers why they chose to shop at your store or purchase from your company.
Know Your Service or Product
When customers have questions, your team members should know the products well enough to answer them quickly and confidently. Invest in training your employees who are responsible for handling customer inquiries to make sure everyone is on the same page.
If you offer a product, consider providing one to your customer service employees so they can better understand how it works. Also study common questions that come from your customers, and know how to give answers that satisfy their concerns and build confidence in their purchase. Build internal “Frequently Asked Question” lists to post in your team’s customer service department.
Customers who feel disrespected will rarely come away satisfied with their experience. When parties on either side get emotional, it can be difficult to remain calm and work through the issue. Help those employees handling customer service tasks understand the importance of respect in every situation, even if the customer is starting to get upset. Emotions shouldn’t interfere with your team’s desire to help customers have a positive experience.
Applying these tips to boost customer service in your organization can make a big difference in the way your team members interact with customers. Good customer service will guide the overall success of your company. Start implementing these practices, and watch your customer service rates improve.
Image via Flickr by NEC Corporation of America