It’s hard to deny that this is a great time to be a consumer. Thanks to social media platforms, website chat features and texting, it’s now easier than ever for people to reach out to their favorite – and least favorite – brands. Of course, this places increased onus on many small businesses to rethink their approach to customer service.
Given how many outlets consumers have to share their feedback, business owners need to be extremely mindful of the way they engage with patrons. So, if your enterprise’s customer engagement could stand to see some improvement, consider the following pointers.
Respond to Questions and Concerns in a Timely Manner
No one enjoys being kept waiting – particularly in customer service situations. The longer you keep patrons waiting, the less likely they’ll be to grace you with repeat business.
That being the case, make a point of responding to any questions, concerns or constructive feedback you receive in a timely and professional manner. When people are kept waiting for extended periods, they often come under the impression that their patronage isn’t valued – which is sure to factor into their decision-making the next time they find themselves in need of a certain business’s products or services.
So, provided they’re received during the workday, all queries and concerns should be addressed within one to two hours.
Be Extra-Mindful of Your Attitude
As anyone who’s ever worked in customer service can attest, some individuals are better-suited to dealing with members of the public than others. While some customer service representatives willfully adopt rude, condescending attitudes, others do so inadvertently. Without meaning to come off as disinterested or inconsiderate, some people exude these emotions when dealing with customers.
With this in mind, you’ll need to be extra-aware of your attitude when interacting with patrons in any capacity. Whether you’re communicating in person, over the phone or via email, put genuine thought into responses, word choices and delivery. Furthermore, if any of your team members could use a refresher on customer interactions, don’t hesitate to give it to them.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Most people who have worked with the general public are aware that the adage “The customer is always right” shouldn’t be taken literally. While customer service representatives should always put their best foot forward, it can’t be denied that some customers are simply impossible to please. Whether they’re having an exceptionally bad day or are difficult to placate in any situation, some customers are, in fact, wrong.
However, a customer being in the wrong doesn’t necessarily mean it’s okay to fly off the handle or stoop to their level. In fact, doing so is liable to anger them even further and increase their odds of trashing your business online or contributing to negative word-of-mouth.
So, the next time you find yourself at wit’s end with a particularly displeased customer, take a few moments to cool down before saying something you’ll later regret. You may not be able to placate this person, but you can at least minimize potential damage.
Keep Customers in the Know
If your enterprise is project-based, make sure that customers are kept in the know throughout every phase of an assignment. This will help ensure that you and your patrons are consistently on the same page and minimize the odds of misunderstandings. Furthermore, take care to ask each customer for detailed instructions at the outset of a new project. The clearer the picture they’re able to paint, the more likely you and your team are to meet their expectations.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to keep customers informed. If a customer isn’t keen on traditional phone calls, try reaching out to them via email or mass texting service.
Happy customers are the lifeblood of any enterprise. This is particularly true for small businesses who are reliant on repeat clients and positive word-of-mouth. As such, every business owner should take measures to ensure that they and their employees go above and beyond with regard to customer service.
Although some businesses make attentive customer care look like an uphill battle, you may be surprised to find that a little bit of common courtesy can go a long way when it comes to engaging with prospective patrons.