One of the keys to retaining loyal customers and boosting repeat business is to provide high-quality customer service. These five tips can help you boost your customer service performance.
1. Use Your Customers’ Names
Customers like to feel like you care about their individual needs. One way to make customers believe that you care about them as individuals and not just potential sales is to instruct your team to use customers’ names whenever they interact with them.
2. Do Not Rely on Automation
Automation can improve customer experience, but it can also lead to frustration. One of the most common complaints businesses hear from customers is that it is too hard to get in touch with a real person. Make sure your customers can easily get in contact with an actual employee and be proactive. Do not wait for your customers to contact you. Reach out to them with personalized letters, e-mails, cards, and other forms of communication. Consider including personalized, signed thank you notes when you ship products. If your salespeople have good relationships with key clients, make sure they call or text them occasionally to touch base and see if they need anything.
3. Avoid Form Letters
It can be tempting to use technology to automatically contact customers to improve efficiency. However, few customers are fooled by automated responses to their messages. At best, communication may not accomplish much or possibly not even get read. At worst, it may make your customers feel like they are not important enough for you to contact them personally. Studies have shown that personalized emails are more likely to be read, clicked, and result in purchases than automated responses. You can also combine the techniques by sending automated responses to provide immediate confirmation and then following up with a personalized email or letter to thank the customer and find out if they need any assistance.
4. Convert Errors Into Opportunities
Whether you made the mistake or your customer did, you should try to turn errors into opportunities to build relationships with your customers. If your customer made the mistake, focus on addressing the customer’s problem, rather than avoiding compensating them for their own error. You do not need to take a big loss because the customer messed something up, but try to find a solution that works for both parties and leaves the customer with a positive impression. If you excel at helping a customer who has made a mistake, that customer is likely to tell other people about what a good experience they had with you, rather than walk away frustrated and possibly never return.
If you are the one who messed up, you should begin by sincerely apologizing and then do your best to make it right for the customer. Avoid becoming annoyed by what seems like a minor inconvenience to you. You do not need to give away the farm because you made a mistake, but if you can find a way to make the customer happy, she is more likely to come out of the experience willing to give you another shot than if you do the bare minimum to get the customer off your back.
5. Use an Answering Service
Customers expect to receive service at any time of the day or night and on any day of the week. However, this level of availability is not realistic for every business. You can improve customer satisfaction during hours when your customer service department is not available by using answering service software. An answering service can take calls when your employees are not available and send you messages so that you can contact customers during your business hours. Some systems allow you to receive messages immediately so that you can respond to any critical issues right away. This service can prevent customers from becoming frustrated by having to wait until a time that may not be convenient for them to contact you and avoid having customers queuing up at the beginning and end of the day, leading to longer wait times and less customer satisfaction.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, superior customer service is an effective way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. These five tips can help you provide the kind of service that keeps customers coming back and recommending your business to all their friends.