Customer service has always been important but has come under a spotlight in the past year as brand and consumer relationships have felt the impact of COVID-19. Excellent customer service can be the difference between a loyal customer base who will support your business through thick and thin - and help to attract others to it - and frustrated or annoyed consumers who will do the opposite. So, how do you make sure that the experience that customers have with your brand is a positive one?
Personalise the way that you deal with customers. Positive relationships are easier to establish with customers who feel that a brand has taken time to get to know them. This could be something as simple as using names on emails or keeping records of previous interactions so that consumers don’t have to repeat themselves.
Make speed a priority. This is something that consumers value more than anything else - swift responses, not being kept on hold and a brand that is ready with a solution to common problems. One major pain point for many customers can be email response times - waiting hours or days to hear back can be frustrating and cause consumers to look elsewhere for products or services next time round. Look at all the communication channels your business has with consumers and where improvements in speed of response could be made.
Be transparent and take responsibility. High standards of excellent customer service often involve going above and beyond what a business would normally do and admitting openly to mistakes. Brands that employ empathy when dealing with customers tend to make a much more positive impact even if that means a small sacrifice for the brand. One great example comes from Amazon - the huge retailer replaced a Playstation that had been delivered to a neighbour and which the neighbour had just left outside the customer’s door instead of handing it to them. When the Playstation was stolen, Amazon replaced it without cost even though the fact that it had disappeared wasn’t the brand’s fault.
Listen to what your customers are saying. You may be creating products or services that you think are fantastic and wondering why customers don’t respond. Sometimes the answers are simple - it’s not what they really want. Being open and responsive to what customers want from your business is a sure fire way to improve customer service experience and build loyalty on an ongoing basis. Listen to suggestions, use polls and surveys and don’t ignore any feedback you get.
Make a long term commitment. One of the main reasons that customer service often feels inadequate is because brands only see the short term value in a customer. While sales are important, investing in customer relationships for the long term will create a strong base of customers who can become brand advocates and attract others, as well as repeatedly returning to buy. That may mean looking beyond the right now and taking steps to ensure a customer is happy and willing to return in the future.
Excellent customer service is the foundation of great business and ensuring that your brand thrives, now and for many years to come. Find out more by booking on to our Outstanding Customer Service Skills training course...