With thousands of articles written on good customer service, anyone would assume that modern-day customers ask for the moon. Well, that’s not the truth.
Your customers, no matter what their account size is, will be more than happy if the product/service they purchased from you is in line with their expectations. If you look at it objectively, that is all the average customer cares about. They don’t want fancy loyalty cards, gift hampers, or an exclusive invite for a free consultation with your CEO.
But it isn’t as easy as we made it out to be. Unsatisfied customers form a significant part of the lot, and it is a severe problem that plagues businesses around the world. Gartner predicts that 89% of companies are expected to compete only on customer service. There was a time when the price was the most important factor when people opened their purse strings.
What is Good Customer Service?
Good customer service involves meeting customer needs promptly and efficiently. It’s all about being understanding and lending an ear (and sometimes a shoulder) to them. Excellent communication and a customer-centered approach are key elements.
So, what are the top 10 qualities of good customer service?
The key is to ask yourself this question: “What does good customer service mean to you?”. When you find the answer, put that to use. Immediately!
If you ask what it means to us, we’d say:
- Active Listening: Attentively hear customer concerns.
- Understanding Needs: Grasp customer requirements fully.
- Empathy & Patience: Show understanding and patience.
- Timely Responses: Respond promptly and efficiently.
- Accurate Information: Provide correct, reliable details.
- Problem Resolution: Resolve issues effectively and creatively.
- Going the Extra Mile: Exceed customer expectations for satisfaction.
- Clear Communication: Use clear, jargon-free language.
- Feedback Utilization: Act on customer feedback constructively.
- Building Relationships: Foster trust and loyalty for long-term connections.
A Good Customer Service Strategy
A study by American Express says that 70% of customers are known to choose a company that delivers good customer service. Are you wondering if our initial remark that the customers don’t expect the moon is wrong? Wait. Hear us out. Even the simplest of things like sending an after-sales kit or making follow-up calls to check with a customer can be challenging at times. This is why you need to have a good customer service strategy.
Here is what you can do to deliver great customer service:
#1 Offer Omnichannel Support
How easy or difficult is it for your customers to contact you?
The more time it takes for your customers to get redressal for their grievances, the higher their chances to stop doing business with you. There could be no statement more valid than ‘time is money,’ especially when it comes to answering customer service requests.
Omnichannel support means having a presence in every area (read channel) where your customers are active. Your customers lurk around in different channels these days, and it is disconcerting for them if they can’t find you on a platform where they frequent. If a frequent telephone user finds that it is not possible to contact your customer service with a phone call, it will upset them.
Is it a big deal?
What if you only allow customers to contact you via phone calls? If you can afford to have a customer service team that will take calls, it is a no-brainer that you do it. It is all about making the entire process convenient for your customers. In fact, convenience is one key step towards providing good customer service.
Let’s say you have a physical retail store and a significant online presence; here is how your customer grievance redressal system should be:
- Email support
- Telephone support
- FB messenger chatbot support
- Respond to tweets directed at your brand
- Live chat support
- Staff support in-person at the physical store
A Good Customer Service Example
Customers are entitled to such a varied form of support because they believe that you would be there to solve their problems. The support that you provide should be consistent across all channels. While customers will understand that the service levels might be different based on the channels, the communication should remain consistent.
IKEA is one of the most loved companies in the world, and it is consistently known for its good customer service. They invest heavily in it, and it has never failed them. Brands like Zappos, Domino’s, etc. also focus majorly on this and are good customer service examples. A report by PWC states that the number of companies that invest in creating an omnichannel experience for their customers has increased from 20% to 80%.
Still not convinced about creating an omnichannel customer service strategy? Adobe recently found that companies with a strong omnichannel customer engagement strategy enjoy a 10% YOY growth, a 10% increase in AOV, and a 25% increase in close rates.
#2 Reward loyalty
Crafting a smart loyalty strategy can be a difficult task given the fact that each customer has varied tastes, comes from different backgrounds, has contrasting interests, and so on. Yet one can’t deny that loyalty rewards are a good customer service strategy. Well, yes, you need to understand the psyche of your customers so that you can create a personalized strategy to reward loyal customers.
A study by BrandKeys says that brands spend up to 11 times more on getting new customers than retaining existing ones. It is wise to keep your current customers happy. How exactly do you do that? With loyalty programs that will make them stay longer with you. Loyalty360’s report says that 4 out of 5 people will engage with a brand that offers them some incentive.
The loyalty programs that you devise should be designed in such a way that they keep coming back for more and feel special. If you are into making chocolates, offer your most loyal customers chocolates that have their photos printed on them or their names written on them.
#3 Respond quickly
In this fast-paced world, it is no wonder that customers expect you to get back to any issue within a few minutes. Resolving the problem of your customers in the shortest possible time will keep you in the good books of your customers. Not only is it a luxury anymore, but it has also become a necessity.
Your customers are not necessarily happy when you send them a ticket number for their issue and are asked to wait for 1-2 days. They want you to get your problem solved within a few hours, at the least.
Brands should empathize with customers on the fact that people these days don’t have a lot of free time for themselves. So every minute they are dealing with a customer service agent, it is a frustrating experience for them.
There has been so much written about resolving issues quickly that a Forrester report says that 73% of adults say that the best thing a brand can do for excellent customer support is to value their time. Get back to each complaint as fast as possible, but not at the cost of resolving it in the right manner.
#4 Listen to your customers
This is one of the most underrated things because it seems like a simple thing. Brands should realize that they will be sitting on a goldmine of information directly from the users if they happen to collect regular feedback from customers. When you listen to your customers at regular intervals, they will feel as if their voice is heard, and their opinions are counted.
You can use the online survey tool offered by SurveySparrow to collect regular feedback from your customers. The surveys can be sent at regular intervals to get their feedback. If you see a pattern of complaints from your customers based on the feedback, make it a point to close the feedback loop by asking follow-up questions and solving the problem for them.
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Customer feedback tells a lot about the way you do your business, products, services, the way you do your business, etc. If you want to know how you are faring among your customers, then you need to talk to them. You need to send them emails asking for feedback, get on calls with them, Focus Group Discussions, phone calls, interviews, etc., to understand their opinion of you.
Qualtrics Apparel Retail Study says that 50% of customers believe that the feedback they give doesn’t reach the person who is supposed to act on it.
#5 Share feedback across all departments
Do you want to build a business that lasts lifetimes? Then collect feedback and pass it across all departments. The feedback that you get from your customers should not only be shared among the management team. It should be shared with everyone who is a stakeholder in the company.
Get internal feedback about problems that your customers have mentioned to find an amicable solution. When you get employees from different backgrounds working on problems, you might stumble upon a unique perspective that can solve problems. The customer feedback should be scrutinized. Each of the issues should be addressed and, if possible, never repeat it.
A report by SmarterHQ says that 72% of customers in 2019 only engage with marketing messages that are personalized to their likes and interests. Treat your customers like individuals who have unique tastes and expectations. Do not think of them as just another number that adds to your bottom line.
- Using bots and automation isn’t forbidden as long as it doesn’t affect the experience for your customers. As we have mentioned earlier in the article, your employees want human service.
- There is only so much that bots can do. They can never take the place of humans. They cannot reassure and promise to resolve the issue in a way only humans can.
Get to know more about your customers, their likes, dislikes, hobbies, passions, and so on. You can delight your customers using such information, which will bring your customers close to your business.
- They don’t want responses that come from a bot. They’d rather talk to a human being on the other side even if it takes a few extra minutes to get something resolved.
If you are a brand and you still wonder if you need to provide personalized service, here’s another statistic that might tell you otherwise. Accenture’s Pulse Check 2019 survey reports that 91% of consumers say that they will shop with brands that offer relevant offers and recommendations.
#7 Create a community of users
The greatest trick that you can pull to bring all your customers to a single place is to build a community. People love being a part of a community for a shared purpose. In this case, it would be to discuss your product. Allow your customers to take care of the group while you have some people from your team monitor the conversations with the intention of helping.
You can expect complaints and even a little bit of entitlement but you can expect an overall positive sentiment from all quarters. Onboard every customer into your community where they will be eligible to participate in your giveaways, contests, and so on. It is easier to collect feedback from your customers when all of them are available at a single point of content. Facebook groups and your business app are the best places to build your community.
An American Express study says that 35% of American customers post negative comments about brands on social media. If you don’t want a bad rap on various social media sites, having a community is the safest place to go. Why? Because your customer’s initial point of contact would be the community to see if his/her issue can be resolved quickly.
You can even conduct weekly webinars where customers will get to know about your product better. Having your community of customers will be the best-known resource for your business.
Want more referrals? Use your community.
Want your customers to participate in brand giveaways? Yes, Community.
Want to introduce a new product line and are looking for volunteers? Community again.
Want to pick the brains of a few customers? Community!
#8 Deliver on your promise
In business, it is always best to underpromise and overdeliver. Your customers will hate you if you come up with excuses every time you recant on a promise you made to them. If you tell your customers that you will deliver a product on the 20th of this month, then even a day’s delay can derail their plans. This can upset them.
If you ever happen to fail to deliver your promise, then ensure that you do something to make up for it. Offer to replace the product refund it or give them something that will make them feel better. It is the only way you can get back the respect of your customers.
Here is something that might alarm you about human psychology. A study says that your customers do not feel more appreciated if you over-deliver, but will be quite miffed with you if you break a promise. How is that? So make sure that you are well prepared to satisfy all of your customers equally.
It takes 12 positive experiences to get out of a single negative experience.
#9 Train your staff
When you put policies in place where you talk about good customer service strategies, the first thing that you need to note is whether your staff is equipped to handle it. Not only should your employees be given training on how to handle situations, but they should also be given the freedom to make decisions to delight customers.
Of course, there should be different levels of authority to make decisions. If your employees do not understand how to be empathetic towards your customers even after a thorough training process, then you need to change your hiring methods.
Make your customers understand customer service through various roleplays and scenarios. Walk them through the decisions that they are empowered to take on their own without having to call a higher-up. Properly trained employees handling situations result in fewer complaints and garner numerous compliments for the customer service department.
#10 Positive attitude
Having a good attitude goes a long way in creating memorable experiences for your customers. If your business operates with the right attitude, you will be able to convert any negative experience into a positive one. As a brand, you should remember that most conversations that you have with your customers are not face-to-face. So, your attitude will reflect in the way you text, email, phone call, etc.
Words can be easily misinterpreted, so you should always be on your guard so that the wrong message doesn’t get sent. Always try to use humor with your customers. Who doesn’t love humor, right?
Many more elements exist to deliver outstanding customer service. Keeping your customers satisfied and close to you is the best thing that you can do for your business. Have an attitude where your customer always comes first, and you will become a force to reckon with.
Treat your customers as individuals with feelings and emotions, not just numbers. A business should be built around providing good customer service. When you concentrate on creating a robust website, spending on marketing tools, and creating processes, customer service doesn’t become a priority anymore. Here’s the best tip that we can give you- customer service should be the center point of everything. Good customer service has the potential to drive your company towards growth. Time proves it again and again.
Anything you do and everything you buy should be with this question in mind:
“Will it give my customer a better experience?”
If this is the mantra that you follow, then you can deliver something beyond what they call good customer service. Provide an experience that will procure you loyal customers!
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