Your business’s customer service team is the first point of contact between your company and the customer or client. Good customer service will improve customer relationships and will help develop customer loyalty. These customers may, in turn, share their experiences with their friends and family, potentially growing your customer base for you. In this time of social media, some customers may even share their experience with a wider audience, having even more of an impact. In any case, the good reputation and public image you’ll achieve this way are priceless.
All in all, the improved relationship between your company and your customers, when combined with this good reputation, can lead to more sales. It’s worth improving your company’s customer service, but how can you do so?
If you know your customers well and understand their wants and needs, then your company will be able to provide a better service. Some of this knowledge will be gathered as you interact with your customers, especially long-standing customers. If certain members of your sales team repeatedly have dealings with specific customers, they will learn how to best interact with them and what these customers expect from your company. These relationships are invaluable.
However, there are other ways to gather information about what customers want and need from your company. One of the best ways to do this is by using external surveys. A survey can measure the satisfaction levels of your customers, as well as helping you discover where you need to improve.
A useful survey will ask pointed questions that can provide the most useful information. Ask about how well the customers’ needs were met and what your company could have done better if anything. Ideally, you want to find out about their experience when selecting the product or service, then how they felt about it when it was delivered, and finally, how they have found the product or service after some time.
Customers don’t appreciate being pressured to fill out surveys, but you can provide them with an incentive to fill them out. Once the survey has been filled out, you will need to collect it and analyze the data. Share the results with your team so that you can find focused ways to improve.
Other good ways to collect this data include customer focus groups and even promotional events. Reviews and testimonials are the bread and butter of finding out what customers think about your services.
While not every customer is willing to fill out a survey or even just a simple review, many will do so when the service has been exceptionally good or particularly bad. Some bad reviews might be due to something that isn’t your company’s fault, but you should always pay attention to any issues that are repeatedly mentioned. While nobody likes bad reviews, they can be invaluable. This leads to the next point.
Bad reviews won’t do your business any good unless you study them and find out which patterns are emerging. Before you can do this, you will need a structured system to collect reviews, complaints, and other concerns that your customers or employees have brought up. If you’re unable to store the data in an organized fashion, then you won’t be able to find these patterns or do anything about them.
As well as finding out what customers are complaining about, you should also find patterns in when your customers are bringing up these concerns and how they prefer to do so. Do your customers leave bad reviews? Or do they telephone or email your customer service team?
If you’re able to further engage with your customers, then see if you can continue the conversation to find out which specific concerns they have. When you have collected the data, use qualified representatives within your organization to provide feedback and insights into what they see. This is where a highly-trained customer service team comes into the picture.
Whether they’re leaving a complaint, suggestion, or good review, make sure that the process of reaching your customer service team is as simple as possible. If your customers get frustrated, then it can be much more difficult to make the interaction between them and your company enjoyable.
Your customer service system should be as transparent as possible so that a customer who raises a complaint knows what’s happening with their concern. If the customer can’t directly reach a member of your team, perhaps because they’re telephoning outside of working hours, then they should still be able to communicate with your company. Getting an answering service will help you to provide round-the-clock customer service to your customers.
One of the most important parts of providing good customer service is solving any complaints or concerns raised by your customers. Your customer service team should be trained to be able to interact with the customer in a way that leaves both parties satisfied. Even though complaints aren’t easy to hear, be sure to acknowledge the customer’s concerns and thank them for their information. Sometimes, this acknowledgment and an apology are all that you can realistically do, and they can do wonders.
However, even if your customer service team can have a pleasant conversation with the customer, the only way to get a positive outcome is to deal with the problem. As stated above, part of this involves a transparent system. Record the complaint and inform the customer that it has been noted.
Tell the customer exactly what you plan to do to solve their problem, whether it’s as simple as offering them a refund or something more complicated. Then, give the customer a realistic timeline and stick to it, letting them know how far along the process is. Overestimating this timeline is always better so that you exceed their expectations rather than taking more time than you started.
Finally, if possible, put measures into place to ensure that this problem is unlikely to crop up again.