One dissatisfying experience is all it takes for a customer to switch brands.
In today’s market, competition is cutthroat in many areas. Thus, if you want to get to the top of the market, you should focus on “selling” the experience of acquiring an item or being provided with a service. In order to achieve that, you need to focus your attention and to invest in customer services.
Yet, before we dive straight into how to deliver good customer service, we need to have a common understanding of what customer service is and why it is needed.
What Is Customer Service?
Customer service is about not just providing your clients with a product, but about the way you do it. It is about making your customers fall in love with your brand.
Remember: customer service isn’t about selling as much as possible, it is about making your client enjoy the process of purchasing. In other words, it is what you do to improve the customer experience.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that customer services take place only when a customer is calling the customer support hotline. There are many ways to provide customer service. Customer experience can and must be improved before, during, and after the purchase.
Before The Purchase
Before the purchase even took place, you interact with your potential customer via your website, your page on Facebook, and your hotline. They will scroll through your website looking for information. They may write you a message or an e-mail with questions that are still unanswered. Or they may call you, for instance, to make an appointment or to ask for more details.
During The Purchase
As your potential customers are making the purchase, their customer experience is based on how your personnel treat them. How do they greet newcomers? How do they address them? How do they thank the customers? Do they sound sincere and friendly?
After The Purchase
Of course, customer service never ends with the purchase. You can and should provide complementary services that may solve your customers’ problems (for example, installing or fixing a wardrobe may be quite difficult for some people). There are also some more obvious actions: reacting to customers’ complaints online and offline, warranty repairs, troubleshooting, informing them about sales, etc. Today customers expect 24/7 assistance. Social networks is one the fastest tool to address consumers queries. Don’t forget about the review websites such as BBB, Yelp, PissedConsumer.com, etc. If one consumer comes to share an experience, so many others come to read it before making a purchase decision. Negative reviews should be addressed.
True, today’s technologies can provide you with automated customer support. Yet, there is nothing more annoying than an automated voice on the hotline or a chatbot that can’t fix your problem. Interaction with a human (if he/she is friendly and polite, of course) is way more effective for customers. They can get the answers to all their questions faster and those answers will be more precise.
4 Reasons Why You Need Excellent Customer Care
Excellent Customer Services Increase Your Profits
It may seem counterintuitive as you are probably thinking about all the costs of improving your business’s customer services. Yet, the secret is simple – you need to treat those costs as an investment that will boost your profits in the future.
Research published in the Customer Experience Impact Report proved that 86% of U.S. adults are ready to pay more for better customer experience.
Delivering Good Customer Service Makes Your Customers Come Back
According to the same research for the Customer Experience Impact Report, 73% of U.S. adults acknowledged that friendly customer care made them fall in love with a brand.
You may be great at selling your product. The product itself may be also of the highest quality. Yet, if your customer is treated like garbage or is constantly ignored, he/she will switch the brand without a second thought. And it will cost you a lot: on average, attracting a new customer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Excellent Customer Services Are the Most Profitable Investment into Word-Of-Mouth Advertising
Word-of-mouth advertising is arguably the most effective marketing strategy for any business. It means that a satisfied customer will become an advocate for your brand in his/her community. It is especially true if you did something they weren’t expecting from you (in a good way). By sharing their positive experience, online or offline, they will urge their peers to become your next clients. 82% of consumers actively seek advice from people they know before purchasing a product. Besides, according to nielsen.com, 84% of consumers trust referrals when making a decision on purchasing a product.
Great Customer Experience Strengthens Your Brand
Consumers trust reviews even without knowing their authors personally: 88% of consumers indicated that they consider online reviews to be as trustworthy as personal referrals. Besides, a heartwarming story of a positive experience can go viral, adding a “caring” feature to your brand’s identity. And vice versa, if a customer leaves angry and/or frustrated, their review can do a lot of harm to your image, especially if it goes viral. The most popular review websites among consumers: Yelp, Google, BBB, PissedConsumer.com, ConsumerAffairs.
How to Provide Excellent Customer Service
The following 5 steps to good customer service are not quantum physics. Yet, all of them are essential to be implemented to make sure your one-time customer will become a regular.
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Reliability is the foundation of a long-term relationship with customers. You need to build on that reliability by always delivering on your promises. If your website states an outdated price, that’s the price customer should pay anyway. Don’t surprise them with unexpected fees on-spot. If you promise delivery within 7 days, make sure the item will be delivered within 7 days, or don’t make such a promise at all. Deliver on the quality of your product. The same goes for reacting to customers’ complaints: fix the problem exactly the way you’ve promised to. If you do that, your brand will become trustworthy in the eyes of the customer.
Acknowledge Your Mistakes
There is always room for human error. Yet, what matters is how you react to your own mistakes:
- Smile and be friendly.
- Acknowledge that mistake occurred on your end, be honest.
- Tell the customer what you are going to do to fix this problem.
- Don’t charge the customer extra money for your mistakes.
- Resolve the problem as fast as possible.
- Your customer shouldn’t make any efforts to solve your mistake: for example, deliver the missing parts instead of making them drive to your shop/warehouse to pick them up.
Turn On Your Emotional Intelligence
Empathy is the key to managing angry and/or frustrated customers. Having stepped into the customer’s shoes, you will be able to understand their perspective and their emotions at the moment. That’s the best starting point, as to resolve their anger or frustration you need to know where it truly comes from. Don’t lose your patience and remain respectful even to the most impolite customers out there – they will calm down eventually.
Yet, it’s not just about dissatisfied customers. Empathy is understanding well what needs, obvious or hidden, your potential customer wants to satisfy. That is the key to tailoring the personal approach to every customer. Having understood that, you can take an extra step to help them satisfy those needs in a surprising manner.
Invest In Your Customer Service Team
No matter how big your customer service team is, make sure they all believe in the core values of your brand. Everyone who interacts with customers has to sincerely care about the brand and be its advocate from their heart. If you want your potential customers to fall in love with your brand, make sure your customer service team falls in love with it first.
Skills matter as well: your team has to be well-equipped to interact with customers, so invest in intense training for newcomers, especially on emotional intelligence.
Customers put their trust in social network posts from their friends and online reviews. So, your task is to make sure you react to them promptly and with dignity. Handling negative comments is as important as answering your calls, do not ignore them. Expand your Internet presence to the platforms that your target groups use, be it Twitter or Instagram or even Snapchat. Interact with them as much as possible; bonus points for a good sense of humor (just take a look at Netflix Twitter account). It makes your brand more humane and thus easier to fall in love with.
Excellent customer care can and should be your main selling point in today’s cutthroat competitive markets. Make your brand as caring and humane as a Good Samaritan can be, and consumers will trust it to satisfy their needs and to solve their problems. Besides, they will spread the word about their great experience, contributing to your brand’s positive image of the one that helps under any circumstances.
Good luck in your endeavors to implement these steps to great customer service, dear reader!