Customer service includes every touch point that a customer experiences with a representative of your company, and it can make or break your customers’ perception of your brand. It is just as important to provide polished, professional service to customers, as it is to provide them with reliable, quality products. When interacting with a representative from your company, the care that the employee provides can make or break the perception that the customer has of your company.
The personality of your business is reflected through the service that your customers receive. It can be professional, energetic, respectful, or smart. It can also be lazy, careless, ignorant, or immature. These five steps are designed to allow your employees’ service delivery to flourish and to let your customers and clients know that they are valued.
1. Know your customers. Take the time to identify your target market(s). Make the effort to put yourself in their shoes so you can accurately determine what their wants and needs may be. The key to a satisfied customer base is to focus on specializing your products and services toward your designated market, rather than trying to be everything to everyone. By actively listening to what your customers are saying, it will let them know you value their feelings and opinions. If a problem arises, empathize with the customer or client and go above and beyond to fix any issues they may have.
2. Treat your employees well. Happy employees lead to great service for your customers. When a company’s representatives are in a good or a bad mood, it reflects directly through the service they deliver. Optimize employees’ attitudes by creating a soothing, productive work environment for them so they are able to focus on providing a stellar customer experience without any distractions. And most importantly, treat your employees with respect and insist that they treat others the same.
3. Strengthen your interoffice communication efforts. Ensure employees are in the know about promotions, potential product/service problems, and other information that customers may inquire about so they are consistently knowledgeable and informed. If there is a customer with a problem, circulate a simple email or memo to employees who may come in contact with the customer to keep everyone prepared and in the loop. The more your staff knows, the less time customers will have to spend in line or on hold while waiting for an answer.
4. Utilize social media outlets. A variety of free social media sources are readily available to keep you in touch with your customers and clients. Establish a branded Facebook and Twitter account for your business and use it to encourage customers’ interactions with each other and with your company. Suggest they share stories of their experience with your business. Ask for their feedback on new products. Invite them to promotional events your company is hosting. Initiate conversations with customers to make them feel welcomed to your online community. Social media outlets are often the quickest and easiest way for customers to engage with a company representative.
5. Delight your customers. It’s the thought that counts. There are numerous small gestures that you can make that would “wow” your customers and clients. Develop a special promotion to a targeted group (Twitter followers; potential customers; those with birthdays this month) to let them know they’re valued. Excite repeat visitors and shoppers by mailing them a company t-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, or other small trinket on occasion. Have your client’s favorite beverage prepared for when they arrive to a meeting. Set aside new items that you think a frequent shopper may like. Send a quick birthday card to a customer that you overheard planning her party. Alert a loyal Facebook fan of an upcoming sale with a personalized email. The possibilities are endless!
By incorporating the goal of delivering high quality customer service into your overall business plan, your employees will naturally develop the ability to respond to customers’ needs and concerns. This ongoing commitment is one of the most important ingredients in the recipe to customer satisfaction and, in turn, your business’s success!