Customer Service Best Practices
We’re living in the age of the customer. Therefore, customer service is one of the cornerstones of your business strategy. Social media has revolutionised customer service.
It’s vital to develop perfect customer service standards and implement them across the company. Customer service is a make-it-or-break-it factor if you want to succeed in today’s competitive business environment.
How Customer Service Helps Business
Oh, where do we start! It’s hard to imagine a business without a customer service department. Even if you’re running a small or medium company and don’t have a dedicated division, you’re probably still answering customers’ questions and dealing with their complaints. It’s good to have a consistent strategy, so you maintain high customer service standards, which will translate into lower churn rates and, ultimately, higher revenues.
Customer service and increase in sales
Some people still think that customer service starts after a client purchased a product or service. They couldn’t be more wrong! Customer service should begin way before the customers take out their credit card.
Be proactive and reach out to your customers when they are at the beginning of the funnel. It’s vital that customer service reps help with the decision making process. That way, you don’t give a chance to decide against the purchase.
Customer service and customer retention
That’s where the magic happens. A boost in customer service will lower your churn rates. Many factors will help you deal with leaving customers but improving customer service is very high on the list.
A happy customer won’t leave your business. At least not, when he still needs your help and expertise. It sounds obvious, but there are companies out there that either neglect or don’t have a handle on customer service.
Customer service acts as a competitive weapon. Just take a look at Amazon. Other companies will deliver products to your doors. What distinguishes Amazon from their competitors is their superb customer service. Some customers will choose Amazon over other businesses, solely because of painless customer service.
Customer Service Best Practices
Many people claim that customer service is like dating. And they’re right! All the anticipation, and questions, and preparation is just like a first date. Assuming you’re looking for a long-term relationship what are the key elements of your successful customer experience?
1. Manage expectations
Let’s start with the basics. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver. Tell your customers outright what exactly they will receive and try to exceed those expectations. Clients will appreciate your willingness to go the extra mile and will be more inclined to stay with you longer.
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2. Keep it fresh
Everyone likes to feel unique, and that applies to your customers as well. Even if you’re answering the same question for a 100th of times in a day, try to make your client feel exceptional. It might be the only chance to show how great your product or service is, so don’t waste the opportunity.
3. Hire the right people
The people you choose to work with matter a lot. They form and maintain relationships with your clients and generally are on the front line having to deal with all the problems and complaints.
First of all, they have to be competent. Customers rely on their knowledge of the product, so the majority of cases should be resolved fairly quickly. However, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something.
Another necessary characteristic is thick skin. You often have to deal with people from different cultures, who are under a lot of stress or simply have a bad day. Not getting annoyed and staying professionally calm is the key to success.
4. Be where your customers are
Social media has revolutionised customer service. Clients are no longer required to follow an official path while handing in a complaint. They can leave a comment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Internet forum. It’s your job to stay on top of things.
The future of customer service is an omnichannel presence. You have to be present where your customers choose to be active
5. Be well informed
The more information you gather, the better you will be able to help your customers. What’s the best way to get the data you need? Simply ask.
Customers will be more than willing to help you out. And establishing a dialogue will make your clients feel more connected to your brand. Moreover, it’s really hard to get valuable feedback from your customers. By simply speaking to your clients you will be able to discover and implement new features that your clients will use.
6. Personalize the message
Personalization is key to customer service. There are CRM tools that will help you track all the historical conversations that are a goldmine of information.
I mentioned before that your customers like to feel unique. It’s hard, but try to make your customers feel like you prepared the customer journey especially for one single person.
That also means you should prepare different messages for different social media channels. Another answer is expected on a public forum (where you usually have an unlimited number of characters) and another on Twitter where you have to answer using only 240 characters.
7. Analyse all the steps in the funnel
Take a thorough look at the customer lifecycle. Bad experience on one of the steps of the funnel will inevitably lead to a negative opinion about your customer service standards.
The key to developing successful customer service standards is showing the consistently high level of care on literally every step of the funnel. Whether your clients are only browsing your website (user experience should be impeccable), looking at the knowledge base or receiving dunning emails, the overall experience should be simply pleasant.
Have you ever heard about the mystery shopper technique? An auditor in disguise shops at a brick-and-mortar store. The goal of such a shopping spree is to identify all the possible glitches in customer service.
Even if you run an Internet business you can still implement this technique. Ask a person not familiar with your activities to review your website. Someone with a fresh eye will spot all the glitches in code, user experience, and many other parts of your customer journey.
8. Make sure every department is involved in customer service experience
It’s easy to think that improving customer service is a task only for the customer service department. That’s not true anymore!
Customer service should be the apple of an eye for your entire company.
Making your customers happy is definitely a key task for every business, big or small. Hopefully, these eight customer service best practices will be a good starting point for developing a bulletproof customer service experience.