There was never a more important time for businesses to offer great customer service than today. Customer service is crucial to the growth of any business. It doesn't matter whether you are a product or a service oriented company. It doesn't matter if you are targeting consumers or businesses. If your customers do not get the service that they desire they will go somewhere else. We can all do things to improve customer service, so below I've listed ten tips that will help you improve customer service and gain customer satisfaction and loyalty.
First Impression Counts
The first impression that a customer receives sets the stage for the customer experience. The first impression can come from a phone call, an email, or a visit to your place of business. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward. Introduce yourself, be positive and be willing to do what it takes to help.
Don't Digital Dive
Sure email can be convenient but don't hide behind email. Be willing to pick up the phone and return phone calls.
Treat Customers How You'd Like to Be Treated
It's true, what comes around goes around. Be sure that you are treating customers with the same respect and courtesy that you would like to encounter. A good question to teach your staff and yourself to ask internally to gauge overall customer service is "If you were treated like that, would you return?"
Don't just wait until someone asks you for help, be willing to be proactive and ask your customers how you may be of service to them.
Tone is Everything
This is true whether it's a phone call or an in-person conversation, make sure that you keep your tone in check. We can often come across as interrupted, disturbed or angry just by the tone of our response. Always smile when responding, this will ensure that your tone comes across as pleasant and helpful.
In-Person Trumps Phone Call
Never give precedence to a phone call over a customer standing in front of you.
Be Willing to Find the Answer
A customer always deserves an answer and it's important to always be honest, but never say "I don't know" unless you follow it with "However, I will find out for you."
Own Up to Mistakes
Mistakes happen. We will never be 100% perfect, so always be willing to own up to your mistakes, apologize and rectify the situation. Let the customer know that you will take care of them, reassure them so that they are willing to give you another shot in the future.
Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind
When you follow-up with a customer, it says "I care." Create a follow-up program that will check-in with your customers after a visit or a purchase. It is a great way to build loyalty and increase the potential of gaining her sale.
Go the Extra Mile
Always be willing to go the extra mile. Customers always recognize the extra effort, because as of late the extra effort is foregone due to automation. The personal touch is missing in many areas of communication with customers, so be willing to go the extra mile and create a lasting impression.