Every business thrives on customer service. Some of the best businesses in the world are considered exceptional because of how well they treat their customers, while most businesses fail for the same reason.
What is great customer service and why do you need it? Here are seven answers to that question.
1. Great customer service is always available.
Nothing will frustrate a customer more than having to leave a message when they have what they view as a serious problem. If you or your team can’t get to the phone, be sure to have someone return the call promptly.
If you can’t be available, try to make it appear as if you are available. Provide multiple forms of communication. Email, social media, contact forms and live chat are just a few ways you can make yourself appear available. Email is the best, but we wary of it sucking up all your time. Social media can be a great communication tool. Most people love to tweet or interact on facebook, so make sure you keep a close eye on those outlets. You might also provide a customer feedback section on your website. Live chat options such as Zopim are wonderful tools as long as you have someone in your company online during business hours.
2. Great customer service keeps it’s promises.
Be careful of over-promising! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard customer support rep’s, and even business owners, tell customers they would do something that was just not within the means of the company to do. Then you have 2 choices, either figure out a way to deliver the promise, which can be expensive and time consuming, or look like an idiot for promising to do something you couldn’t.
Remember the old rule: If you tell somebody you’re going to do something, then do it. Enough said.
3. Great customer service listens.
Every complaint is an opportunity. When a customer tells you that they have a problem, it’s a chance to fine tune your company. Apologize first, then fix the problem. However, don’t apologize for your company! You’re doing a great job, the best job you know how, so when something goes wrong it’s O.K. to tell your customer you’re sorry it happened and how you intend to fix it. It’s not O.K. to make excuses or downgrade your companies performance.
On the flip side, be sure to listen for your “raving fans”. Most customers will contact you directly if they have a problem. If they have something nice to say, they will usually shout out on social media platforms. Customers will usually only talk you down on social media if you failed to perform when they contacted you directly. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on social media to see when that happens.
Providing your customers with an easy way to give you a “raving fan” testimonial is always good practice. An online rating program is a great way to hear what your customers have to say.
4. Great customer service goes the extra mile.
Be helpful. Address the problem, admit the mistake, present the solution, and once the problem is solved, offer to do something more. This is just honest, from the heart, “I value you as a customer” mentality. “Raving fans” come from this type of customer service. Not only did you fix the problem, but you went above and beyond hat anyone else would do. Your customers are going to talk about you. How far you go to fix a problem will determine what they say and how loud they say it.
5. Great customer service is knowledgeable.
Make sure that whomever you have answering phones or dealing with customers knows the company and the product like the back of their hand. If they don’t they will over promise. They will make up stories about the company that aren’t true. They will forward the call to someone they think can handle the problem, which will most likely be the owner and only in very special cases should the owner be handling customer service.
6. Great customer service is grateful.
Once the problem has been solved, send a thank you card. At the very least send an email thanking them for their continued business. Don’t just accept that the problem was solved. This goes hand in hand with going the extra mile, but I thought it deserved it’s own category since thankfulness and gratefulness are the key cornerstones of customer service. When customer support comes from a place of gratefulness, the customer will pick up on it and lower their defenses.
7. Great customer service is documented.
No matter what the interaction is with your customers, make sure to have a way to document every interaction. Most client management systems have a way of handling this. If you don’t have one, make some way to document every call that comes in from a client, good or bad. A year from now, 2 years from now, you’ll thank yourself for doing it. Being able to reference previous interactions is critical to providing good customer service. It shows you care enough about your business and your customers to remember everything that happens, good or bad, big or small.
Great customer service is the key to every businesses longevity. If it weren’t for your customers, you’d have no business at all.