Creating an exceptional customer experience begins and ends with the service you offer. Today's customers look beyond the product and expect positive employee interactions, a clean store, and a functioning website. Even if you have great products, you can lose customers and hurt your reputation with poor customer service. Learn how you can improve your customer service through a few valuable strategies.
Why a Good Customer Service Strategy Is Essential to Growth
Customer service is directly correlated to your bottom line. By having a good customer service strategy, you can retain customers and keep them loyal to your brand. These returning customers are easier to sell to than new customers and will likely spend more. Businesses need a mixture of new and returning customers in order to grow.
Additionally, a good customer experience can grow your referrals. Happy customers will tell their friends, giving you free promotion that will bring new customers through the door.
If good customer service means more new customers, then poor customer service means the opposite. Not only will you lose a customer through bad service, but those customers are going to tell their friends to avoid your brand. This means that you lose customers today and in the future.
There are multiple ways to improve customer care. Check out these seven customer service strategies that you can apply to your business to set it up for success.
1. Train Your Employees Extensively on Product Knowledge
Most of the interactions employees have with your staff won't be to complain. Most customers will have simple questions about your products or services. You can create a positive customer interaction just by training your staff on your products and preparing them with answers to questions.
Whenever you introduce a new product or service, hold a staff meeting to train your employees on it. You can also launch a quarterly training program to review product features and uses so your team can pass on the information to customers.
2. Invest in Customer Service Infrastructure
Effective customer service means giving the customer what they need —when and where they need it. This means investing in the right tools and infrastructure to connect with your audience. For example, 79% of Americans use Facebook, making it a great place to connect with people and offer customer care.
Social media is becoming an increasingly popular customer service tool, especially because companies from all sizes can use it. Whether you have a dedicated customer service team to address Facebook messages or operate a small business on your own, you can use Facebook to connect with customers.
Whether you are starting a new customer care channel or simply growing your call centers, make sure you have the infrastructure to offer good service.
3. Use CRM Software to Improve Your Customer Response Time
Along with investing in the right infrastructure, you can improve your customer experience by tracking the metrics behind customer care. How long does it take your team to respond to customer questions via email? How do you respond to customer feedback? These data insights can help you quantify how you have improved your customer experience and set goals for improvement in the future.
4. Resolve Customer Issues on the First Touch
One of the top tenants of effective customer care is to solve customer problems with the first person they talk to. No one wants to get bumped from one customer representative to another. Each time, they have to explain what their problem is and hope that this person can help them. This can quickly get frustrating and lead to unhappy customers. Try to make sure customers can have their problems solved at the first point of contact so they can move on through the day.
5. Empower Employees to Make Customers Happy
If you want to make customers happy, then give employees the power to solve problems and help others. If your employees can't help customers or need your approval to give a refund or discount, then you are likely going to have frustrated customers. It will take more employees to solve a problem and your customers can easily get annoyed with the people who can't help them. Build trust with your staff and empower them to help various team members. They will appreciate you more for it.
6. Deliver on Your Promises
One of the worst things you can do for your customers is to have one employee promise one solution and another employee or manager deny it. This breaks down trust and can destroy any customer loyalty that you have. Make sure that if you offer a resolution to your customers, your team is able to follow through with it. You can offer some truly great customer service just by following this plan.
7. Train Employees to Offer Empathy
Empathy is one of the most powerful emotions you can have toward your customers. It isn't easy to teach, but if you have an empathetic staff then they will go the extra mile to help people who need it. Consider the empathy offered by an airline employee. If that employee considers the stress of air travel that people go through, then they are more likely to understand the frustration or exhaustion that comes with travel problems.
Even if your employees aren't able to help your customers, empathy can help them form a personal connection with the people they talk to. Some people just want to be heard. They want to voice their feedback. Empathy gives customers that space and makes them feel like their emotions are justified. This will keep them loyal to your brand despite the fact that you couldn't solve their issues.
You don't need significant financial investment to improve your customer service strategy. Good customer satisfaction comes in the form of listening to your customers, responding to them in a timely manner, and providing solutions that you can follow through on.
While CRM systems and infrastructure-based tools will help, good customer care begins and ends with respect for the people asking the questions.