Good customer service is an integral part of any successful business. Whether your customers are ordinary consumers or mega-corporations, treating them with respect and care is one of the best ways to strengthen your company’s reputation and boost your bottom line.
Real customer service is not about offering tons of sales or monthly specials—a decent salesperson can sell anything to anyone one time. But to encourage customers to come back to you again and again, there has to be more to your customer service plan. Building relationships is the key.
One of customers’ biggest complaints is a lack of personal connection when they try to reach a company by phone. This is your business’s first line of contact, so make sure your phones are being answered by a real person.
Only make promises you can keep. Reliability is a cornerstone of good customer service, and customers must believe that you will deliver on your promises. If you can’t make definitive plans for things like project deadlines, appointments, meetings, product delivery, then don’t. Few things destroy customer confidence more than broken promises.
Pay attention to your customers’ feedback. It may be tiresome to hear about all the things your business is doing wrong, but listening to what your customers need is crucial to improving their experience.
There’s an old story about a man who comes across a young boy on a beach covered with starfish. The man watches as the boy runs along the shore, tossing the creatures into the ocean one by one. The man finally tells the boy that he’s wasting his time because he can’t possibly get all the starfish back into the water. The boy tosses another into the sea and says, “I made a difference to that one.” Responding to customer complaints is much the same. You can’t please everyone all the time, but you can please one person one time… and that can make all the difference.
Even if there’s no immediate financial benefit, be helpful when you can. A simple gesture, like replacing a small part or doing a repair free of charge, offering advice to a confused shopper or advising employees to go out of their way to be pleasant and friendly, can go a long way in fostering customer loyalty.
Having adequately trained employees is essential, as well. Each employee should be thoroughly instructed in the principles of good customer service and how they relate to your business model. Empower your employees by giving them permission to make minor customer-pleasing decisions without having to consult a manager. Hire people specifically for customer service jobs; listings like RBS customer service jobs UK ensure that the candidates you select are dedicated to providing customer service.
Do more than is necessary. Help employees to lead customers to the products they’re inquiring about, not just simply handing them a leaflet. Give employees the tools and encouragement they need to answer customers’ questions, offer instruction or advice on using products, interact with customers in a positive way or go the extra mile whenever possible.