Every place a customer goes, they are promised “outstanding customer service”. The reality is that most businesses fail to deliver this promise and instead offer horrible customer service. When a customer finally gets “amazing service”, they are so impressed that it becomes an important part of the company’s brand when they need to buy again. If a business can be remembered for their customer service, that value will make it difficult for customers to ever switch.
How can a company use customer service as a significant part of their brand?
1. Forget about asking the customer “How can I help you?” When an employee says this, it is usually ignored by the customer since it has become as common as saying hello. The customer never thinks the employee really means it. Instead ask “How can I help you feel more satisfied?” Great customer service is about the attitude and actions employees take to make a customer feel more satisfied each and every time they interact with them. This question needs to be asked at each interaction since it’s a constant moving target and changes from customer to customer and from day to day.
2. Listen to what customers are really saying and reply even just to say the message was received. Too many times, customers reach out to companies and get no response for hours or days. The first thing customers want is to be acknowledged. They realize that their issue can’t always be resolved immediately, but the company can always be listening. Acknowledging a customer concern in a timely matter is always the first step.
3. Give multiple ways for the customers to give feedback. Don’t just use comment cards or other surveys, but add email, phone, Twitter and Facebook. This will create more of a dialogue rather than a “suggestion box” model. Customers need a lot of opportunities to give feedback at all stages of the transaction. No need to offer a “bribe” to them by giving a future discount. (i.e. $5 off their next order if they fill out this survey.) The customers that are very satisfied or very dissatisfied will always reply. A company wants to get responses from those “silent customers” that will just drift away and never ever come back.
4. Don’t pass the buck. Harvard Business Review reports that the biggest complaint from customers is having to explain their issues to multiple people or have to repeatedly contact the company to address an issue. The employee that starts to handle the complaint should follow it until resolution.
Is your company able to lead with customer service?
Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at www.barrymoltz.com