Customer Service 101: Three things you can do today to win over your customers
How do you maintain long-term customer relationships? Columnist Steve Olenski outlines his top three tips for improving your customer service.
Everyone wants to deliver exceptional customer service. However, wanting to do so and actually achieving it are two entirely different things, especially if you consider recent statistics on the state of customer service. Here’s why you should care about customer service:
- A survey from Aspect found that 76 percent of consumers believe that service is the true measurement of how companies truly value them.
- NewVoiceMedia calculated that nearly $41 billion is lost in revenue each year by US companies that do not put customer service first.
- Parature’s “2015 Global State of Multichannel Service Report” noted that 97 percent of global consumers listed customer service as a critical factor in deciding on what brand to choose and stay loyal to, while 62 percent of these same consumers stopped doing business with a brand that delivered poor customer service.
- The same report also noted that 60 percent of those consumers surveyed are increasing their expectations about what defines good customer service.
With these critical statistics in mind, here are three things you can do today to win over your customers — whether you’re meeting them in person, speaking to them on the phone or engaging with them online:
1. Show them you value their time
According to Forrester Research in its report, “Contact Centers Must Go Digital or Die,” 77 percent of online US shoppers believe that good customer service means not wasting their time. This means implementing processes where they can opt to take care of what they want online without a phone call where they may have to be placed in a queue.
You also can provide other options for communication, including an online representative who can speak to them via a messaging system so they don’t have to wait to get what they wanted. Giving them a four-hour window in which they need to wait for you is not something that shows you value their time.
Instead, be precise on when and where you can help them so they can use what limited time they have more effectively. They will love you for that.
2. Be responsive
In the latest report from SDL dedicated to the voice of the customer, titled, “The Global CX Wakeup Call Report,” the firm discovered that the biggest letdown with customer service experiences was a poor response time. Respond to customers as soon as you can, and don’t let 24 hours go by without reaching out to them.
Offering a rapid response time means a lot to customers because they can get their questions answered, needs filled, or problems solved so that they can go onto the other things on their long to-do list. The fact that you have helped them cross something off that imposing list means everything to a customer.
And when that response comes on a weekend or evening, you may even “wow” the customer because they will not be expecting that.
3. Be friendly, personable and authentic
It may sound simple, but it is truly effective, because customers do not come into contact with that many customer service personnel who have this positive approach. A significant number of customers surveyed for the aforementioned SDL report stated that they rated customer service high when the person they dealt with was pleasant or helpful.
This also shows customers that you are happy to hear from them or willing to assist them with their needs. When a customer makes contact and feels like they are interrupting or irritating, things go can go wrong.
Customers also want to know that you are genuine in your care, concern and excitement about them. This authenticity builds the necessary trust to maintain a long-term customer relationship.
While these may seem small, they really do make a big impression when done correctly. Along with addressing customers by name, sending them a personal thank you and remembering unique things to relay about returning users, if you do the above, you’ll win them over and keep them for life.