A new year offers us a chance to regroup and revisit some customer service objectives. Here are some ways to make your customers your biggest fans. While some start-ups already have some or all of these well covered, now is the time of year to revisit these points and promise to provide even better service to your customers in the year ahead.
We have pulled together a list of customer service resolutions to help you do this:
1. Treat your customers like gold
We’ve all heard the mantra – the customer is king – well its something that we hear as kids growing up and one that we have to truly exercise as business leaders. Whether the customer is truly “right” or not, in every situation there’s way to handle it where the customer comes out of feeling like a king. It may seem cliche but its truly necessary if you want to make your customers you’re biggest fans!
2. Exercise patience
Breathe. Count to 10, slowly. Imagine yourself on a tropical island. Whatever helps you channel calm and patience in difficult situations should be applied at all times. Remember that every problem – no matter how challenging – has a solution and that patience is the fastest (and most pleasant) path to uncovering that solution for your customer.
3. Smile and show a bit of personality during every customer conversation
We all know that customers can tell if we’re smiling over the phone; they can hear that small difference in our voice. That generally applies to all written forms of customer communication, too. Adding a touch of your own personality helps your customers feel that they are being treated as an individual, by an individual. Good customer service is more than just resolving an enquiry as quickly as possible; it’s leaving the customer with a positive feeling after every interaction.
4. Connect with colleagues from other departments
Even if there’s only a handful of people working in your start-up, it is always valuable to understand what each colleague and department does in order to better understand the company and they way it works. It may not seem like it at the time, but this knowledge and the relationships you build with colleagues can be invaluable in the future for providing the best resolution for your customers.
5. Don’t take every tough conversation personally
Tough conversations are just that – tough. But the more tough conversations you have, the better you get at handling and resolving them. Take each as a learning experience and apply this knowledge to the next. This will not only make tough conversations easier and more pleasant for the customer, but also for you. Behind every tough conversation is an issue to be resolved – focus on the issue – not the person and your customers will thank you in the end.
6. Constantly review & decrease processing times
Our research shows that speed is often the deciding factor between a good and a bad customer service experience. There are several ways you can reduce your response time. Offering self-service capabilities lets your customers find the answers they seek on their own and in their own time. You can also apply macros which allow you to answer support requests with a single, standard response. Integrating all your channels – social media, phone and email – can also greatly improve your ability to respond quickly.
7. Respond quickly to social media issues
Social media can potentially be an area that is left to its own devices if were not careful! With all the different social media platforms available to interact with customers, there’s definately a risk of focusing on one or tow to the detriment of others.
Customers expect to be able to connect with you on the medium they prefer and in many cases that is through the increasing use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media tools. Using one system to handle every customer query, no matter the channel through which it came, ensures that responses are consistent, easier to track and sharable.
Embracing social media as a means to connect with your customers can also be hugely beneficial in building your reputation and influencing potential new customers. A great interaction or service experience will often be shared by the customer quickly and positively through their chosen medium.
8. Make sure all is well on your own team!
A happy team means happy customers. An informed and educated team means informed and educated customers.
Customer support can often be a difficult task, so no matter how large or small your team is be sure that 2015 is the year to improve relationships with those people. Transparency, openness and approachability are some of the most important management qualities to building and maintaining excellent relationships with a team.