Nothing can be more rewarding for a business than knowing you’re providing exceptional customer service, catering to your customer’s every need, and being able to solve any problem in a timely and positive manner. Businesses are bound to run into problems or errors, but what matters more is how you handle them and ensure that you retain loyal customers rather than driving them away through negative customer service.
Getting a good handle on customer service can be tricky if you’re a small team or if you’re not quite sure what your consumers are looking for in terms of customer service. However, no matter your situation, good customer service is always possible with the right dedication and know-how — even if you’re operating as a one-man-band.
5 Signs Your Customer Service Needs Improvement
- Your customers have directly told you that they’re not happy with your customer service
- You’re struggling to handle a high volume of customer service queries, which means customers are left waiting too long, or perhaps even missed altogether
- You’re only offering one or two lines of communication for customer service needs
- You don’t have a dedicated customer service representative or team
- You feel as though you aren’t connecting with customers as much as you should be
How to Improve Your Customer Service
Always Seek Customer Feedback
You’ve probably been party yourself to one of the “how did we do?” feedback surveys after speaking to a particular customer service representative — and the truth is, they’re important. You may believe you’re offering exceptional customer service, but you may find your customers still left wanting if you ask for your feedback.
It may be that you weren’t able to provide all solutions, only some, or perhaps they’d appreciate service in a different way next time.
You won’t know how your customer feels regarding customer service if you don’t encourage their feedback, whether positive or negative. This is crucial to understanding what your customer wants from your customer service and where you may need to improve.
Always ask your customer if they wouldn’t mind filling out a short survey or answering a few quick questions after you have handled their query. Most customers who have a negative experience will want to tell you about it in a feedback form.
Make Sure You’re Offering All Channels of Communication
Gone are the days when customers will simply phone one direct telephone number and speak with a representative. Customers now expect many options to suit them when it comes to how to contact your customer service team. This especially includes online options in which customers can instantly or directly message rather than having to actively phone up.
This means that if you’re not offering many different channels of communication, you’re already failing at your customer service before your customer has even contacted you with a problem. It can cause further frustration for a customer if they can’t contact you through their own preferred method.
With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to offer omnichannel customer service. This is so that customers have many different options to contact you. What’s important to remember is that you also need to manage your omnichannels effectively to ensure positive customer service.
Make Sure to Have a Customer Service Team
Small businesses may not be able to have a fully committed team, but as long as you have at least one individual whose sole job is to handle customer service queries, you’re already on the right path to improvement. Customer service at an exceptional level takes dedication, which means it’s difficult to offer a high level of service if customer service is one of the many responsibilities an employee may have.
Customer service tasks should never be a side-job or an afterthought, so if you’re juggling many responsibilities and finding your customer service attention lacking, you may want to outsource or hire someone (or a team) to focus on customer service.
Be Transparent with Customers
Honesty is everything when it comes to dealing with customers, and especially customer service and complaints. If you declare that queries will always be resolved within a certain timeframe, you have to make sure that they will be, or risk disgruntling a customer further.
Good customer service isn’t always about resolving a query as quickly as possible (although, of course, that should always be the intention) but more about solving a query thoroughly and in the right way, no matter how long it takes.
A customer would usually be more willing to wait a longer time for a complete solution rather than have a quick solution that may not be the right one. Honesty is always important; if you’re a small team and customer service queries take a little longer to answer, let your customer know the honest timeframe for a response so that they’re aware from the very beginning and not thinking that you’ve forgotten about them.
Be open and transparent with how long they can expect a solution to take, and always keep them updated with a realistic timeframe rather than what you think they might want to hear.
Be a Person
While consumers may favor online communication methods or instant replies like live chat, that doesn’t mean they want to speak to a robot. Auto-replies and AI technology can be extremely helpful as long as the right solutions can be provided, but don’t underestimate the power of being an individual with a personality who shows compassion to a customer problem.
If customers have a problem or are making a complaint, kindness and understanding are key as a starting point. Customers will react more positively to interactions with human beings and those who can empathize with their situation.
So the basics of offering names, using names, good manners, and empathetic questions will always make a difference to a customer service conversation.
Using these key points, you can be sure to improve your customer service and work in the best way to advance those customer interactions.
Article by Born Realist