Here is an interesting statistic: The cost of acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one.
Clearly, it makes business sense to retain and engage one’s existing customers. The key to doing this is good customer service. Effective customer service is indispensible for business. You can offer freebies and lower prices to bring in new customers, but unless you have happy returning customers, your business won't be sustainable for long. The heart of good customer service is establishing a relationship with customers – a relationship that customers feel they would like to pursue.
Here are 7 tips that will help you improve your customer service:
- Listen to your customers
You must realise that your work doesn’t end by merely making a sale. It is after selling a product that your customer service comes into play. Always listen to your customers and ask what you can do to serve them better. Whenever customers encounter a problem, they tend to want to talk to a real person, not to a recorded message that lacks the human touch. Providing stellar customer service means answering incoming phone calls before the third ring, greeting the caller in a warm and friendly voice and being consistently courteous. By attentively listening to your customers, you can also come up with the best ways to help them.
- Provide prompt responses and concrete solutions
Customers don’t like to wait for answers. Having a robust help desk that is available round the clock whether online or via phone is a great way to offer service that’s of the same standard as larger companies with greater resources. Wrack your brains and come up with effective solutions to answer customer queries. Having a resourceful FAQs section on your website is one of the easiest ways to tackle customer queries. Offering live chat functionality or even informative articles can raise the bar of your customer service.
- Keep your promises
Trust is the foundation of effective customer service. If a delivery date has been agreed upon, make sure that you deliver, no matter what. This tenet also applies to customer appointments, return calls and emails.
- View all complaints as an opportunity to improve
Your customers truly understand your product and are your real critics. Make it a practice to resolve all customer complaints quickly and competently. Your reality is the customer’s perception of your product or service. If you get repeated complaints about certain aspects of your business, you must realise that that is your Achilles heel and you must fix it. You must continuously evaluate your progress and identify areas that need improvement.
- Train your staff
Your employees must receive training in how to handle customers in every possible situation. Train your staff to be affable and polite at all times and make sure they know what they are doing. Create a checklist of do’s and don’ts in order to ensure that every customer’s experience is a positive one.
- Accept your mistakes
We all make mistakes. Recognise when things have gone wrong and graciously accept the blame. Be humble and make a heart-felt apology. Sincerity can pacify an irate customer. Going out of your way to rectify the situation will gain the customer’s respect and loyalty.
- Go the extra mile to make your customers happy
In order to delight the customer and leap ahead of your competitors, your product or service must have the ‘wow’ factor. Don’t just deliver the bare minimum, aim to go that extra mile to really make your customer feel special. It doesn’t have to cost much but small thoughtful touches can make your brand memorable. For instance, you could add a personalised thank you note with every order; send birthday greetings to customers; give an unexpected free gift to your loyal customer or deliver a solution that far exceeds the client’s brief and expectations. If customers have a positive experience with your product or service, they are more likely to become returning customers.
Top-notch customer service is all about taking care of your customers, making them feel special, efficiently resolving their grievances and keeping your promises.
Bring joy and positivity in your interactions with customers. Remember service with a smile never goes out of style!
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