Effective customer service is crucial to business success in almost every industry.
Often, it’s the first and last contact your customers have with your business. This is the reason why good customer service simply isn’t good enough.
Excellent customer service means going beyond meeting your customer’s basic needs.
It involves much more than providing support in a timely and pleasant manner.
More importantly, it means doing everything possible so your customers are not merely satisfied. They’re actually happy with your products and services.
You need excellent customer service if you want your business to stand out and succeed. Today’s business environment is incredibly fierce. Products compete head-to-head in features. And where products are too similar, it is usually customer service that can tip the scales.
Observe how your competition handles customer service.
- Do they follow through with the standards they claim to have?
- Do they meet customer expectations?
Chances are, they don’t and that you can do better. That’s when you have an opportunity to gain even more business, and happy, loyal customers.
With that said, keep in mind that it’s not just about outperforming your competitors. Your customer service team is essentially the face of your company. It should also be about maintaining good relationships and serving with integrity.
Having a universal definition of excellent customer service would be difficult. The right processes would depend on details like the industry and brand.
But, in any business, it involves the following best practices:
Communication is key to any relationship. But, it’s especially crucial between your business and your customers.
When customers reach out to you with a problem, endear them with excellent customer service. Your staff isn’t just expected to solve problems. They should also be able to articulate a whole host of information to keep the customer in the loop. That includes explaining the cause of the problem and the process involved to solve it.
Additionally, your team should be able to handle customers with poor communication skills.
2. Be Positively Helpful
Typically, people who reach out to support teams are irate customers. Additionally, many times, they’re people who don’t know what they need or want.
One of the best attributes of excellent customer service is to be positively helpful in any way. That could involve walking a customer to a specific shelf location in your store. Or, it could also involve enthusiastically providing information about a product or service.
Generally, it means catering to your customer’s needs with a positive attitude.
3. Be Informative
Sometimes, excellent customer service is simply being informative.
Customers need to know what it is that your business provides, and how it can benefit them. They also need to know pricing or return policies. Overall, they need to understand why they should choose your business over another. Your support staff should have the ability to address all these questions.
Recognizing customer concerns, answering questions clearly, and demonstrating good product knowledge. These are all qualities that customers tend to trust.
4. Make a Good Impression
In customer service, the first impressionis often the only impression that matters. It’s essential to make it a good one, or you could risk losing customers before they even make a purchase. But, it goes without saying that it’s essential to make a good impression on every encounter.
Be friendly, say thank you, show respect, listen, be responsive, and be sincere. These are all cornerstones of an excellent customer service transaction.
5. Follow Up
Follow-ups are a huge part of providing excellent customer service. They show that you care enough to ease your customers’ concerns, even after the first encounter.
Follow-ups prove that your business isn’t only about making sales. It shows that you’re serious about making sure your customers are happy.
Follow-ups usually stem from an unpleasant encounter. However, checking back in is a great way to turn a previously unhappy customer into a loyal one. This is your chance to make things right and it could definitely make a difference in how a great number of people perceives your brand.
Training for Excellent Customer Service
Providing adequate trainingis the only way to guarantee excellent customer service. Make sure your employees know how to handle each type of customer. Also, equip them with the tools they need to make your customers happy.
When training your team to provide excellent customer service, note these best practices:
As a leader, it is you who will have the vision for what excellent customer service really means. It’s vital for you to articulate that vision and how it translates to each part of your business.
Keep in mind that excellent service isn’t limited to your customer service team. It all starts with your front line — the staff in your business that will meet and interact with your customers daily. It’s essential to make sure that all employees understand what you expect from them.
Require thorough knowledge.
Place considerable importance in training your staff with the ins and outs of all your products and services. With thorough training, they’ll have the knowledge to address customer customers with confidence. The more your employees know about your offerings, the better their service will be.
Reinforce all lessons, always.
Your vision for excellent customer service shouldn’t just be learned. It should be lived out. It doesn’t end with one training session. Reinforce the lessons so your employees know how to respond, no matter the situation. Providing ongoing training and support to your teams is critical. Yes, that would take quite a bit of time and effort. But, all that would be for the betterment of your customer service protocols. At the end of the day, it’ll all pay off.
Another way to provide excellent customer service is to use your customer’s feedback. Take the time to listen to your customers. Then, incorporate their ideas and suggestions into your business. Never ignore what your customers are saying. This is especially true when they’re already making the effort of letting you know.
Customer feedback is especially valuable for training purposes. It will also give you a better idea of how your business is performing in comparison to your competitors. Additionally, it will allow you to gather insights on other products and services your customers might be in search for.
Providing excellent customer service goes beyond the standards of politeness and courtesy.
It’s all about serving your customers to the absolute best of your abilities. This is true no matter what industry you’re in or what type of products and services you offer. Think of the old adage: Do to others as you would prefer is done unto you.
If you keep this simple mantra as the foundation of your management practice, you’ll do great. And, don’t forget to keep these tips in mind and share them with your employees when they have questions. It’s also a good idea to keep expectations posted in common areas, such as the break room of your establishment.
In any industry, the quality of available support can make or break a business. If you’re looking to improve your support team’s ability to provide excellent customer service, let us know how we can help you. We connect people with answers.
Updated April 30, 2019