It is expected that 89% of businesses will soon compete solely on customer experience. Strong customer service can often be built out of improving your company’s customer service. Great or terrible customer service is ultimately what many people come to associate with a business. If the choice is between your company and a competitor that is similarly matched product and feature-wise, it can make a huge difference. Customer service is often treated as something dreaded, when it’s just taking the extra effort to show your customers that you care. A more enjoyable customer experience makes customers much more likely to stay with your business instead of looking elsewhere. Strong customer service is a key component of a successful business model because it’s far more costly to acquire a new customer than to try to retain a current one.
So what steps can your company take towards improving its customer service?
1. Listen & Communicate With Your Customers
Customers often feel that businesses treat them as number. They feel that customer service teams stick to business protocols instead of adapting to customer concerns on an individual basis like the living breathing human beings they are. It doesn’t have to be a black and white. Train your employees to be listen to what your customers want and need as well as the issues they have complaints and concerns over. Helping them find solutions and incorporating their opinions into your business will make them feel like their opinion matters, making them more loyal to your company.
Train your employees to be observant. What issues are the precursor to your company losing customers? Your team should know this. CRM and other customer analytics software will help your team answer these questions through observing how your customers interact with your tech and your business. You could also give your most loyal customers the benefit of testing out your tech before release, so that your company can not only receive early feedback, but catch any possible issues before release. All of these things come together to give your team direction in how to better your business and meet their needs.
Also make sure that you communicate your goals to your customers. No one wants to be surprised by a sudden change without receiving any information on it advance. Your customers also have their own schedule and set of standards to abide. Their businesses also tackle daily operations and long-term goals. They need to be informed in advance of any changes. Taking the time to be considerate in that way makes a world of difference and they can often see potential issues that were overlooked by your team.
2. Be Observant and Offer New Solutions
Innovation comes in a variety of forms. It can be an entirely new approach or it could just be about improving a process or product that already exists. A company that works to provide more solution options than the standard is one that draws in more customers, because they have listened to or observed their customers. They observe how customers are using the tech and what they’re saying about it. They are using that information to take a proactive approach towards improving their tech. They are making it easier to use, more efficient, or less costly before it becomes the standard in the competitive landscape. For example, think about how you could integrate software more seamlessly into a customer’s business, making it more compatible with other crucial components of their operations. When your team provides a niche-solution that isn’t already an expected standard in your industry, it will also what can help your company stand out from the competition.
3. Make Their Success Part of Your Growth Strategy
The best advertisement is a happy customer. When your company team works to meet their own goals while also being dedicated to helping your customers do the same, it shows and is appreciated. Equip your customers with the ability to self-service. This starts by working with them to define SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant with a specific timeline in mind. This goal sets the pathway to giving them the skills to empower themselves, rather than rely on your customer service team to hold their hand each step forward.
One crucial step of helping your customers reach final goal is building their knowledge base as they familiarize themselves with your tech. Content marketing is a great way tool to do this. It’s when companies provide blogs, emails, and articles, with helpful information explaining your tech and why it works, as well as tips on how to help your customers improve their operations, meet their goals, and minimize challenges. Your help desk could also contribute to this through using frequently asked questions to create blogs or video that help customers fully understand the concept instead of just telling them how to fix it. When customers are given material that provides a short learning experience rather quick and dismissive solution, it improves their experience. Taking the time to empower your customers in this way will also help your company retain customers, since retaining a customer is far less costly than acquiring a new one, that can often make all the difference.
4. Increase Availability
Your customers don’t always run into problems or questions during your work hours. They also may want a solution more quickly than a heavy workday for your business will allow. This is why the business that still makes the effort to have help available during these tougher times remains high on the top of customers’ minds. The great thing about technology is that it makes it easier for businesses to do this. Some businesses incorporate their customer service into text messages, phone lines, and emails to increase their response times. Responding to messages based on urgency rather than when the order they came improves customer experience. There’s also companies who take advantage of chat boxes, which can be programmed to answer help questions and send customers to the right place for a solution. There are some chat boxes that can even handle transactions on their own. Availability is also about increasing customer engagement, which is key to building a relationship with customers and facilitating loyalty. Targeted email campaigns and social media posts that encourage input from customers will help your team create better tech and build a stronger business model.
5. Knowing How to Communicate With Your Customers
It’s important in a one-on-one situation to listen to each customer as an individual, but creating an email campaign for every single customer is impossible. This is why your team needs to observe trends in your customer behaviors, demographics, goals, and challenges to create similar groupings of them that will help your company serve their needs as best as it can.
Buyer personas is one tool to do this. Buyer personas will help your team determine what kind of person your customers are, how they like to communicate, which channels they use to communicate, what motivates them, and what they hope to get out of your business. Soon similar groupings of people will be more obvious to your company and this will allow your team to create more targeted campaigns that resonate more deeply with customers than casting a wide net of one-size-fits-all solutions. Once people experience a more tailored approach, they often find it difficult to go back to a company that doesn’t cater to their needs as well.