Great customer service is what keeps your customers happy and keeps them coming back. But how and where customer service happens has changed, and businesses today find that much more customer service activity is taking place online.
Here are four ways to ensure that your company offers the best customer service – online and off.
1. Ask questions
It can be easy to discount customers as not knowing what they want or being overly demanding, but in reality, they are the ones supporting your business. Without your customers, you won’t survive. One of the best things you can do to keep your customers happy is to get them on your side, and keep them invested in your company.
How do you do this? Ask them what they want and deliver on it. Take steps to contact your customers – new ones and return business – and find out what they would like to see from you. For example, a small, local garden store could make an effort to reach out to customers and ask what plants and material they would like to see you carry. When you get your answers, try your best to meet the requests and then complete the circle by communicating with your customers and letting them know of the new products or changes.
Customers will see that you are listening to them and be more willing to return, often noting the great customer service. A great place to ask questions like this is to be where your customers spend much of their time – social media. A well worded question could net you next years big sale or product line!
2. Talk about both good and bad
This tip is specifically aimed at your social media presence. It is now normal for customers to take to the networks to voice complaints or unhappiness. If you ignore these complaints or sweep them under the rug, your brand and sales might take an unfortunate dive.
When you see complaints online, its a good idea to address them. Many experts agree that being candid and open while replying in a professional manner goes a long way in showcasing your customer service. If you can, try to engage complainants in a more personal manner, like over the phone. If customers see that you are not only listening to their grievances but also doing something about them, you will most likely see an increase in loyalty.
Taking action is important for excellent customer service. If your agents or employees ask questions and are willing to deal with both good and bad criticism, they should also be willing and free enough to act.
A company with truly excellent customer service generally has employees who take action to fix something when they see a problem. They don’t have to go to their boss for approval, they just do what needs to be done. The key here is they need to communicate both with their teammates and their customers on what they are doing or will do in the near future.
Beyond that, utilizing social media and other online channels to monitor conversations is important. If you come across a complaint or request, following up and keeping the conversation going is great customer service. By communicating, acting and following through, either online or offline, your company will show that you take customer service seriously.
4. Be approachable
Think about the last time you were in a store and the staff were sitting around chatting. Did you feel bad about going up to one of them and asking a question? Nine times out of ten, unapproachable staff will cause lost sales. The same goes for your online presence.
If you have a website that is hard to navigate, or if customers have to jump through hoops to find contact information, they will more than likely not even bother to contact you. This means you will lose the sale before you even know about it.
This also extends to your social networks. Because so many people use these networks to connect, it’s important to be approachable here as well. If you don’t allow customers to do things like comment on your Facebook Page, or add suggestions on Google+, out of fear of spam or too many negative comments, then you could be turning customers away. Sure, there will be criticism, and at times it can get harsh, but getting criticism such as this can also reveal to you a flaw that you might have missed. In other words, criticism can provide you with a way to identify those things that need to be changed.
In general, it’s not a good idea to delete negative comments as long as they are fair, and you try your best to respond to requests. This will indicate to customers that you care and can help convince them to do business with you.
If your company is looking for a better support system for customer service, or for ways to improve your connection with customers, contact us today to see how we can help.