The work of any business is not limited to providing services to clients. At all stages of communicating with them, the company offers them support – shows engagement in the client's issues, communicates, assists in making a choice, and forms a positive impression of work. All this interaction is included in the concept of customer service – a public or unspoken set of rules that determine how to contact the client.
In a competitive market, the degree of such service is critical for reducing churn, keeping and growing the client base, i.e., ultimately, profit growth.
What exactly is customer service?
The ultimate goal of business interaction is not to sell something to customers, but to make them regular clients. For the buyer to want to return, you have to attract them with something other than the product itself.
Client service is a culture of service at all stages of interaction with them. It needs to keep the buyers and make them come back in a good way. Competitors can also offer the same product as yours, but it will not be possible to copy the rules of customer service thought out to the smallest detail. At least because the whole service is built on the people who provide it. But to build outstanding client service in your company, it is essential to understand exactly what this means.
Why customer service is essential for business
Today for any business client service is the key weapon in the competition with colleagues on the shop floor. Of the two suppliers with the same services and prices, the client will choose the one with whom the communication experience was more pleasant. A satisfied client can tell colleagues about you, which will result in new customers with minimal costs. Furthermore, the greater the level of service and client happiness, the more likely it is that they will become your ambassador.
If the clients are dissatisfied, they will not just leave but also tell others about their negative experience – on the Internet or in private conversations. This will complicate the hunt for prospective clients and worsen the reputation of the company.
Practice shows that clients are ready to pay more for a positive experience. This works both ways: if your competitors have a higher price, but the service is better, customers can go to them. In these conditions, your customer base cannot be saved even by dumping – only by working out the service.
In case your service is superior, you can raise the price while maintaining relationships with clients. And, at the identical expense of supplies for providing the service, the greater the standard of service, the bigger the profit.
14 Customer Service Tips to Provide The Best Experiences
High-quality customer service is advantageous to any business. Each company should adapt its product or service to the preferences and expectations of a particular client. But certain standards are considered universal:
1. Communicate actively
Communication is the initial step in solving any problems with clients. If you ignore the clients or inappropriately communicate with them, it will be much more difficult to regain the lost favor with the company. In this case, the "bar of satisfaction" of the client increases and in some cases becomes unattainable for the company.
2. Do not forget to track the degree of client satisfaction
Use different tools to assess the level of client satisfaction. For instance, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will assist your team in keeping abreast of all business communications with the client. You can also request feedback to assess the quality of service. One more useful instrument is the call recording service. One of the most important reasons for using it is the growth of customer happiness. You will be able to record and listen to calls from site visitors, as well as collect detailed statistics on incoming calls and the work of your company's operators.
3. Do not be afraid of excessive communication
Sometimes communicating with clients is worth the extra effort. Listen to them carefully, offer solutions to their problems, show a willingness to assist in every way, and give more details in the conversation. Inform the customer about the time it may take to replace the goods or clarify unclear points from the account statement. If there is no "chain" of communication, the clients may consider that your initial promises to them have been forgotten and, accordingly, not fulfilled.
Constant communication is an essential component of providing excellent customer service. Of course, communication goes together with the capacity for listening: this will let you enter into a real dialogue and delve deeper into the essence of the problem.
4. Suggest solutions
Exceed your customers' anticipations – offer solutions to their issues in a larger volume than they expect. Sometimes it is not enough to replace a broken item with a new one or offer a refund. If a client has had a terrible experience when contacting your business, then most likely you will have to do something else to sweeten the pill. A postcard, for instance, will help to establish a relationship. An additional service or even a free bonus, such as a T-shirt with the company name, gives a much greater effect than a simple replacement of the product. This shows that the company is attempting to solve the problem.
Surpass the expressed and unspoken requests of your guests or customers, show exceptional hospitality, and inspire them. Maintain a warm attitude towards customers through acceptance of their problems, courtesy, and active interaction.
5. Show engagement
Try to get into each client to fully understand their problem. If you feel for yourself what emotions the clients experienced when they received a faulty product, only then will you understand how best to cope with this dissatisfaction. If employees can skip the whole process by themselves, the client will notice and appreciate it.
Empathy, reliability, responsiveness, confidence, and material guarantees are the main elements of excellent service. Empathy in client service is the ability to put yourself in the guest's place.
6. Personalize your response
It is extremely necessary to find an individual approach to each client. Finally, you came into the business to build a base of satisfied and loyal customers. It can be achieved by paying attention to each client, their necessities, and their wishes.
Be customer-friendly. This is constantly being talked about, but it is much more important to implement this principle in reality. Your main task is to delight the clients, regardless of the number of their purchases or the situation.
7. Be flexible
Each client is unique, so the same solution may not work for everyone. The Ritz-Carlton, for instance, provides its employees with good opportunities to resolve problems with customers. But if free SPA services were offered to every dissatisfied guest, it would satisfy only a small percentage of guests. Engaging with clients has to be standardized, but flexible, to find the best approach for everybody.
8. Strengthen your reliability
Ensure that you are perceived as a reliable company. Demonstrate reliability both in your goods and services and in client service. Yes, any situation can be corrected, but it is extremely important to inspire the client with confidence that this was an isolated incident and that such an experience will not happen again when the client returns.
9. Act quickly
Respond to complaints with lightning speed. Most customers have reached the threshold of their irritation even before contacting the company. Determine that the problem is very critical to the clients and that they need your specific reaction during the complaint.
Responsiveness is a manifestation of a mandatory, urgent response to customer service. Using various CRM systems will help you to control all your actions and make them on time.
10. Be memorable
The solution to the clients’ problems should not only cover their negative experiences but also form positive memories. If you offer clients a T-shirt with the company name on it, then you want them to have positive associations every time they put it on, and not a desire to throw it away as unnecessary junk.
Therefore, the client should not have negative memories. The memories should mix so that the guest remembers this situation as special. The skills we train with guests should completely change their experience. If this happens, eventually their negative experience will be replaced by a positive one."
11. Be responsible at every level
Customer service should be systematic for the whole company. The manager or president should follow the same principles that they expect from their team. It is important when customers see a good attitude towards themselves at all levels of interaction with your company.
Employees can be treated the same way as clients. The company's customer service starts at the senior management level. If you treat your employees the way you would like them to treat clients, if you notice this and encourage them for their diligence, they will exceed all your expectations.
12. Speak positively
Language is a crucial element of the art of persuasion, and clients perceive you or your company according to the words you use when communicating. All this is nonsense, you will say, but your ability to make small changes in colloquial speech can make clients satisfied.
Example: Imagine that a client calls your company to order, and the goods will be delivered only next month. If you respond positively, it will change the impression of your answer from the client.
- The answer is negative: "I will be unable to ship the items at this time. You will have to wait for next month. It is just not available."
- The answer using positive formulations: "The item will appear with us next month. I will place an order for you immediately. We will deliver it to you as soon as possible."
The first case is not negative, but the tone in which communication takes place seems rude and impersonal, such a tone may be misunderstood by the client. In other words, the second instance states the same thing as the first (the product is not currently available), but the emphasis is on when and how the client might get it.
13. Encourage repeat trades
Grow your business by offering only the best goods or services. If the clients are happy, they will remain loyal to your company and will return to you again.
You create a relationship with the client using a structure that implies immediate and effective support and trust. The viability of the business depends on the ability to please the client, alternatively, your activity will gradually decline. This is an essential component of providing excellent customer service."
14. Encourage effective customer service
Share your positive experience of working with clients within your company. Employees will see how other team members reacted in a particular situation and will understand how to solve similar problems in the future. The next time they work with a dissatisfied client, they will remember the previous experience of their colleagues and try to put it into practice.
Create amazing stories and share them internally. When examples of outstanding service appear, tell everyone in the company about it. And be sure to thank your employees for this. After all, it is such stories – inside or outside your company – that are fateful. It is these stories that allow us to serve customers more efficiently over time. By learning from your mistakes, you will be able to constantly anticipate problems and exceed the expectations of guests."
Gradually, this will help you form a culture of hospitality in the company. Cordiality, responsiveness, and transparency are the key to business success.
What do require to provide outstanding service?
Looking after the service has to be woven into the DNA of the company, and to be a part of its internal standard. And compliance with values is one of the criteria when choosing employees. Of course, this does not imply that you urgently have to change all the staff, but you will need to modify the tactics for selecting new candidates.
Rules and standards
Each client's request to any employee – be it a call center specialist, a salesperson, or a shift administrator - can be answered in different ways. And it is on this answer and whether it helped the buyers that their attitude towards your company depends.
You must develop special guidelines to regulate the behavior of each employee in different situations and prescribe conversation scripts. We warn you right away: you can't get off with simple politeness here.
If the employees are not initially focused on the client, an unforeseen situation will unsettle them: they either will not determine what to say outside the script, or they will answer the wrong way. Believe me, it will not be possible to avoid such situations: firstly, it is impossible to take into account everything in the rules at once, and secondly, buyers are very inventive.
5 final thoughts you need to remember to succeed in client service
1. Customer service assists in managing the customer's impressions of interaction with the company: if processes are established, each purchase can bring pleasure.
2. Shortly, customer service increases the average receipt and the number of purchases, and it can also be sold as a separate service.
3. The key point in client service is to treat the client with indifference. Every employee should be responsible for customer service in the company.
4. To measure the level of service, you can take a ready-made methodology and adapt it to yourself.
5. If the company establishes feedback with customers, admits its mistakes, and learns from competitors, client service will improve.