10 Tips to Outstanding Customer Service
An amazing customer experience comes down to this:
Sell a product or service that works and be nice to the customer about it.
According to customer service guru, Shep Hyken, it’s as simple as that.
Easy enough to say, but a bit more challenging to put into practice.
That’s why we’ve put together 10 tips to help deliver good customer service for your customers.
1. Provide multiple ways for your customers to get in touch with you.
In today’s day and age, it can still be difficult to get in touch with the customer service department just to help you solve a small issue. Providing different ways for customers to easily communicate directly with your business is critical. The goal should be that every customer should be able to reach you via phone, email, live chat, web, etc. And make sure they don’t have to wait more than is necessary to talk to you.
2. Acknowledge that you’ve received their request.
Most people will wait on end to try to get a customer service representative on the phone because this inherently means that if they talked to someone this means that the request is being worked on. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Whether you receive a request by phone or email or web, send the customer an acknowledgement of the case, including a case number and a contact person. We all like to know that we were heard.
3. Encourage immediate problem solving with with customers.
When a customer contacts you with an issue (via one of the channels in #1), get the right people to deal with the issue immediately. Don’t waste time by filing the problem for later, or discussing it in another meeting. Customers expect immediate gratification and their expectation should be fulfilled to the best of your ability.
4. Never assume the customer remembers what you told them previously.
Your customers are paying you to help them. And what you deliver is rarely the customer’s only focus. Keep track of all your customer’s conversations and presume that you will need to refresh their memory on events, key decisions, etc. Help them by sending summaries via email and what actions were taken to help fix the situation. Doing this will increase the effectiveness of your interactions and make your customer feel appreciated.
5. Never assume you’re meeting your customers’ needs.
Even if things seem like they might be going well, they might not be. What you don’t do in a customer relationship defines you just as much as what you do. Your customers have more to do than simply tell you when you are not doing well, or when you are not meeting expectations. Check-in frequently with your customers to ensure you are meeting their needs, and conduct anonymous customer satisfaction surveys to get additional feedback.
6. Give them new ideas and inspiration to improve their business.
A work day is filled with so much to do most people don’t have the time to look up and breathe, much less find the time to find new ideas and inspiration. Become a trusted advisor to your customers. Give them tips and tricks to help them get more out of their day or ideas on how to generate or save more money. This is an extra service that you can provide to your customers “just because” and goes a long way in creating customer loyalty.
7. Find every opportunity possible to thank your customers for their business.
Customer loyalty is not a given. Surprise your customers with your gratitude! Every time you send an invoice, visit a customer, or hit a milestone together, you have an opportunity to say thank you. Birthdays and major holidays are a great time to thank you customers for their business.
8. The customer is always right.
If you’ve missed your customer’s expectations, own up to it and then do whatever is necessary to fix it and follow up relentlessly until it’s fixed. Once the solution is in place, make sure you regularly follow up to ensure that the solution works and that your customer is satisfied. This same thing applies if you had sold to a customer that you have never sold to before.
9. Make sure you deliver on your promises.
Customers want a partner that they can count on. Only make promises that you can keep. Although this can be a challenge, set your customer’s expectations low and then work hard to always exceed those expectations. Deliver what you promise to your customers and you will begin to build trust with them. Fail to deliver on what you promise time and time again and watch your relationship erode to nothing.
10. Understand your customers and their needs.
It’s important not to talk past your customers or try to sell them something that they don’t need. Show them that you really care about them by asking good questions. Before you walk into a meeting with them, create a list of “top 15-20 questions” that you want to ask in order to get a good understanding of them and their business. You don’t have to ask all of them, but your forethought and willingness to listen will really go a long way in building rapport and trust.
So here are 10 tips…read them, discuss them, and make them yours. Even add some of your own.
It’s important to note that “outstanding customer service” means being better than average. If your customer service is on par with your competitors, your business is nothing special. And providing “outstanding customer service” has to be more than just one time. It needs to be all of the time, day in and day out.
Anyone can provide just one day of good customer service. What sets you apart from the others is the level and consistency of great customer service you can provide to your customers.