Customer Service Tactics to Help You Beat the Competition
- Why adding a personal touch is important
- 4 customer service tactics every business can use
- Why making it easy to do business with you is key to support success
Customer service is one of your strongest assets, but are you doing all you can to keep customers happy? Despite the advance in technology and new ways that consumers shop, good old-fashioned customer service is still highly valued.
According to a survey by O2 published in the Business Report, 70% of people won’t forgive a business if they receive bad customer service.
And furthermore, 71% of consumers expect that they should be able to reach companies quickly and easily.
And not only that, further stats from the report include:
- 67% would tell eight of their friends or family members about the unsatisfactory service
- 20% consider it important to be able to send an email to a brand at any time of the day
- 25% admit they would never use a small business that is not available online
- 78% research a business online before choosing to do business with them
So how can you keep improving your customer service?
Do you need to go back to basics or should you get creative?
What you should be doing is to focus on developing customer service tactics that suit your customers and your business goals, but finding this balance isn’t always easy – yet doing it will put you ahead of the competition.
Four Customer Service Tactics for 2018
As we begin a new year, we’ve put together four customer service tactics that you can implement in 2018 that have proven successful time and time again. Let’s get started!
1. Become more responsive
You must respond quickly to customer inquiries, whether they contact you by phone, email or social media. If you fail to do so, customers will lose patience and go elsewhere. In order to improve your response time and track how well you are doing, use customer service software.
Customer service software provides detailed reports on when and how you respond to customers and tracks how each one of your customer service team is performing. You can then reward exceptional service and provide further training to those in your team that are lagging behind.
Make sure your employees focus on how important it is to respond quickly to customers and consider implementing “Service Level Agreements”. And while your employees might not have the answer to a customer inquiry immediately, they should at least send a response which includes:
- Acknowledgement of receipt
- Summary of the message to show it has been understood
- Confirmation that you are taking further action
- An estimated response time
It is important you keep the customer informed so they know you are doing all you can. And remember to be honest – if you are unsure, it’s usually best to say so. Last year, Social Bakers looked at how companies around the world use Facebook. The study revealed that although response rates on Facebook continue to grow, 33% of customer queries are left unanswered!
And so, if you’re going to contact a brand through Facebook, don’t expect a response to each one of your questions. But, not all social media brand pages are created equal as Twitter response rates appear to much faster.
In fact, a report by the Wall Street Journal highlighted that travel brands are among the fastest to respond to customer queries on Twitter; with American Airlines responding to 80% of all customer query tweets within 15 minutes – Now that’s impressive!
The bottom line – make sure your customer service team is provided with the right customer service tools and are giving their full attention to every communication channel.
2. Interact with your customers
Getting to know your customers will enable you to more effectively meet – and even anticipate – their needs. Use social media, email and phone calls to find out about your customers things like;
- What do they like?
- What don’t they like?
- Are they happy with your service?
Finding the information you need is all about asking the right questions. Engaging with existing customers is vital, but it is also important to interact with potential customers and those who shop with your competitors. Interacting is about starting a conversation, getting to know them and telling them all about you. Exchange ideas, listen to their feedback and be open to criticism so that you can learn from it.
Knowledge and feedback doesn’t have to come straight from your customers either. Your employees are on the front line and will pick up on what your customers are thinking and feeling. Encourage their feedback too.
3. Don’t forget, you’re a human
“People buy from people” is often quoted in sales training courses for good reason and it’s been something of a customer service motto for many decades. We often get caught up talking about tone of voice guidelines and brand personalities but some of the most successful companies are breaking these rules. It’s simply humans interacting with humans, and consumers are more than happy with it!
In fact, a study by Dimensional Research found that 65% of surveyed respondents were happy with a customer service interaction because the person who helped them was “nice”.
Don’t be just another faceless corporation with no human touch. You are a human with a unique personality, emotions and interests, so act like one. Your customers are much more likely to stay on your side if they see you as a person, just like them.
4. Make it easy to do business with you
Look at your complete customer journey from when they first hear about your business to eventually making a purchase. Now look at how you can make this journey as easy as possible. If you can save your customers time, they will love you for it. And if you can think like a customer, make a note of anything in the process that appears difficult.
If you struggle to do this yourself, ask your friends or colleagues to help. Next, take a look at the competition. What are they doing wrong and, more importantly, what are they doing right? The best way to start is to use simple, clear language in all of your communication so they understand what the product is, what they can do with it and what they have to do to buy it.
A great example of this is from Riverford Organics, who deliver more than 47,000 boxes of organic food every week. Using their customer service feedback, they were able to identify that some people find a box of fresh vegetables turning up to be quite intimidating as they do not know what to do with it.
Armed with this knowledge, Riverford Organics did something very simple – they provided recipes on their website. They also offer a dedicated phone line that customers can call for information about products they are not familiar with.
Start making changes to your customer service routine today.
You can simply pick up the phone and interact with a customer, or have lunch with a customer service team member. And remember to always focus on the customer. If you can take away the hassle and make them smile, you will beat the competition every time.
What customer service tactics do you have for beating the competition?