Customer service is a powerful tool for businesses. A whopping 92% of consumers are more likely to make additional purchases with a company after a positive customer service experience. Those kinds of retention numbers are staggering and point toward high growth potential for companies that consciously focus on the service they provide.
Even with the best product on the market, you need quality customer service to build a successful business. If you think you’ve tried it all, from training seminars to top-of-the-line phone sets, think again. Here are five more ways you can enhance your customer service to become a five-star company for every customer:
- Include Self-Help Options
Let’s face it: there are days when you just don’t want to talk to another human being. Whether your customers want to avoid awkward conversations or desire a more convenient solution, self-help options will only make them happier. They can always contact an agent if they get stuck.
An up-and-coming solution for businesses is the virtual agent. An intelligent virtual agent, or IVA, can handle numerous routine tasks like account inquiries or information requests. This form of automation helps customers get answers to their questions more quickly and can lend a hand even after normal business hours.
Employing a customer service team that can take calls around the clock is expensive. For a small business, it probably isn’t even necessary. An IVA is a happy medium, providing service to customers during off hours at a fraction of the cost.
- Identify Customer Touchpoints
Touchpoints are the times and places a customer comes into contact with your brand. There are many touchpoints throughout the customer journey, beginning even before the customer walks in your (real or virtual) door. Identifying all your customer touchpoints will help you spot areas of improvement you might normally overlook. Here are just a few examples:
Prior to an Encounter
There are two large touchpoints you should be aware of. First, word-of-mouth advertising is very potent. If one customer leaves with a bad customer service experience, they’ll be sure to share it with friends and family. They may even leave a negative review online.
How can you make word of mouth work in your favor? First, provide a high-quality customer experience (obviously), then encourage those satisfied patrons to write online reviews. Solicit testimonials from known fans and spotlight them on your website. These will have a positive influence on customers you’ve yet to meet.
Next is social media, a powerhouse of connectivity and information in the world today. Many brands are using social media to connect with consumers. The way you post and comment should be an extension of your customer service strategy.
During an Encounter
These touchpoints are the ones you’re likely most familiar with. How your employees treat employees on the phone and in the building are key components of customer service and the most common touchpoints. These encounters can also be broken down.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you have customer touchpoints over the phone, in the aisles, and at the point of sale. In each encounter, your customer service reps must be friendly, prompt, and eager to meet the customer’s needs. Your sales team will be part of the customer journey, and they, too, need to keep their customer service skills on point.
Do you send follow-ups to your customers? Reaching out after a sale shows customers that you’re devoted to their satisfaction even after you’ve received their money. Being easily accessible and friendly after the sale is a foundational pillar of a good customer service mindset.
Identify some key touchpoints for your business. Where can you improve? Small adjustments can make a large impact without having to stand your entire operation on end.
- Ask for Feedback
One of the best post-sale actions your business can take is to ask customers for feedback. This allows you to get solutions to your customer service problems directly from the source. After all, who better to tell you how to improve your customer service than the customers themselves?
The best way to receive feedback is online. This way customers don’t feel pressured to rush through their responses and can give them some honest thought. Additionally, online responses are more easily recorded and organized so you can use concrete data to guide future decisions.
Request feedback in a way that’s useful. More specific, open-ended questions will provide actionable feedback, while standardized questions will enable statistical analysis. Asking customers to rate their experience on a scale from 1 to 10 leaves a lot of room for interpretation. A five-point Likert scale will likely be more helpful.
- Implement CRM Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps organizations track and manage customer information more easily. The best part is that a CRM works across all departments, from marketing and sales to shipping and delivery. Up-to-date information is accessible from the top of your organization to the bottom.
This universal access to customer information makes it easier for service reps to provide tailored assistance to each customer. A CRM also helps teams craft personalized strategies to improve customer experience and problem-solve for individuals. Customer service becomes an ongoing process and not a single contact.
There are dozens of viable CRM software options available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Conduct some free trials and consider your budget to find the software that will suit your organization best.
- Go Above and Beyond
You should never settle for the minimum customer service required to get by. To really wow your customers and make a long-lasting impact, you need to go above and beyond their expectations.
How can this be done? Start by focusing on results and not responses. Train your customer service team to respond to questions and concerns with action instead of scripted answers. Walking a customer from point A to point B is better than pointing them in the general direction.
Next, look for ways to surprise the customer. A small coupon code or a kind word might not seem like a lot, but it will be unexpected. Catch your customers off guard in a good way, and they’ll leave smiling.
When you treat your customers well, they’ll become loyal for life. Implement these actions,and watch the customer service magic happen.