What is excellent customer service and why is it important? If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how frustrating it can be when clients are not happy with you, whether or not it’s your company’s fault. With websites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Google reviews, excellent customer service is more important than ever to get right. Poor customer service can literally crush your business. Within minutes hundreds, thousands, even millions of prospective customers can see your company’s bad reviews. On the flip side they can also see your good online reviews.
Learn how you can get ahead of negative reviews before they are posted online while boosting positive reviews on review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook (and a whole lot more) with 5starRocket online review management platform.
In this post we’ll focus on providing excellent customer service. You should exceed client expectations, and create loyal customers with repeat business, which leads to referral and new customers finding you. We will highlight ten pillars to excellent customer service which will build loyalty and drive repeat customers to your brand.
Be aware of the three things every customer wants
When it comes to customer service, psychology plays a key role in how customers perceive your company’s customer service.
Customers need to be heard
Customers need to be heard, but especially when they have a problem or question. This is important to remember and ensure your employees understand this.
If you have a customer that’s heated and steaming mad, let them vent. Often that’s all the client needs. Maybe they want to share how amazing you are, provide them with a path for this feedback via chat/email or phone calls. In the increasingly digital age, it is more important than ever to ensure you are there to listen to the good, and bad, from your customers perspective. Customer feedback and how you respond plays a huge role in your business online reputation.
Customers want to be understood
Make sure your staff asks questions then confirm they understand your customer’s concerns. Often, miscommunication takes place and the staff is working to solve a problem that is totally off the mark while not addressing the issues your client actually has. Clearly define their complaint or problem, then work to solve it. Having an escalation path is helpful too, should you have a person on your team that is an excellent customer service specialist.
Clients want to be cared for
They need to feel important. You need to show concern for them and display genuine effort to solve problems. Accommodate their requests regardless if you can immediately solve them or not. Your customer wants to feel the effort is being made. You might not be able to accommodate their request, but the customer will appreciate the effort.
Smiles are contagious. When you’re greeted by a smiling representative that appears happy and glad to see you, it’s your instinct to smile back. You’re ready for your interaction with this company. Even if you’ve had a bad day, when support personnel does it right, customers will smile back. You may realize you’re grumpy and consciously change your demeanor but your instinct is to smile back and even when you’re angry. Obviously, this will work best if your interactions with the customers are in person 🙂 But, you can feel a smile through a phone call too.
Make sure your support team, or sales staff, or whoever is dealing with the customer makes eye contact. Eye contact shows that you’re ready to engage and ready to help them. It shows you care about what they’re about to tell you and you’re listening to them, be engaged. Make sure you use eye contact in combination with a genuine smile.
Make a friendly comment to your customer. It could be about the weather or light-hearted current events. You can even compliment the client on their attire, the vehicle they are driving, or something else on display at the time of the interaction. That said, be sincere and use discretion when complimenting on topics outside the scope of the customer/business interaction.
Not every customer is going to physically walk into your business. Successful navigation of phone conversations is a must for successful support, (and sales) outcomes. After years on the phone, we can assure you that building rapport over the phone is a skill which is developed and pays HUGE dividends. Here is an article that shares some solid observations on how to build phone rapport with your clients.
Remember, your clients want to be heard and understood. The only way to do this is to really listen to what they’re saying. Acknowledge and repeat it back to them so you’re sure we’re addressing the right issue. Often angry customers will stop pursuing further action after they know they’ve been heard and that you care about them. They will share their feelings, (good and bad), with online review sites or social media, which means you need an online review management platform to stay ahead of the game.
When your customers are having issues, really listen to what they’re telling you, then confirm you understand what the issue is. Tell them, “I understand how you feel”, “I understand where you’re coming from”, whether they’re right or wrong. Put yourself in their shoes, do they have a valid reason for being unsatisfied? This will often allow them to calm down, and be less aggressive. Even if you cannot deliver the exact outcome they’re looking for, by empathizing with them they’re more likely to accept a more reasonable solution, that’s best for everybody involved. Empathy is a huge part of excellent customer service.
Make it company policy that all emails and phone calls must be returned within 24-hours. If this is not something you can commit to, you must determine what time-frame would be manageable. Be very clear with your customers that this is the timeframe you work within. Customers are usually very accepting, provided you’ve been clear with them from the onset and you follow through.
If you are trying to deal with an irate, rude, complaining or demanding customer, never lower yourself to their level of behavior. Continue treating your customers with respect, and in turn, they will respect you. They might just be having a bad day and could well regret their bad behavior.
Never try to win an argument with a customer. If you do win, you might have alienated the customer and lost their business forever. We all understand that a customer is often wrong, but it’s not a good idea to start defending yourself: focus on what’s occurred and see how you can best resolve the situation. Both parties being happily unsatisfied is often a great outcome.
Go above and beyond to come up with a solution to the problem. You may have to get creative and do things that you might not have thought of. If a client is so dissatisfied with your company’s product or service that the only remedy is to give a full refund, it will most likely be in your best interest to do refund them. You don’t want to lose money on a regular basis, but hopefully, this occurrence is rare. Track your complaints and issues in a spreadsheet so you can see if there are trends in complaints, or in positive customer reviews. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to provide solutions before issues hit the support team.
You need to make sure that the customer is a hundred percent satisfied once their issues have been resolved. Review the remedy with them again. Gain agreement that the remedy is adequate. You don’t want to provide a solution for a client and then find out later through Yelp or the Better Business Bureau that the client actually was not satisfied with your solution. Clarifying the remedy for your client situation will save you a lot of grief. In the end, this might not result in them being happy, but hopefully, they will feel like they have been heard, and that you have worked to resolve their issue with integrity.
You want to make sure each of your customers had a great experience with your company. Your brand’s reputation matters. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, following up with your customers allows you to capitalize on referral business, repeat customers and positive reviews. We recommend following up with clients after the sale. This can be in the form of an email asking them for their feedback on the experience.
5starRocket allows your customers an opportunity to provide feedback. Satisfied clients are able to share their feedback on review sites which can be viewed by millions. Those that are not satisfied will provide your feedback through the platform, likely before they choose to splatter it all over social review sites. Learning from your customer base through excellent customer service is a huge opportunity to separate you from your competition.
Final Thoughts: Excellent customer service is an essential part of any business. Be sure to make it a top priority. Providing excellent customer service will increase your customer loyalty and get you more repeat business & referrals. Having an online review management platform is just part of the strategy to deliver excellent customer service.