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A common reason many customers stick with a company and provide them their business is that the company offers great customer service. It’s widely known that companies with poor customer service likely won’t stay in business for long, so it is imperative that your company offers only the best service available. The question is, how can you do this especially since much of it is now done online?
Here are four ways to ensure that your company offers the best customer service – on and offline.
1. Ask questions
It can be easy to discount customers as not knowing what they want or being overly demanding, but in reality, they are the ones supporting your business. Without your customers, you won’t survive. One of the best things you can do to keep your customers is to get them on your side and invested in your company.
How do you do this? Ask them what they want and deliver on it. You should take steps to contact your customers – new and return – what they would like to see from you. If you run a small, local garden store and make an effort to reach out to your customers asking them what plants and material they would like to see you carry. Then, when you get your answers, try your best to meet the requests and communicate with your customers letting them know of the new products or changes.
Customers will see that you are listening to them and be generally more willing to return, often noting the great customer service. One of the best places to ask questions these days is on the platforms where your customers spend most of their time – most likely social media. Who knows, the proper question could net you next years big sale or product line!
2. Talk about both good and bad
This tip is specifically aimed at your social media presence. It is now normal for customers to take to the networks to voice their complaints or unhappiness. If you ignore these complaints or sweep them under the rug, your brand and sales might take an unfortunate dive.
When you see complaints online, it would be a good idea to address these. Many experts agree that being candid and open while replying in a professional manner could go a long way in showcasing your customer service. If you can, try to engage them in a more personal manner like over the phone. If customers see that you are not only listening to their grievances but also doing something about them, you will most likely see an increase in loyalty.
Taking action is important for excellent customer service. If your agents or employees ask questions and are willing to deal with both the good and bad criticism, they should also be willing and free enough to act.
If you think about it, almost every company with excellent customer service has employees who take action to fix something when they see a problem. They don’t have to go to their boss for approval, they just do. The key here is they need to communicate both with their teammates and the customers on what they are doing or will do in the near future.
Beyond that, utilizing social media and other online channels to monitor conversations is important. If you come across a complaint or request, following up and keeping the conversation going is great customer service. By communicating, acting and following through either online or offline, your company will show that you take customer service seriously.
4. Be approachable
Think about the last time you were in a store and the staff were sitting around chatting. Did you feel bad about going up to one of them and asking a question? Nine times out of ten, unapproachable staff will cause lost sales. The same goes for your online presence.
If you have a website that is hard to navigate or customers have to go through hoops to find contact information, they will more than likely not even bother to contact you. This means you will lose the sale before you even know about it.
This also extends to your social networks. Because so many people use this medium to connect, it’s important to be approachable here as well. If don’t allow customers to comment on your Facebook Page or add suggestions on Google+ due to fear of spam or too many negative comments, then you could be turning customers away. Sure, there will be criticism online, some of it quite harsh but this could be a good thing especially if all interaction on social media is criticism. This shows that your customer service or product isn’t working and is providing you with a way to identify what needs to be changed.
In general, don’t delete negative comments as long as they are fair and try your best to respond to requests. This will indicate to customers that you care and can help convince them to do business with you.
If your company is looking for a better support system for customer service or ways to improve the connection with customers, contact us today to see how we can help.
Published on 21st August 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.