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Don’t you love it when you visit a restaurant and they treat you like royalty? Even the little things, like the server asking how your day is going, can make a huge difference. Do you agree? That’s the impact of customer service. This impact will set you apart from your competitor. Ask yourself; Which store would you rather visit? The one where the owner says “Hello! How is it going?” or the one where the owner is a grouch who hardly looks at you? I think you have got my point! That is why the business world often refers to the customer as ‘King’ or ‘Queen’, or even ‘god’ in certain instances, like in Japan.
A positive customer service experience is one of your most important assets, especially in this digital age, when there are no barriers to moving to a competitor and your customers are seconds away from sharing their experience with the masses. One bad review is all it takes for your empire to come crashing down. Think simple and you will realise that your business exists only because of the patronage of your customers.
Your product quality alone is not enough to secure a substantial market share. In today’s market, it is highly likely that a competitor will emerge with a similar or a better version of what you are offering. Therefore, your customer service practices will play a key role in differentiating you from your competitors in the market. In 2019, 70% of overall customer satisfaction was found to be based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey). Hence, if you want to retain your customers, you had better treat them right.
Investing time and effort to build lasting relationships with your customers could be invaluable to your business success. Following are a few customer service tactics you can use to improve your service.
Be responsive and attentive
If your customers feel like you are neglecting them, they can and they will switch services. Always remember that the customer is able to escalate any issue to the next level of responsibility. So, always make sure that the customer gets immediate feedback with as many follow-ups as possible through to resolution. If at any moment a customer has raised an issue, make sure you address it immediately and take actions to resolve it without delay. Additionally, if there is a justifiable delay in resolution, ensure that this is effectively communicated to the customer. We don’t want to keep the king or queen waiting, do we?
Feedback from your customer about your product is of high importance. You will be able to pinpoint the level of customer satisfaction through carefully analysing customer feedback. Feedback can be taken into consideration – indeed, should be actively solicited – and used to continuously improve your products. This will further improve the quality of your products and thus, the overall customer satisfaction.
After being in business for several years, you will realize that sometimes customers just want to vent. Allow them to do so. Be agreeable and listen to their issues carefully, validate their feelings by being sympathetic and ask questions if needed before you offer a solution. You will realize that regardless of what solutions you offer, you have already done a great deal by listening to them and caring about their issues.
Be polite and receptive (remember, the customer is the KING or QUEEN)
Whether the customer is right or wrong, empathise with their position. If a customer gets angry at you and starts shouting, what do you do? You remain calm and apologise – whether it’s your fault or not, the customer is upset with your organisation. Take personal responsibility for rectification. That is; say “I will take care of it” rather than “we will look into it”. This kind of personal accountability will make the customer much more confident about their problem being solved. Keep in mind that the way you handle a complaint can convert a dissatisfied customer into a delighted one. If you check the reviews for a business on Booking.com, Facebook or Google Maps, you will see examples of where negative sentiments have been turned into positive reviews because of calm and effective customer service staff responding immediately to customers.
Let’s say you are running a cleaning service and your client calls you with a complaint that the office was not properly dusted, what do you do? Remember, a customer’s complaint about your business can work to your advantage if you know how to turn the situation around and create a loyal customer. Apologizing and offering to either send your cleaners back to properly dust the place, offering a discount or free cleaning may be the best way to handle the situation. This will make the client feel valued, and make him or her a loyal customer. Congrats, with just one simple gesture and action you have retained a customer!
Is this enough?
Probably, but not always. In the current context, customer service is transforming the whole experience into something bigger than being treated equal. It is about offering a personalised experience for each and every customer based on their needs. For example, an online garment retail organization should have a website that offers personalised windows to each shopper depending on their past purchases. Seems futuristic? It’s actually the current trend in marketing. Go check it out!
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