We recently touched on the importance of customer experience and how companies large and small are tuning into this relatively new business area. However, with the advent of customer experience, we can’t forget about good old customer service. Customer service is a company’s backbone, and plays a central part in any business’s success. Yet, in these ever-changing times, traditional customer service methodologies are no longer making the cut. Customers have higher expectations, there is greater competition in the market, and support is no longer an ancillary entity, but rather an integral part of the customer experience. As consumer demands increase, innovating with the changing atmosphere is necessary. As a small business, it’s the time to up the ante and refresh your customer service strategy.
Exceptional customer service begins with your employees
Your employees are a reflection of your company and their values should emulate those of your business. Hire people who understand and believe in your company’s principles. While you may hire candidates specifically for customer service roles, every employee should embody your business standards. Finding people who believe their purpose is to provide an exemplary experience for your customers is like striking gold, and you’ll notice how they approach customer service inquiries and naturally go the extra mile to ensure a positive customer experience. Their passion is contagious and those are the people you want on your team for the long-run.
Customer service is a team sport
It’s no longer a world where one person is responsible for resolving a customer’s problem. Promote collaboration from the get-go, and encourage communication between employees while troubleshooting with a customer. There is a way to implement this kind of workflow that reflects the company’s dedication to finding a solution quickly, and that the clients are not being passed around haphazardly. Openly discuss what’s happening with the client and engage them in a way that leaves them feeling like there are knowledgeable employees assisting them. As John Pepper, Founder & CEO of Boloco said,
“It just wows our customers when multiple people can be working–tag teaming–on an issue for one customer. The customer gets that. They feel it immediately. You might have me chiming in, and then you have the executive chef saying something, but we all see it, and so it’s a flowing discussion, but multiple people can take part, which is great.”
Create an environment where employees want to work together on behalf of your customers. Embrace that each person has a different skill set and area of expertise, and merging those together in one customer interaction echoes the organization’s level of commitment to customer satisfaction.
Connect with your customers
As a small business, this is where customer service can propel you to the next level with your clients. You have the ability to connect with people and get to know them as your business grows. Making your customers feel like they are a known entity within a business is invaluable. Once loyalty is established, buyers are more forgiving of small errors or oversights because they know you ultimately have their best interest at heart.
How can you build individual relationships? Start with the small things. Send an email on their customer anniversary or just reach out and say thank you for being a continued member of your community. Ask them what improvements they would like to see in your business. Showing your appreciation for each customer goes a long way and significantly, and positively, impacts customer lifetime value.
In our rapidly moving world, seconds matter to customers. Since self-service options are readily available to consumers, when they contact support for help, they really need it. Be mindful of how much time they may have already invested in trying to solve their issue on their own, and always aim to resolve issues and answer questions in the most efficient way possible. However, quality should not be sacrificed in the name of efficiency. Customers want value and are willing to spend extra time getting what they’re looking for. Having knowledgeable representatives who work collaboratively (as mentioned above) is a surefire way to provide a satisfying customer interaction.
Remember the end goal of every interaction is to inspire good will and positive feelings toward your company. Make customer service a part of your overall corporate strategy to ensure every employee understands the significance of their customer interactions.
What’s your customer service strategy? Share your ideas as well as tried-and-true tips in the comments below.
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.