World-class customer service is nowhere near as challenging as people think, but an alarming number of companies don’t bother to even worry about it. They either don’t understand how greatly it affects their profits, or they just don’t know how to actually make it happen. Here are 7 tips for ensuring your online business is top of the class when it comes to serving your customers.
Plan in Advance
Don’t wait until you have a customer service breakdown to start thinking about how to handle difficult situations. Think about what constitutes good service and create a customer service manifesto. Establish a system for dealing with all sorts of customer-related issues. Customer service should never be improvised.
Treat Everyone with Respect
As the old cliché goes, ‘The customer is always right.’ Of course, they aren’t always right. But what this saying really means is that no matter how wrong a customer might be, treat them with the utmost respect. Even an angry customer is worthy of your focus and time. Create a culture of respect within your company, both for internal interactions among employees and externally when dealing with customers.
Make It Loud and Clear
Broadcast your philosophy and standards loudly and clearly. Make sure that everyone who has a touch-point with customers, no matter how small, understands your customer service philosophy. All of your employees, whether full-time, part-time or consultants, should be on the same page.
Listen and Act
Listen to your customers and act on all feedback. Seek ways to get their opinions and have them share their experiences with you. A good company uses this feedback to improve its operations and products, and customers can see the difference. Always be attentive and responsive.
Stay Customer Focused
When you have a problem with a customer, your goal isn’t to get rid of them or to save your company’s reputation. Your goal is to help them solve the problem. This is what it means to be customer-focused. Take on their problem as if it were your own and reach a solution that makes both parties satisfied.
Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver
While you should bend over backwards to help your customers, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. If you make promises you can’t keep in the hopes of pleasing a customer, you’ll end up doing more damage than good when you break that promise. Explain these limitations in your customer service training manuals.
Spy on the Competition
If your customer service beats that of the competition, you’ll quickly gain a reputation for it. To know where you stand, keep an eye on your competition. Use the Internet to spy on them and read what customers are saying about them on forums, review sites, and social media sites like Facebook. When you know where they stand, it’s easy to figure out how to top them.
Finally, remember that customer service is something that takes constant attention and improvement. You don’t just create a set of standards, train your staff, and forget about it. Keep listening to your employees and customers, and change your policies and protocols whenever the situation demands it. Consistent and continuous improvement is how you keep your customer service at the highest level.