The quality of your customer service will determine much of your startup’s success. Treat your consumers well and not only will they come back for more, they will be more willing to overlook the inevitable hiccup in your service. Fortunately, there is much you can do to refine your customer service program. Here are 9 tips that should make sure you treat your consumers well:
1. Make Good Use of Automation
Automation can allow your small business to handle more consumers without necessarily increasing the cost of customer service. Making use of chat bots, for example, will ultimately be cheaper than hiring a customer service representative team. However, those chat bots are usually best for simple and common issues, such as frequently asked questions. More complicated issues are best handled by actual people. Make sure your automation allows for transfer to real representatives to ensure high-quality service.
2. Deliver Quality-Based Resolutions
One of the biggest customer services mistakes businesses make is to’ throw money’ at unhappy customers in an effort to alleviate negative experiences and concerns. Not only does this cost the company more money (you may not be able to afford), the effort and expense rarely address the root concerns or issues. Thoughtfulness and effort are far more critical than throwing money at the problem. Empower your representatives to use their creativity and autonomy to manage customer concerns and expectations.
3. Equip Your Team Properly
One of the most frustrating experiences for both your team and consumers is lack of information and autonomy. They can ‘talk all day’, but if your team is not properly informed and equipped, they won’t be able to help. Your customer service representatives need access to customer information, so they do not need to ask irrelevant questions beyond initially establishing the customers identity. They will also need the tools to not just receive customer queries, but to act on their issues. The more autonomy and decision making authority your representatives have to help, the more people they can aid.
4. Focus on Quality of Experience Rather Than Speed
Getting customer problems solved quickly is important, but it is far from the most critical aspect of service. Giving a fast solution is worthless if the solution is ultimately irrelevant to the customer’s issue. Instead, train your representatives to take their time to communicate and find a real solution to the complaint. That may take more time and energy, but your customers will generally leave the encounter happier.
5. Train Your Reps in Communication
If your small business’s representatives do not know how to listen and communicate, it will not matter what systems you have in place. Solutions will be inevitably misaligned, and consumers will likely leave less satisfied than before. Train your representatives thoroughly. The better trained they are at communicating, the better your customer service response will be.
6. Treat Every Customer Complaint Seriously
One of the worst experiences a customer can have is to not be taken seriously. Whether or not the issue is actually ‘big’ is irrelevant. The customer took the time and energy to reach out to you with a problem, which means it is important to them – and you need to respect that. Make sure your representatives treat each customer with respect, no matter how tired or frustrated they are of potentially hearing the same complaints over and over again.
7. Hire the Right People
Customer service is not for everyone. Not all people have the patience and charm to defuse a situation while focusing on finding what the customer needs. That is why you need to put a lot of effort into finding the right people to represent your company to the most dissatisfied part of its market. Don’t let the quality of your customer service department be limited by its people.
8. Speak the Customer’s Language
The customer service experience is not just about solving problems, it is about ensuring that your customers are as ‘heard’ as possible. Your representatives do not need to make friends with them, but should at least endeavor to create a ‘friendly feel’ type’ environment, one where customers feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns. Have your representatives use the language and cadence of your customer or target market. Not only will communication be more aligned, but potentially lead to better outcomes, particularly if you were not able to meet all the customers concerns.
9. Teach Your Representatives to Close Properly
Much like a sale, a customer service interaction must be closed properly. Your representatives must never assume that all problems are solved, just because a solution was provided. They must close each interaction by inquiring whether or not there are further issues. That way, you can ensure that no issue the customer is willing to bring up is ignored.
Treating your small business’s customers properly is important for the success and reputation of your business. Give them the the time and importance they deserve.