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3 Strategies to Improve Your Customer Service
I was getting coffee the other day and decided I wanted a bagel along with my cup of mocha. It was a slow morning, early enough where there too wasn’t much traffic on the road. As I sit in the drive-thru waiting for my delicious bagel, the barista arrived at the window with my order.
“I added some honey-almond spread along with the French Toast bagel you ordered,” he said. “The combination is really good, and makes it feel like a full meal.”
I thanked the young lad and tried his recommendation. It was delicious. And it made me want to come back again when I was in the mood for another bagel.
The lesson here is that superior customer service makes your business likable. Being likable leads to the retention of customers and less churn. So naturally, you want to keep the same customers coming back for more as you continue to invite new ones.
Attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one. Here are some tried-and-true strategies to help improve your customer service.
Explore Customer Feedback
Since customers are the heart of your business, it makes sense that they be part of the development of your product or service. With ever-changing preferences in the world, you want to solicit feedback from your customers to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
As an example, a bakery makes great pastries and cakes. Its customers love the taste, but recently there’s been a trend on healthy eating and weight loss. This does not bode well for the bakery since many of its customers are looking to diet.
The bakery might look to ask its customers for an alternative solution through:
- Social media
- In-store conversations with the staff
- Website forms
After collecting feedback over a few days, the bakery ends up adding gluten-free and low carbohydrate choices to its menu options.
Customers love it when their voices can be heard, and feedback can be traced directly to product and service improvements. They love to be valued and in turn they value you. Establishing this powerful trust through customer feedback can even prevent negative comments that may appear on social media.
Happy employees make for happy customers – do everything you can to hire the right people and give them the tools and training to succeed
Bolster Your Customer Service Unit
A happy employee makes for a happy customer. If your employees believe in the company mission and you equip them with the right training and tools, they will go over the moon to evangelize your products and services.
Companies that foster employee happiness outperform their competitors by 20%. So, start with hiring the right people for the job. When it comes to customer service, the most common traits to look for in a person are:
- Empathy & patience
- Communication skills
You can also leverage virtual employees to help customers when you are short-staffed. Chatbot customer service agents can be the link behind automating some of the more common FAQs your business might run into, while handing off complex issues to their human counterparts.
Like any other position within the company, you want to be tracking the performance of your customer service representatives. You can do this by asking your customers about their experience with employees.
As great example is capturing transcripts of text-based conversations between the customer and employee.
Unhandled transcript message forwarding to human – you can learn a lot about your customer’s wants and needs in these messages, and adjust your service.
Perhaps the most important trait to consider for all your employees is attitude. Skills can be trained, but an attitude is something that’s unique to the business culture. Some advice on attitude:
- Treat the target attitude as you would target a skillset (see above for customer service)
- Get your team involved meeting the potential employee to gauge mix
- Have a few tricks up your sleeve to see how a prospective employee reacts in unknown situations
Take Advantage of Multi-Channel Servicing
In a global world so interconnected by technology, your business has to be agile. If you are still relying on brick-and-mortar establishments to talk with your customers, you are missing out on an astronomical piece of the pie.
Even if you decide not to embrace the digital space, your customers will. They post reviews, converse with their social networks, and compare your business to competitors around the planet all with the click of a button.
Take Twitter, a popular social media platform for short-form messages. A customer may have had a bad experience with the service at a local clothing outlet and decides to vent her frustration to the public.
“This company sucks. Don’t do business with them.”
Or on the flip side, she might have been blown away from the amazing service.
“This company is amazing. 10/10 highly recommend!”
For both situations, you would want to be able to respond to the customer’s comment, right? One for damage control, the other for free publicity.
Here are some best practices to help you provide multi-channel support for your customers:
- Mobile devices
- Social media
It’s impossible to be everywhere but if you start with the first strategy of asking your customers for feedback, they can help pinpoint what communication channels you should be part of.
It’s easy to see that customer sentiment can make or break the longevity of your business operations. Getting them in the door is half the battle and keeping them happy is a key component to your strategy.
By hiring the right people to service customers, asking for frequent feedback that adapts to evolving needs, and being available across multiple channels for communication, you can create a lasting strategy for your business.
If you are short-staffed or looking to augment your existing customer service team with additional help, chatbots are great virtual agents that provide excellent service as you grow the business.