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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 FeedbackSince 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
Bolster Your Customer Service UnitA 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
- 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 ServicingIn 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