Did you know that a happy customer will tell 9 people about their experience with a company while an angry customer will tell 16 people about their bad experience? Even more amazing, for every unhappy customer that complains, there are, on average, 26 customers that won’t say anything! (Source: https://www.groovehq.com/support/customer-support-statistics)
For this very reason, one of your most important New Year’s Resolutions should be to make customer satisfaction and customer service a top priority. How do you do that? Here are 5 best practices you can implement in your business:
- Know your customers. Sometimes the best way to offer excellent customer service is to actually understand what they want and expect. Take some time to ask them how they want to be treated, what their biggest issues are, and what it would take to keep them loyal to your business. If you are a small business, you might want to make sure that you know all your customers by name, what products and services they’ve purchased and other details about your interactions with them so they feel like a person and not just a number.
- Respond promptly. With the advancements in technology, we have become a “need it now” society, and customer service is no different. Long hold times or taking days to respond to an email are no longer sufficient to ensuring a happy customer. In fact, many customers are taking to social media to ask questions, look for customer service and more. Make sure that you have appropriate coverage of the various contact methods, and respond within a few hours (at the most) to any email inquiries. At the very least, set expectations for your customers so that have an idea of how long it will take for you to respond.
- Don’t ignore problems or complaints. As human beings, we have a tendency to ignore issues that we don’t like. As a business owner, you don’t have that luxury. When a customer points out a mistake you made or complains about a product or service they aren’t happy with, don’t ignore it. Trust me – it isn’t going away, and it will get worse if you don’t address it head on. Listen to your customer, acknowledge how they are feeling, admit the mistake (if you need to), and try to come up with a solution that both of you can live with. An important note: If someone complains on social media, address it immediately. Don’t delete it or ignore it – people who are or could be your customers are watching!
- Delight your customers. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we forget our purpose is to provide our customers with the best product or service we can deliver. We’ve all heard the saying “under promise and over deliver.” You want to make sure that you have gone above and beyond what your customers expect. Whether that’s a follow-up call or providing something unexpected with their purchase, always look for ways to go that extra mile.
- Think long-term – not transactional. Your goal as a business should be to keep a customer for life. In fact, studies have shown that it’s 5 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. So, when it comes to customer service, think about ways that you can not only keep that customer coming back for more but also turn them into a raving fan. These are the people who will be your best advocates and bring you the most customers. Spending a few extra moments or dollars on them now could result in a big payoff in the future. If you need to be “right” on a particular issue, you may win the battle but lose the war.
These are just 5 simple concepts to make your customer service activities exceptional. It’s a matter of having the right mindset and implementing the right business processes. Need help? Give Business Relationship Edge a call at 732.859.8419.
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