You love businesses that give you great service, and so do your customers. But are you just getting by on the basics, or is your customer service good enough to promote loyalty to your brand or business? Give people a customer service experience they’ll love, and they’ll be reluctant to transfer their business elsewhere, even if it means paying less for much the same thing.
If marketing is “selling the sizzle not the sausage,” then customer service is the flavor that will keep them coming back for more.
1. Be Willing to Go to Extra Lengths if Necessary
Your delivery vehicle has a breakdown somewhere in Texas, but you’ve committed to timely delivery. What now? It’s going to take a nibble out of your profit, or even cost you, but you call up your Texas couriers and live up to your agreement. You said you’d be able to get a quote through in under 24 hours, but there’s a power failure.
You drive to the nearest place with electricity, and you still get the quote through in time. Your client isn’t sure if she wants this or that, so you send both and let her choose on the spot. There are many ways in which you can go the extra mile, and if you’re ready to do it, you’ll deserve the reputation you earn for great customer service.
2. Understand Your Customer’s Needs
It’s not hard to understand customer needs. Put yourself in their shoes for a second and think about what they want instead of what you want. It may sound overly simple, but it’s a characteristic that’s sadly lacking in many sales and customer service interactions.
Listen before you talk. Think before you act. Sure, you’d love to make that sale, but what does the person you’re selling to really want? Not sure? Ask open-ended questions that invite them to talk, and pay attention to what they say.
3. Be Ready to Work Fast
The faster you can satisfy your customers’ needs, the happier they’ll be. Think of the customer service interactions you’ve been happiest with in the past. You were made to feel important, and part of that feeling came from the speed with which your needs were met.
If the company you were dealing with not only met but exceeded your expectations, you were impressed. That’s what you want to achieve. While you’re at it, look at what your competitors do and try to outmatch them.
4. Always Keep Your Promises
Whatever you promised your clients, be sure to deliver. Think about your own experiences as a customer. Ever been told you’ll get a call back and didn’t get one? Or perhaps you were told that something was in stock only to find that it isn’t.
You weren’t happy. By the same token, your clients won’t be pleased if your business fails to live up to its commitments. Customer Relations Management (CRM) software helps to keep track of interactions and may be of help. And, in the event that you do fail to live up to a commitment, find ways to make amends.
Strange though it may seem, a customer complaint is an opportunity to win an ambassador for your business – if you handle it well.
5. Add a Special Touch
There’s a difference between being satisfied and being delighted. What special touches can you add to win your customers’ hearts? It doesn’t have to be big or costly.
It just has to say “We’re thinking of you and we appreciate you.” The hospitality industry provides easy examples. Fresh flowers or a complementary chocolate may not be mentioned in their marketing or be expected when you made your booking, but they gave you a good feeling when you checked into your hotel room.
Little freebies, a personal touch, unexpected extra assistance: anything that makes your client remember your business not only as the place where he or she received something they needed, but that made them feel valued in ways other business like yours don’t could be the customer service extra that wins you lifelong customer loyalty and a reputation for amazing customer service.