With all of the products and services that businesses offer today, one of the few ways they differentiate themselves from each other is through customer service. Businesses might all have the intent of making money, but that cannot be done without having customers. And, the best way to keep them and to get new ones is by providing stellar customer service.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling a widget to customers or providing phone services to small businesses, customer service is the key to success. There are six keys to making it count for customers.
One of the keys to success for any customer-based business is communication. When businesses cannot communicate with their customers, nothing gets done. Communication is not just being able to listen and respond, but being available for customers. Your business might have an answering service that functions 24-7, but when can customers actually speak to a real person?
When customers have questions, how quickly does your company respond? It should be within the time frame promised, or even faster. If a customer does not get a response, the customer will find a business that will respond. The response does not have to immediately solve a problem; it shows that the business cares enough to return a call or to answer the phone or reply to an email.
Anyone who works with customers will hear good things and bad things from those customers. The key is to treat every response as a learning opportunity. Businesses cannot rest on their laurels and they cannot get upset when customers complain. Businesses need to use all customer interactions as tools to better their customer interactions – that is the attitude that customers want to receive from businesses.
Attitude also includes taking responsibility. Of course, businesses are worried about liability and problems when things go wrong, but the best businesses take responsibility for their actions, both good and bad. There is something refreshing about businesses that offer to fix problems when they want to do something right for the customer. And, customers remember this and tell their friends, which can actually help the business grow.
Sometimes there isn’t a solution that is readily available and the customer-service manual doesn’t have all of the answers. A good customer service department will solve problems so that the customer is happy. This means not every customer will receive the same solution, because the solution will fit each individual customer’s needs.
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason: we should listen twice as much as we speak. This should be the mantra of every customer service department, to listen more than speak. Through listening, businesses can learn what their customers really want and work with employees to deliver. Listening also include empathy, which is the warmth that businesses can offer to customers. Listening shows that businesses care and customers recognize this, then they tell their friends and associates, which helps businesses grow.