If there’s anything that really grinds our gears it’s bad customer service. Whether it’s a rude waiter, an impolite shop assistant, or an unreasonable support agent, we’d put a curse on their houses if we could, #ShakespeareStyle.
When we spend time and effort choosing a particular product or service, we feel rightly entitled to some system of support. You expect, as a paying customer to any business or company, to be listened to and accommodated by the support team.
So, what does this tell us? Your job doesn’t end at the point of sale! In order to keep your customers and attract new ones, customer support has to be your number one priority.
This month, we are concentrating on customer support as our Industry of the Month. This is one of a number of articles we’ve put together in honor of this worthy topic. To read our other posts, click here and here or for a round-up of all October’s customer support posts, click here.
For a company to have a reputation for offering poor customer support is the worst. According to Micah Solomon, customer service consultant and author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, “bad customer service can kill your reputation and devastate your bottom line.” It essentially hands your customers over to competitors.
Those same customers you’ve spent a lot of time and effort convincing to choose your products, through sales and marketing, will all be leaving you if you can’t deliver on good customer relationships.
With social media thriving, bad reputations can spread like infections. We live in a time where businesses thrive or die based on public opinion.
The key components to great customer service
There are two pivotal components to providing great customer service: having a sound product and providing genuine, helpful support to your customers. Unless you score high with both of these, you’re going nowhere fast.
Have a great product/service
The relationship between you and your customer is largely determined by the relationship your customer has with your product/service. If you’re selling a sub-par product, then chances are you are fluffing your marketing and lying to your customer about the benefits of the product.
If you provide your customer with an excellent product or service then your customer knows that you have their best interests at heart. They already trust you and will be willing to communicate with you in a positive way.
Provide excellent support
Provide good customer service. Be there for your customer when and how they need you. Give your customers care and attention. Have a process in place to handle situations and inquiries. Prepare canned response emails for regular questions asked in order to speed up your response time.
How do you provide excellent support?
Having a great product or service is entirely up to you and your team. Once you are happy that your business is creating something worthwhile for customers, there are a few tricks we can give you to strengthen your customer support! Here are some strategies you can employ to help you provide good customer support:
- Hire the right people
- Train your staff well
- Be good to your staff
- Create a customer focused culture
1. Hire friendly and helpful people at all levels
Hire people with the right personality, as well as their skill set. You can always train skills, but you can’t train someone to have the right personality. Hire people who are open, friendly, and helpful.
From lead developer to tech support agent, you will rely on positive communication in order to find the right solution for your customers. Likewise, you need your support staff to be able to create good relationships with the customer in an order to help them.
2. Train your staff
You can only be helpful to someone if you know the answers to the questions they’re asking. Train your staff on the product/service you’re selling. Make them experts and they’ll pass on their wisdom to the clients.
Train your staff to be customer-centric. The best products are the ones that satisfy your customer’s needs. In order to satisfy their needs and create the best product/service you can, you need to listen to your customers and take in their feedback!
3. Be good to your people
Great customer service can’t come with a double standard. Happy and engaged employees are better equipped to be positive and helpful to your customers. So, make sure you are good to your staff, so that they can be good to your customers!
4. Create a customer-focused culture
Great customer service starts from the top. The leader determines what level of customer service is expected. This is culture learned from the top and trickles down throughout the company.
Customer service needs to be a priority for every individual in your team. Create a company molded by what your customers want. Then, you’ll have a laser-focused unbeatable team.
A 2013 “Customer Rage” study by Arizona State University, stated “If a company handles your complaint well then you typically become a more loyal customer. However, if they don’t then you become 12% less brand loyal than if you never complained at all.”
A few more points to leave you with:
• Focus on creating an amazing customer experience.
• Follow up on all customer feedback – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
• Customer service shouldn’t be seen as a drain but as an opportunity.
• Seize any opportunity to create better rapport with customers, because a customer-oriented product/service brings more sales.
• Listen to customers and share their ideas.
• Always try to continuously think of new ways to improve the level of customer service delivered.
Have we forgotten anything? Let us know in the comments.