All companies care about their customers.
To be successful in business, customers are a prerequisite. The companies that keep customers happy are the ones that prosper while making a positive impact on their community. Of course, all companies strive to put a customer service plan in place, but few achieve the top-notch rankings for the excellent customer experience they strive to provide. Here are key ways that companies can have success with customer service:
Make customer service a priority in all divisions of your company. All too often, not all employees are properly trained in customer service. In addition to the hard skills that an employee must have, your company should provide additional training in customer service and impress upon each staff member how important delivering a good customer experience is.
Customers will have that excellent customer experience only if all points of contact are focused on the same level of customer service. The first step toward prioritizing customer service is acknowledging that it is a marketing expense and should be incorporated into the marketing department, especially when you come to the realization that customer retention costs less than customer acquisition.
Be careful how you reward employees. Do not let employees’ motivation for their paycheck get in the way of how they provide (or do not provide) a good customer experience. If they are forced to use high-pressure sales techniques in order to pay their own bills, your customers may not appreciate the “hard sell” that often comes along with that type of pressure.
Similarly, if you have employees that must engage in debt collection, make sure that they can still be empathetic and understanding to customers’ situations, or you should move bill collection to an outside resource, so that it is not as closely associated with your company.
Empower employees to resolve problems. When a problem is resolved without the customer’s having to deal with a supervisor, the customer is much more satisfied. Customers who had an issue that was resolved often rate a higher level of satisfaction than customers who did not even have a problem or complaint in the first place.
Listen to your customers. The voice of customer research, polls, and product reviews can all be very helpful insights to help you better understand your customers. Asking customers specific questions about their experience will help you better understand how a customer experience with your company is perceived. Compare this against the experience you want them to have, and then make adjustments.
Create a “company persona” that all staff should adopt. Some of the most successful companies develop a “company persona,” and all staffers emulate this persona. This creates a consistent experience for all customers. When faced with a problem, staffers should be able to relate to this persona and resolve it in a manner that the persona would employ.
Zappos is so well known for its high level of customer service, and its company persona is “a young woman who loves shoes and loves to talk about shoes.” Staffers are trained to follow this so closely that if a customer calls and just wants to chat about shoes, they oblige him or her.
Take clues from customer service successes at other companies, even if they are not in your industry. Did you know that the fast-food drive-thru idea was taken from banks? This is another way of saying “think outside the box.” Look to the world around you, and brainstorm new ways to find inspiration. Many business owners and CEOS advise to take time each morning to check not just the news, but trending topics on social media.
Richard Larson is a blogger and brand manager for GoPromotional, the UK’s leading supplier of promotional products and company keyrings.