Whether your company provides goods or services to people (B2C) or to other businesses (B2B), a good customer service team can be your company’s saving grace. Show your customers you care about them, because in the end they are the people who pay your bills.
We have tons of personal customer service horror stories here in the office, and we love to share them. Word-of-mouth marketing can be amazing for a company, but it can also be a curse because the bad stories will always outweigh the good. Also, social media users are more likely to spread complaints about companies online, so you can never be too careful!
Are you doing everything in your power to boost your customers’ experiences? What do you think they’ll say when they tell friends and family about your company?
When it comes to treating your customers well and getting proactive with word-of-mouth reviews, try these strategies on for size:
1: Be Personal and Build Relationships
Make your customers feel welcome and appreciated no matter which communication channel you prefer — in person, on the phone, or via e-mail. Even if you know a particular customer isn’t going to immediately do business with you, you should still build a relationship and try to relate to them on a personal level. When you make that personal connection, they will have more trust in you.
Quick tip: Forgive the cliche, but put yourself in your customer’s shoes when working on their problem or addressing their concern. How would you expect to be treated in the same situation? Don’t lose your patience if you can possibly help it.
2: Go Above and Beyond
Small gestures of kindness go a long way when it comes to keeping a customer happy. You don’t have to constantly bend over backwards, but you should make a genuine effort once and a while. For example, handwritten “thank you” notes work wonders after a business exchange. A short (but personalized) birthday email shows attention to detail. Also, a brief courtesy call is a friendly gesture and a means to check in and make sure everything is working out with the product/service. These little nods aren’t a necessity, but they make a customer feel appreciated and respected.
Quick tip: Set reminders via your email or smartphone if you have difficulty remembering important customer dates. Track your giveaways or thank you cards in a spreadsheet so you’ll know to follow up after a specific amount of time. Also, personalization means more than sticking a customer’s name into a template — tailor each card or email you send and make it count!
3: Be Enthusiastic and Helpful
I love walking into a store and hearing someone greet me with a smile and a friendly greeting; it makes me want to spend more time and money there. If you show people you want to be there (even if you don’t), then it creates a good atmosphere. This is true with online businesses, too. If you use positive words and offer your help in emails and during live chats, that encouraging vibe will translate into job enthusiasm.
Along with being friendly and helpful, it’s also just as important to be well-trained and knowledgeable in your field. A firm grasp of policies illustrates that you have pride in the service you’re providing, and that (combined with your enthusiasm) will ultimately make your customer confident in your abilities.
Quick tip: Have you ever been completely baffled by a client’s question? Don’t sweat it. Use that friendly attitude to tell the asker you’ll have to double check to find out the answer, put them on hold for a minute, and ask a supervisor. You’d be surprised how much a positive outlook can diffuse a potentially catastrophic situation!
4: Do Whatever You Can to Say Yes
I completely understand that company policies are put in place for a reason, but bending the rules for one person doesn’t mean you have to do it for everyone. In special circumstances, be willing to compromise and give a customer the benefit of the doubt. It’s not worth losing them over a trivial argument. Saying yes also ties back into being personable and going above and beyond; if you hear what the client is telling you and make the extra effort to fix the issue at hand, then you are sending the message that they are your number one priority (something EVERY customer wants).
Quick tip: You don’t have to say YES to everything! However, you should be willing to take an extra step for a customer who may need special treatment. If you need to make a separate phone call to your manager to approve a fee reversal, then take the time to do that instead of getting lazy and claiming there’s “nothing you can do.” That additional effort means a lot to the customer!
It’s much less expensive to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones, which is one of the many reasons you should re-evaluate your customer service from time to time to verify it’s up to speed. Make customers feel appreciated and go out of your way to show them you care. Stay positive and make yourself readily available to provide assistance when needed. And remember, if your customers ask for something specific, do whatever you can to avoid a conflict and give them what they want (within reason). In the end, it will benefit your business more to keep that customer happy versus getting bad word-of-mouth reviews from an issue that could have been easily avoided in the first place.
How else could you keep customers happy and show them you care? Do you have any good stories about companies showing you they care? Are you more likely to take the time and give good or bad reviews about a business? Let us know in the comments below!
Image credit to Clipart.com.