Customer service is the lifeblood of any business, whether it is a brick and mortar business or an online one. Your business could sell products, odder a service or some combination of both. No matter what your business does or where it is located, you must provide your customers with excellent customer service. This will keep them coming back to you by building loyalty. It will also help them recommend your business to their friends and family, building your clientele.
How do you improve your customer service? Here are 15 excellent customer service examples to think about instituting in your business to help it grow.
- Listen to what your customer is telling you.
Why did your customer come to your store instead of someone else’s? Because you listen. You take the time to ask the right questions and concentrate on what your customer is saying. If you are operating a brick and mortar store, you have the advantage of observing their body language and hearing their tone of voice. They are keys to the emotions behind your customer’s concerns and helps you use effective listening to the advantage of your both.
- Know your customers so you can anticipate and identify their needs.
Do your homework so that you can anticipate and identify the needs of your customers. When they come into your store or jump online looking for that new fancy widget that hit the market, they expect to see it there. By paying attention to your customers buying trends and the latest innovations in your particular market, you will have exactly what they need when they need it. Listen to what they are asking for in passing when they stop in or contact you. Then act on it.
- Keep all of their transactions transparent.
This is especially important when it comes to online sales. Your customer should be able to see that a sitewide sale has been applied to their order. They should be able to easily access information about delivery and other fees. Explain to them how their discounts are applied. Err on the side of caution and give them more information and guidance than what they might look for regularly. They may find it useful in the long run.
If you have a brick and mortar store, make sure all your signs are clear and can be easily understood. Make sure your employees can answer all of your customers' questions. If an item is not returnable, explain to the customer why before they make the purchase. Do not assume they are going to read the fine print. Be as upfront as possible.
- Make your customers feel appreciated and important.
Your customer is not just a nameless face that walks into your store or orders a product online. Treat them as individuals and be sincere when speaking with them. This helps create trust and makes them feel good. Use their names if you know it. Personalize communications with them. Thank them every chance you get for being a loyal customer.
- Build trust with your customers, and they will return to your store.
Building trust with your customer is how you keep them loyal to you and your brand. Try to answer the phone on the first ring. Give them a personalized experience. Make sure they have all the pertinent buying information they need upfront. While your service or product is what brought them to you in the first place, building that trust is what will keep them coming back.
- Keep that trust by responding to your customer as quickly as possible.
No one likes to be kept on hold or have to wait for an email response, especially when they need an answer quickly because the issue is time-sensitive. Understandably, replies to emails could take longer, but at least set up an automated response letting your customer know you received their note and approximately when someone can get back to them. Keep hold times to a minimum and remind your employees to treat even irate customers with courtesy and respect.
- Beware of your own body language.
In your brick and mortar store, observe the body language of your employees and yourself. It should convey to your customers that you are approachable and are looking forward to speaking with them. Shake your customer’s hands. Smile. Make sure they know you are sincere and are there to help them solve their problems.
- Take the time to explain how your systems work.
If you are using a complicated online ordering system, it will still frustrate your customers if they don’t understand how to use it. It may be the best thing since sliced bread, but you cannot afford to lose customers if they can’t navigate it. Take the time to explain to them how it works and how it simplifies the transaction process. Give them pointers along the way. Once they’ve used it a few times, they’ll understand why you decided to go with it.
- Understand the power of the word “Yes.”
Since your customers look to you to solve problems, they want to hear you say “yes” to things that may not necessarily be in your wheelhouse. Find a way to accomplish what they want afterwards. You always want to find a way to help your customers. Plus, you might discover a new service or product to offer.
- Give your customers the means to contact you.
Excellent customer service comes down to the ability to help your customers. Even though your store may be online, you cannot leave your customers to fend for themselves. Not everyone is comfortable using email or live chat to speak with your representative. Offer them as many ways possible to get a hold of you. Find a way to give them a 24/7 toll-free number with someone to speak with or set up live chat for those who are a bit more tech-savvy. Always respond to emails. Call your customers to chat about their issues.
Things go wrong. This is a fact of life. When it happens, and your customer calls you about it, apologize for the mistake and fix the problem immediately. Your customers may be in the wrong if something happened on their end, but you should still value their complaint and seek to correct the problem. Again, remind your employees to speak to angry customers calmly and with sincerity so that they know you care about them and their problems.
- Find new ways to stand out from the competition.
Why are your customers loyal to you? What do you offer them that they can’t get anywhere else? How you can thank customers who don’t buy things from you? What can you offer customers who abandon their online carts? The answer to these questions is what will make you stand apart from the competition. Insurance companies are great examples of this principle in action.
- Ask your customer to give you regular feedback.
Encourage your customers to give you feedback. Let them know that you value their opinion and want to know what you can do to improve their experience. Let them provide their constructive criticism, comments, and suggestions. You can offer them a variety of ways to do this, from online surveys to a suggestion box in your store.
- Treat your employees well.
Show your employees that you value and respect them. Tell them they are doing a good job and thank them for what they do. Tokens of appreciation are always welcome, from gift cards to lunch. As long as they know you value and respect them, they will do their best to help your business grow.
- Go that extra mile.
Going the extra mile to make sure your customers are happy and know they are appreciated will keep them coming back. Offer them special incentives. Act on their feedback. Provide a service to help them in times of need. When you go the extra mile for them, they will go the extra mile for you.