What generational group is driving big changes to virtually every aspect of our lives? It’s…
Great customer service is key for retaining your clients and maximizing profits. It doesn’t matter if you do business face to face, or through ecommerce, getting the customer service basics correct will bring buyers back again and again.
Differentiate Yourself from the Competition
These days, marketing savvy companies are using exceptional or unique customer service practices to help to differentiate themselves from the competition. If you’re going to attempt to do this for yourself, you should start by understanding how customer engagement works, and then make sure that the people you employ in public facing roles are properly briefed to give a top customer experience.
Broadly speaking, you need to pay attention to the following groups of employees and make sure they are meeting your customers expectations:
- Staff that interact with the public at your own establishment
- Staff that directly interact with public outside of office
- Staff that the public trust online (bloggers, email support)
If the public have a poor experience at any of these contact points, you’re going to seriously damage your bottom line and make your competitors lives easier. Here’s a short list of four key factors that lead to customer satisfaction:
Continual Product Development and Improvement
Your product matters above all else. If you sell poor quality goods you’re going to get complaints. Period. There’s really no excuse for selling inferior goods, and your products should be continuously tweaked and rigorously tested to ensure great quality. Listen to customer feedback, and go above and beyond what the competition are offering.
From a comprehensive FAQ page, through to excellent email support and friendly phone lines, the way you handle orders and queries says a lot about your business. Excellent service will see customers coming back time and again. The import thing isn’t to throw money at the problem. It’s better to concentrate on the thoughtful little details that make people happy, and to make sure your service is prompt and polite.
Deliver the Goods Yesterday
The internet has made us impatient. Attention spans are reducing by the year, so it’s important to make sure you dispatch goods as quickly as possible. If the shopping cart process is slow, or the checkout keeps crashing, you’ll lose many, many customers. When it comes to postage, go above and beyond the call of duty: Sure, you could wait until tomorrow to post the items, but it will be extremely well received if you can guarantee next day delivery even if a customer orders at 6pm.
Apologize Profusely, Then Rectify Your Mistakes
Every company makes mistakes. It’s how you handle them that matters. Most angry customers can be easily placated if you’re quick to admit you’re wrong, and then go way beyond the norm to make up for your error. www.michaelpursey.co.uk, an internet businessman agrees, saying: “If you’re genuine about messing up and fast to remedy a mistake, you’ll often be able to convert an angry complainer into a raving fan”.
Great customer service doesn’t cost the earth. In fact, the only outlay to your business is time and train. Make your customers happy, and you’ll enjoy repeat business and free word of mouth advertising for years to come.
Wendy Lin is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She was born in China and moved to LA when she was young. A couple years ago, Wendy moved with her family to the UK.
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