To be honest, quality customer service is not complicated. Essentially, your customers need to embrace theses mantras:
- Be humble
- Be helpful
- Be friendly
- Be knowledgeable
- Be thoughtful
- Be useful
- Be timely
- Every customer-facing employee is a part of customer service
- Ask for the Review!
1. Be Humble and Don’t Make Your Customers Feel Dumb
Many of your customers come to your business with a complete lack of knowledge. Sure, they may have done research on their own, but they expect you to be the expert.
When your support team has been on board for a while, and they hear the same simple questions day in and out, a glazed over eye roll is understandable. But the true gems of the customer service world take those FAQs and explain them in a way that doesn’t make the customer feel like a child. That humility and respect will go a long way in the eyes of your customer, especially if they already are insecure about working with your business.
2. Be Helpful Instead of Pitching the Sale
Honestly, while we as business owners like to know how our prospects find us and ultimately become customers, one buyer journey is never exactly the same as another. We should anticipate that a potential customer might think they’re ready, but after consulting with us, realize they haven’t considered a variety of components that might inform their decision. It’s essential to be as helpful and transparent as possible. People appreciate when customer service reps don’t lay on the hard sell from the get go. If your prospect isn’t ready, and you don’t pressure them prematurely, they will feel comfortable returning to you when the time is right.
3. Be Friendly and Surprise Your Customers
Some businesses benefit from making their customers feel like family. When your business model includes routine check ups or frequent repeat customers, get to know them! Taking the time to ask your customers about their lives (in a non-intrusive way) will help them feel like family when they’re at your place of business.
4. Be Knowledgeable and Educate Your Employees
Not only being able to empathize with your client, but also educating them on their problem will set you apart from the competition.
Sometimes, the potential client will have attempted to research their situation on their own and come to you thinking that they’re knowledgeable on the subject. It’s important in these scenarios to know your field inside and out with evidence that you can turn to so you can reveal why the prospect came to you in the first place.
5. Be Thoughtful and Solve Problems
Mistakes happen. No business goes without a negative review forever, because no matter how informed our customer service team and leadership are, the unexpected happens, and it’s our responsibility to be able to handle the curveballs we’re thrown.
While it’s important to have policies in place to protect the bottom line, having managers or customer service reps who can make exceptions to save a bad customer experience is paramount. Even if the situation loses you money in the short run, you will possibly see a larger return in the long run. A satisfied customer will sing your praises when you turn a bad experience around in a timely fashion and offer (what the customer considers) a fair solution.
6. Be Useful – Have Vetted Recommended Vendors
Knowing the other local businesses around you can make you more useful to your customers. When you’re able to recommend complementary vendors to your clients, you’ll save them time and money–and probably make some local business-owner friends who can return the favor.
Of course, we want to vet the companies that we recommend. The last thing you want is to send one of your customers to an unorganized and incompetent business. That’s an easy way to make your customers hate you. Good vendor recommendation builds trust with your clients.
7. Be Timely – Even at Inconvenient Times
Sometimes, your free advice alone can earn a positive review! Combine the free advice with the timely manner, late at night nonetheless, and you can see why he earned a customer for life.
8. Everyone Who Interacts with Customers is Customer Service
Remember that EVERY employee that interacts with clients face to face has the responsibility to maintain the same level of customer service as your dedicated reps. Sometimes, just one negative touch point can ruin an experience. If you have employees that are sullen, argumentative, or just plain sour, keep them out of the way of customers! Not everyone is a people person, but social skills are imperative for any client facing role, no matter how small.
9. And Don’t Forget – Ask for the review!
Finally, while it may seem awkward, always remember to ask for the review. Make sure your customer service managers ingrain this important request in their team’s heads. This is a business that rewards authenticity, so if a customer had a good experience and feels well-served by the person asking them for the review, they are more likely to do it.