The Top Ten Customer Service Tips of 2013
Want to know how to lock down customer loyalty? Aside from using a great lead management software like Blitz Lead Manager to track and stay on top of sales leads, you should practice these ten customer service tips. Most of these tips could be used as rules for life, and customers will notice the human element they add to your business.
1.) Practice Active Listening
Keep your concentration on the customer. It can be really easy to let your mind wander onto the million other tasks on your to-do list, but consistent inattention can be insulting. An easy way to show that you’ve been listening is to ask questions. Being an active participant in conversation with the customer can help you figure out exactly what the customer wants and will also make them feel more comfortable when speaking to you.
A good exercise is to ask yourself: What 3 things are most important to the customer?
2.) Treat Each Customer as Though He or She Were the Most Important Customer in the World
Passing judgments about a customer based on their appearance can be an addicting habit. Assuming that shabbily dressed customers can’t be big buyers could be a huge mistake. As Gary Vaynerchuk, successful co-owner of the Wine Library, puts it, “maybe the customer’s best friend is the biggest buyer in the category.”
Adopt Gary Vaynerchuk’s mantra, “everyone counts and gets the best I have to give.”
3.) Give More than Expected
Customers will be delighted if they notice that you’ve put in the extra effort to accommodate their needs. Entrepreneur.com suggest four options you can try in the situation that an order is delayed:
- Call the customer personally with updates on the status of the order and the expected arrival
- Hand-deliver the merchandise when it arrives
- Take 20 to 30% off the cost
- Send a note apologizing for the delay—tucked inside a gift basket full of goodies
There are many ways to put your own spin on giving more. Choose one that best fits your business’ mission and resources.
4.) Be Kind to Customers
Make it clear to customers that you’re there to help them in any way you can. Gary Vaynerchuk suggests talking to every person, “as though you’re going to be sitting next to that person at his or her mother’s house for dinner that night.
5.) Imagine Yourself as the Customer
This tip goes along with #4. If you imagine yourself as the customer, you’ll be more inclined to treat them better. After all, the golden rule states that you should treat others as you wish to be treated.
A good exercise to try is to remember what you liked and disliked in your own experiences as a customer. This exercise will give you the perspective you need to create a memorable customer service experience for each of your customers.
6.) Identify and Anticipate Needs
Businesses that excel at customer service will tell you that most customers’ needs are emotional, rather than logical. They need to feel comfortable talking with you over the phone and feel welcome walking into your building. You may consider stocking your waiting room with coffee or water, and magazines.
7.) Receive Regular Feedback
Feedback comes in all different manners, whether that is a kind note or a full-on rant. However, to improve your business’ customer service, you should welcome all suggestions. Check back regularly with customers to see how they’re doing. You should even listen to angry and irate customers—there may be little nuggets of truth ingrained in their tirades.
While you should keep an open ear to customer suggestions, provide a method that invites less aggressive feedback and instead welcomes constructive criticism, comments, and suggestions.
8.) Explain Your Company’s Operations to the Customer
By taking the time to explain your operations and how they simplify transactions, you will keep the customer from feeling out of the loop with his or her purchase.
9.) Pay Attention to Social Media
Do you remember the uproar that resulted from the revelation that Subway’s footlong sub was less than a foot long? The man responsible for the discovery snapped a picture of his 11” sub and posted a photo to Subway’s Facebook page, asking them to, “pls respond.” Within days, the photo went viral and Subway was forced to answer their angry customers.
This tip is very similar to #1. Customers need to know that your business is actively listening to them online as well. Take advantage of social media by participating in Twitter chats, maintaining a professional tone, and even providing specials to loyal customers to keep them coming back.
10.) Treat Your Employees Well
This one may seem strange, but think about it: your employees are the ones who speak directly to customers. Provide an atmosphere at work that ensures every employee is comfortable engaging in authentic customer service by rewarding those employees that consistently provide excellent customer service.