As a business owner, you know how frustrating it can be when customers are not happy with your product or service. In today’s landscape, they may not only call you, they may post their dissatisfaction on line. If they rant about you on Yelp, Angie’s List, or other review sites, your business can struggle to overcome this negative review. This can happen even if your company is not at fault or the reviewer doesn’t state the facts accurately.
On the other hand, if you accumulate many positive reviews on these websites it can have a very positive effect on sales. So, how do you prevent the negative and elicit the positive reviews in addition to providing excellent customer service to all customers? Here are nine ways to boost customer service for your business.
6 Ways to Boost Customer Service
1. Know Exactly How You Want to Handle Your Company’s Customer Service
A company owner should be clear on how he or she wants to handle customer service issues. Your employees must understand how to handle each situation and when it must be “passed up the line”. It is imperative to be fair, friendly and consistent.
If you are not experienced in the latest customer service procedures, a training course will give you the insights you need to know how to implement excellent customer service policies.
If you have designated customer service representatives, make sure that every employee knows this and exactly who they are to contact when a customer has a problem. Include this information in your employee handbook so there is no confusion about this issue.
Put your company’s return policy in writing. Clearly state the circumstances and procedure you want implemented
One Caveat: Do not tell the customer that you cannot do something because “It’s our policy”. The customer cares not one whit what your policy is and is guaranteed to be further annoyed.
2. Make It Convenient for the Customer to Contact Your Business
- When a customer has a problem with a product or service, they want a quick resolution. If they have to hunt for your phone number, their frustration grows. To avoid this, display your phone number and business hours clearly on every page of your website.
- If your business is not open around the clock, it is especially important to include an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website. Give customers tips on how to make your product work better and what to do if it is not working. State your phone number and business hours on the FAQ page and assure them that someone will be happy to solve their problem as soon as the business reopens.
- Around the clock live-chat services are also used to boost customer service.
- If you sell a product, put a sticker with your contact information on the product itself. If you perform a service, always leave a card with the customer. Make sure it is displays the name and phone number of the person to call if things were not done to their satisfaction.
3. Hire and Train the Right People to Handle Customer Service Issues
Even small businesses, start ups and entrepreneurs need to learn the right and wrong ways of handling customers with problems. There are many courses and software packages out there but you might start by looking at the L.A.S.T. Customer Service Method.
Everyone in the company can benefit from some inter-personal training, but customer service representatives need specialized training that is specific to handling customers – especially difficult ones – who come forward with problems.
Hiring the right people to deal with customers’ problems is a wise business investment. It’s easier and more cost effective to retain a customer than to gain a new customer . So hiring people who are good at making customers happy is good for business.
4. Be Certain That the Customer’s Files are Complete and Easy to Access
Develop a simple system that allows you to access a customer’s file quickly. A customer who calls with a problem is already upset. They will be more frustrated if you or someone in your company cannot pull up their customer file within a few seconds.
The customer file system does not have to be elaborate but must be understood by those handling customers. Taking the time to keep your business well organized and the records up to date will pay dividends when you must handle a problem quickly.
Maintain your customer files religiously, keeping a running history of all quotes, work, transactions and conversations. When a customer calls with a complaint, they will feel that you consider them to be an important client if you have their history at your fingertips.
Treating each customer as if he is a VIP customer will go a long way to boost customer service.
5. Have a Follow-Up Procedure in Place
- In today’s internet world, sending a follow-up email is simple and economical. A free account at MailChimp.com allows you to store up to 2,000 email addresses at no charge. You can send several emails to your list every month.
- Keeping in touch with your customers is a great way to boost customer service. You can educate your customers on the best ways to use or maintain your products. Also, try to remind them about how often they should order your service.
- You can even email them about your company’s policy if your company does not satisfy them. It’s common to send out a survey after an interaction with a company. SurveyMonkey has a free package that is very easy to use.
- If the client expresses dissatisfaction in his survey, you can aid in solving the situation with a follow-up phone call.
6. If You Want to Boost Customer Service, Focus on How You Make the Customer Feel
In reality, it’s not so much what you say as how you make the customer feel. A customer service representative that shows empathy for the person who is have a problem is critically important. And the faster the problem gets resolved, the happier the customer will be.
- Does he feel understood/ that you respect him?
- He perceives that you are sincerely working to solve his problem?
- Does he go away feeling that he will do business with your company again because you solved his problem in a respectful and timely manner?
- When he tells someone else about his experience, will it be in a positive or negative light?
Some companies are known for their low prices. Others are famous for their quality. However, if your company has the most outstanding customer service, your company will shine brighter. Don’t just shoot for making a customer happy; strive to give every customer an outstanding experience.
If your company implements some of these strategies, you will boost customer service to the next level. You can turn more customers into repeat customers.