Everyone knows how important ‘good customer service’ is. It’s an absolutely critical element of customer retention – something we all strive to improve. But how do you achieve it? Here are 7 good customer service ideas that you can get started on today…
1. Provide an effortless experience
Crazy customer retention ideas aren’t always the best ones! What customers really want is a completely effortless experience. You don’t necessarily need to strive for ‘wow’ – it’s much more important to work towards eliminating any effort required on the part of the customer.Focus on how you can make everything that little bit easier for them – often it’s the smallest details that matter most to people.
Kevin Hale, CEO of Wufoo, once said that sales and marketing spend is a tax companies have to pay because their product and customer support aren’t good enough. This is an incredibly useful perspective to remember when it comes to developing your business’s customer support offering. It helps customer service representatives to understand that the service they provide can make a huge difference to the business.
For more about how to provide effortless support that feels like magic, check out our very own customer support handbook:
2. Start your customer retention at home
If you’re committed to improving customer retention by developing your customer service, it’s vital to begin by thinking about your own staff. Happy, motivated staff members will always deliver better service to your customers than those who feel undervalued and/or lack motivation to do the best job possible.
Unhappy, demotivated staff will be less willing to go the extra mile when it comes to assisting your customers – they’re far more likely to simply do the bare minimum required.
Happy staff make for happy, well-served customers…and happy customers give good reviews, boosting staff morale and motivation even further. This cycle of appreciation and motivation needs to be started and maintained by providing staff with support, guidance and recognition. Why not share great customer feedback that’s been received? This can be a great way to recognise staff who have delivered fantastic customer service, and to inspire others.
3. Be kind!
Where possible, try to inject a little kindness into your customer interactions. It can be all too easy to get wrapped up in targets and processes. Take a step back and look for areas of your customer service interactions where you can add some small, meaningful gestures. They don’t have to cost the earth – they just need to be thoughtful and show your customer that you want them to be happy.
I recently stayed at a hotel, and they took my car keys when I checked in to park the car. When I checked out the next day, they had put a bottle of water in the car for my journey. Cost? Probably about 40 cents to them. Value to me? Huge.
4. Seek meaningful customer feedback with a survey that isn’t a burden
If you send out a lengthy survey which takes too long to complete and places the onus on the customer to do all the hard work, they’re likely to feel that you don’t truly have their best interests at heart. As a result, they will drop out of the process and simply won’t bother to respond.
Low response rates compromise your whole feedback exercise. Hearing from only 2% of your customer base is not OK. You simply won’t gain a representative picture of how people are feeling. If you want to hang on to customers in the long-term you need to hear from lots of them, on a regular basis.
Send customers a survey that they’ll want to complete, that is engaging, and (most importantly) considerate of their time. This will get you the largest possible response rate and ensure your overall survey data is meaningful.
For more about how to engage your customers with your surveys, check out our eBook:
5. Respond to customer feedback quickly
Soliciting feedback is only the first step in the process – to achieve great customer retention you must ask and act. Good customer service should be both proactive and reactive. When a customer takes the time to tell you about a problem, it’s vital that you respond to their feedback, and where possible, demonstrate that you’ve taken steps to rectify the issue.
Not only will this responsiveness smooth over the immediate problem, but often a bad experience that has been addressed and turned around can make for a happier customer than someone who had a good experience in the first place.
When your customers know you’re truly listening to what they have to say, they’ll also be more inclined to continue engaging in the feedback process. The more you listen, the more they’ll tell you – and this is incredibly valuable.
6. Work on your post-purchase reinforcement
Once your customer has chosen to come on board, make sure you really look after them. After making a purchase, it’s common for an individual to feel uneasy about whether they’ve made the right decision. Post-purchase communications can provide really beneficial reassurance for your customer, and dramatically improve their overall satisfaction…and this, in turn, will improve your customer retention.
Patricia Fripp, an award winning speaker and trainer, asserts that if you want to build a long term successful enterprise, “you don’t close a sale, you open a relationship.” This is really important to remember when building your customer service processes. Ensure that you actively nurture your customer relationships – don’t allow your customer service interactions to always be instigated by the customer themselves.
7. Good customer service ideas don’t all have to come from you
Gather information and ideas from as many sources as possible. This is the best way to identify improvements to your customer service processes that will truly make a difference.
- Review the comments your customers have sent to you
- Read the reviews of your company online and look for specifics
- Talk to the people who deal with your customers every day and ask for their ideas
Make a shortlist of the top 3 things that repeatedly come up and act on them today.
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