The purpose of customer service is to create a nurturing relationship with your customers – thereby improving customer satisfaction through customer service. While this has always been so, it is now more important than ever. The sheer choice presented to the average customer and the quality of communication available, means that no customer need remain loyal to any company longer than the purchase of a single product.
Also, the speed of modern communication means that opinions about a given company can be spread rapidly, not just locally or regionally but literally across the planet. And so, creating an excellent customer service experience isn’t just a good idea, it’s the foundation upon which future sales are built.
Customer Loyalty & Word of Mouth
The future is built upon customer loyalty and positive word of mouth. The best way to do that is to build a company culture that is built on customer service. Research has shown that handling upsets and disagreements is actually a form of social media advertising. A customer who has his or her issue successfully resolved is likely to tell at least 4 to 6 people about that positive experience.
Another way to ensure customer satisfaction is to get personal. Customer facing employees should be trained to address customers in a calm and polite manner, talking to them as they would a friend or acquaintance. This includes calling the customer by first name and exhibiting interest in what the customer has to say. It isn’t necessary to treat customers like long lost friends, and most people don’t like to be addressed in such a way by people they don’t really know. So it’s a matter of striking a balance between being friendly and respectful.
Support & Address Customer Needs
Perhaps the single most important element of customer service is supporting the customer’s needs and following up. It’s a matter of providing high quality service while treating customers as real people with genuine problems and desires. This is actually quite easy to do. It is mostly a matter of two way communication. Your part is to keep the customer aware of your products and services and to listen to and act on customer feedback.
It’s also a matter of building trust. In the business world, trust is built by keeping customers informed and by delivering what is promised. Customers should never be confronted with a surprise change in policy or with a radical change in procedures. There is a temptation in any business to do what makes it easier for the bureaucracy to run. But, what’s good for the bureaucracy isn’t necessarily good for the customer. Even if the change made isn’t necessarily disruptive, no customer likes to be confronted with changes that seem to come out of nowhere. So keep the customer informed well ahead of time. And if you must make changes, consult with your customers first. Propose the change first and get agreement before you implement it.
By following these few rules of staying in communication, respecting customers as individuals, delivering quality products and keeping promises, you can build a loyal customer base that will consistently expand. In fact, you’re happy customers will help you expand.