How customer service can make or break your business

Can you guess the one thing that will make your competitors love you? 

Poor customer service. Because this one thing will drive customers away from you and straight to them.

You will no doubt spend time and effort on gaining customers, but don’t forget the work that needs to go into keeping them. For this, you need to deliver a service that the competitor simply cannot match.

Before we continue here are further resources we discuss on improving your customer services.

Customer Service

What is good customer service?

At first glance, this may seem like a silly question. But, if you can’t clearly define customer service in the context of what your business offers, how will you be able to offer it?

These are some of the elements of outstanding customer service:

  • You know what your customers consider to be good service. It’s not about you, it is about them.
  • You take time to establish exactly what your customers expect of you.
  • You follow up on feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Nothing looks worse than a company that simply ignores, for example, their customers on social media.
  • You ensure that customer service is a priority in all aspects of your business.
  • You show customers that you understand their needs.
  • You keep reminding customers why it would benefit them to do business with you.

Excellent customer service will leave a lasting impression. It certainly means that you are an expert in your field in order to assist your customers efficiently, but it goes further than that. 

It also involves the way you treat your customers. Are you friendly at all times and can they see how important they are to you? Do you go out of your way to help them?

Customer Retention Strategies

5 reasons why customer service is important

Customer service is about much more than just being ‘nice’. Perhaps you are simply tolerating your customers in order to avoid an argument. It’s after all no secret that customers can be difficult to please.

If this is how you feel, you might want to work on your mindset. Yes, customer service comes with challenges, but it should be prioritised for the simple reason that it can affect your bottom line.

This is the role customer service plays in the survival of your business: 

  1. A pleasant customer experience will ensure that customers return, and become loyal to your business. Gaining new customers tends to be more expensive than keeping existing ones.
  2. Satisfactory customer service forms the foundation for building lasting relationships with your customers. 
  1. A positive working environment where customers are happy does wonders for employee morale. Happy employees will stay with you longer, saving you the time and effort of new hires.
    Furthermore, a happy employee will be more likely to become an advocate for your business.
  1. Satisfied customers will give you positive reviews and recommend your business to other people. Word of mouth is a brilliant form of advertising – cheap and extremely effective.
  1. Going the extra mile for your customers could be the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors.

7 guidelines for providing next-level customer service

It’s clear that excellent customer service involves prompt assistance, kindness, respect and problem solving. The guys at Forbes broke customer service down into these points to keep in mind:

  1. Respect. Make your customers feel appreciated. Don’t speak down to them and don’t ignore them. Use a polite and helpful tone when speaking to them.
  1. Promptness. We live fast-paced lives and no one has time to wait. Help your clients as quickly as you can – or watch them turn around and leave.
  1. Listen. Make sure you understand what it is your customer needs before you start dishing out solutions to the wrong problems.
  1. Clear communication. Ensure that everything you say is easy to understand and be careful of jargon.
  1. Be positive. Your customers will pick up on negative feelings and it will make them feel like you don’t really want to help them.
  1. Be honest. Things don’t always go according to plan, and your customers will appreciate you being honest about it when that is the case.
    Instead of trying to hide problems, be upfront about it and find a solution as quick as you can.
  1. Educate your team. There is no point in only one person being able to provide top service.
    Ensure that your staff is knowledgeable about all aspects of your business so that they can address customer concerns quickly and effectively.
Tips To Satisfy Every Type Of Customer

How to handle customer complaints

As mentioned earlier, things will at times go wrong. Should a customer complaint come your way, the first step is to acknowledge the problem. 

The worst thing you can do at this point is try to hide from the customer, deny that a mistake was made or try to shift blame.

Your next step is to apologise immediately. Even if you would rather investigate to find out what exactly happened – the fact remains that the customer is upset. Apologise first, investigate after.

Now you have to find a solution. Fix the problem to the customer’s satisfaction. A nice touch is to add something additional to show that you are committed to customer service at all times.

This means finding a solution to the problem your customer experienced, as well as perhaps offering them another one of your products or services free of charge. 

There will be occasions on which customers are unreasonable, and this can be difficult to handle. 

It’s key to remember that you are speaking to a human being, and while they sound unreasonable to you, they are still experiencing a problem which does not feel unreasonable to them.

Listen to what they are saying. Understanding where the frustration is coming from will help you find a way to resolve the issue. Do not raise your voice, stay calm and find ways to build rapport. 

Emphasise with the customer and help them calm down, so you can find a win-win solution without things getting out of hand.

Conclusion

One thing is certain: if you are dealing with customers your job will never be dull. A quick online search for ‘funny customer complaints’ will confirm this. 

But, exceptional customer service turns every single customer experience into an opportunity to market and grow your business.

Check out our other resources on improving your customer services.

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