Managers and CEOs do not run a business. Customers do.
Customer service, therefore, is an unbudgeable part of every successful marketing strategy. A business is essentially a partnership between the owners and the consumers. It is hence crucial that a brand caters to its customers in the best possible manner.
A customer centric culture is what attracts new clients, and more importantly, brings your old ones back to your door. Even the best of brands respect the fact that business growth can be seriously impacted when customers are left unsatisfied.
Irrespective of the awesomeness of your product or the technical skills of your team, there is no way you can scale your business growth without creating pleasant memories for your loyal customers.
Needless to say, if you’re not constantly working on your customer relationships, business graphs are likely to be impacted.
That said, the “how to” question can often be overwhelming.
The article discusses the importance of customer support and tips that will be useful for you in 2020 to impress your customers.
Why is customer service important?
Customer service is the heart of every organisation. It is crucial because of the following reasons–
- It increases customer loyalty
- It improves customer spending
- It reduces the frequency of customer visits
- It helps in enhancing referrals
- It reduces your costs significantly
Customer service is not a single aspect. It is the sum total of several elements, all of which come together to decide your ability to retain customers and in creating new ones. As per a survey by Bain & Company, old customers are likely to spend 67 per cent more on your products than new ones.
Another Bain & Company survey tells us that if a brand improves customer retention by 5 per cent, its profits can jack up by 25 per cent. To bring the things in perspective, 77 per cent of consumers spread positive brand experience with their near and dear ones. The stakes are high, and it is about time that you start focusing on improving your customer service.
Top 20 customer service tips
With business strategies becoming increasingly robust and mechanical with time, it is vital to keep the emotional factor alive, especially while dealing with potential clients.
Following are 20 customer service tips for 2020 that you must know –
1. Knowledge of your products or services
The best way to impress and retain your customer is by showing them how well you know your trade. The fact that you are kind, but you were unable to answer the client’s query will make her wary of you. Instead, make sure that you and your client-facing staff know even the minutest detail about the product you are trying to sell.
Another important fact is that answering in a haphazard manner may leave them confused, and they may sway away from buying the product. To prevent it, make sure that you practice thoroughly and are confident while facing the clients.
2. Greet everyone with a smile
A smiling face is a symbol of assurance and attracts a customer to get into a conversation. It is one of the most effective ways to win over a customer. It is good to use multiple paid strategies to invite additional customers, but how can you forget the evergreen formula of retaining customers?
If you haven’t learned the art of smiling to impress customers yet, it is the most critical customer service tip in 2020 for you to learn.
3. Do not hesitate in saying “Thank You”
The word “Thank You” seems simple in everyone’s dictionary but when wielded correctly can do wonders for you. It helps customers to feel that they are a part of the organisation.
In the era of online businesses, we have stopped interacting with the customers to a great extent. They come, they pick, and they leave. Most of the time, the parties in a transaction have no clue about each other. So when you get an opportunity to meet a customer, do not feel shy in bowing down in front of him and thanking him for being a part of your journey.
4. Make sure that your customer care staff is competent and humble
In most organisations, terms and conditions bind the customer service team. They want to help the clients but are unable to do due to the restrictions levied on them.
It leads to unresolved issues cropping up, which decreases customer satisfaction. How do you rectify it? By making your customer care staff competent and humble. Give them the power to resolve issues at their end, which they find genuine.
Take the example of Ritz Carlton. They allow $2000 per guest/per day to each employee who can use it to cater to the customer in the best possible manner. Such minute changes differentiate you from the rest.
5. Understand that arguing is not the best possible option available
When we disagree with someone else’s notion, we tend to argue to ensure that our ‘correct’ idea wins. When you are serving a customer, a lot is at stake. Even if you win an argument, you may lose the customer.
It is you who can choose either to argue to explain your point to the customer calmly. It will not only floor the entire issue, but it will also leave behind a good impression of yours. Unless necessary, refrain from arguing with your customers.
6. Lend a helping hand wherever possible
When a new customer first visits your ecosystem, she may find it challenging to figure out the layout and how it functions. Even if it is an existing customer, there can be times when they are in a fix and are searching for a helping hand. Your customer team should be well-equipped to sense it and act accordingly.
7. Be well informed
Why do we trust a teacher to teach our kids? Because we think that they are experts in their sector. How will customers trust what you say? They will trust your words only when they know that you are well informed and understand the intricacies.
The first step to improve customer satisfaction is by enhancing your knowledge. You must know about the technology used, its strengths and its potential weak points. It will help you suggest better offerings which will improve customer satisfaction.
8. Do not forget your old customers
Retaining your customer is a more difficult task than trying to acquire new customers. The past customers are a mix of active and inactive ones. You cannot try and upsell to an inactive user, and you cannot expect them to respond to their queries unless you make the right moves.
To try and retain old ones, you must care about providing them with something useful. Do not expect loyalty just because they brought something from you. Instead, compel them with offerings that they cannot deny, and they will come back every time.
9. Listen before you speak
When a customer comes in the store, he is not there to listen to you or for your oratory skills. He is there to satisfy his needs. Instead of speaking and more speaking, pay attention to his words and let him express. It will tell you what he is looking for and you will be in a position to suggest to him what suits his needs best. On the other hand, if you keep boasting about your products, he will become disinterested and leave at once without buying.
10. Be available after the sale is complete
Several brands will respond to you earliest when you want to buy anything from them but are found nowhere after you buy their products. Such brands will seldom see success. If you wish to satisfy your customers, it is crucial that you are available even after the sale and they can reach you to clear doubts or to point out the deficiencies.
11. Be consistent in your approach
When we start something new, we are the most enthusiastic on the first day, and it keeps on dying every passing day. If you fail to address it in your organisation, your customer satisfaction game is not going anywhere.
Consistency is critical when you talk about delivering optimal performance. If you fail to do so, there won’t be too many customers coming back to you to try your newest experiment.
12. Keep the negative feedbacks close to your heart
Most of us fear change. It is the reason several brands never care to conduct feedback about their product and services. Shying away won’t help your cause. Work towards eradicating negative feedback. If you want to ace customer satisfaction, you need to keep the negative feedback close to you and work harder to eliminate it.
13. Try and add personalisation to your offerings
Personalisation is a great way to show your customer that they are essential. Another critical customer service tip is to personalise your offerings. Remember that it is much more than just adding their name. While conversing with them, try and mention something that they had previously told you or show them the product that they had left behind the last time due to some inevitable circumstances.
14. Let the customers choose
Organisations fail when they offer only a single product and think that it is all that a customer needs. Another excellent tip for customer satisfaction is to give them the power to choose. Offer them multiple products which may look similar but are different in some way or the other. Do not take away the ability of consumers to choose in any manner.
15. Do not overuse automation
Automation has crept into our day-to-day lives in a big way. We no longer have to stand in a queue to pay our bills. Instead, our personal devices remind us that our bills are due and must be paid within the due date.
Organisations have actively been using chatbots to interact with their customers. They have become so indulged that at times they forget to add the option for the customers to interact with real personnel.
Instead of over-automating the front-end, it is imperative for you to understand that the back-end is the one which requires higher automation.
16. Build a community, be it on social media or offline
When we introduce a new product, what most of us do is just post about it for a few days on some social media handles and then forget it. There are further questions which need answering and you ought to clear the air.
How do you do it? You need to build a community, where you regularly push updates about your product portfolio, answer commonly asked questions, and ask for feedback.
As per Globalwebindex report, “40 per cent of the digital consumers use social networks to acquaint themselves with new products or services”. It proves that the market is enormous, and you need to create the requisite tools to get the most out of it.
17. Offer regular rewards and customer loyalty programs
You must have come across customer loyalty programs more often than not. Most known brands are today using it as a tool to retain customers, improve referrals, and to drive their new product adoption. Brands must have a policy in place to reward regular customers so that they have a sense of belonging.
You do not need to offer them $100 worth of free products every month. Instead, offer them exclusive services like free trial period, increased return/ exchange period, or something that won’t break your bank and keep them happy as well.
18. Introduce gamification to make it more entertaining and wholesome
Gamification has become a crucial weapon to drive customer satisfaction. It improves customer engagement, brings in transparency, peer recognition, and much more. While implementing it, you must be careful about it becoming overly competitive. It won’t serve your purpose that way.
Instead, use the gamification metrics to track your upsells. You can also use it to improve open rates and close rates. Another issue that you can address is to improve the understanding of the consumers regarding specific products and services.
19. Be proactive instead of being reactive
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is the most excellent example of being proactive instead of being reactive. We have come across several companies disclosing about their data breach after the damage occurs. Such companies react on the basis of what happens to them.
On the other hand, there are several organisations which recognise a current issue and inform their users that they are working on getting a solution. Such organisations are more likely to retain customers than the previous ones.
20. Make sure that the support is cross-departmental
Organisations make the mistake of treating customer support as another department. Instead, it is everyone’s responsibility, and you need a holistic approach to improve. Make sure that you convey the message to everyone on your team that they are all responsible for answering the consumers.
Besides, you must ensure that everyone receives appropriate training to be able to address consumer grievances and are well informed about the product and services.
Corporate examples of excellent customer service
Every organisation is striving hard nowadays to improve their customer service. When it comes to cases, there are innumerable, but we would like to list some who managed to impress us the most –
There are several incidents which prove that Zappos has indeed aced customer satisfaction test. In the Las Vegas Area, a customer service representative clocked in 10 hours and 29 minutes while trying to solve a consumer’s query.
Another incident which we came across is the story of a shoe exchange refusal. A customer once received a wrong pair of shoes and complained to them for the same. They refused to take them back and instead requested her to donate it to a charity. She received the correct pair overnight.
In 2018, Coca-Cola announced that they had given back more than $1 billion via its Coca-Cola foundation. The amount has not been disbursed merely to large organisations. Instead, they have ensures that the ones who need it get the funding. For instance, take the example of its Thank You Fund in Ireland, which gives €100K annually to local charities for young people.
The aforementioned customer service tips are some of the most important tools to create meaningful bonds with your clients and increasing loyalty. Ensure that your customer management team is geared up on their services.
Remember, happy customers is the most important step towards business growth.