Modern customers have higher and higher expectations of companies these days, and since there is so much competition out there in every area if they don’t have the experience that they are looking for, it is highly likely that they are going to up sticks and find a business which better meets their expectations. This is why it is so important that you make a concerted effort to make every single interaction with customers special.
In this blog post, we are going to be looking at some of the ways in which you can achieve your goals when it comes to customer service. Reputation is especially important these days in our age of review-writing when a single negative comment can be spread far and wide thanks to social media. And since your business is so contactable these days, you need to be fighting on every front to give your clients the best possible impression of your business.
Show Gratitude and Empathy
It isn’t enough to simply offer a good service at a reasonable price; customers need to feel like you are grateful when they buy from your company. As a golden rule to follow, you should treat each and every customer in the way that you would like to be treated yourself. Not only should you demonstrate gratitude, but you should also be demonstrating that you are empathetic with your customers.
So, if you run a physical business such as a cafe, this means getting to know your regulars and finding out a bit about their lives. If you run an online business, this means sending out thank you emails whenever a customer orders from you. It can also mean offering discounts and rewards to your most loyal of clients. If you have a customer service department, this is at the forefront of your business, and it is especially important that everyone is highly trained in giving off the right impression of your business – namely showing the level of gratitude and empathy that we have just discussed.
Focus on Customer Interactions
If there is one thing that customers hate above everything else, it is feeling like they are being ignored. Whenever a customer engages you in an interaction, the first step is the acknowledgment that a solution is being sought-after. It doesn’t matter whether you are speaking to customers on the phone, via email, by commenting on social media, speaking to you on instant messenger or even speaking to you face to face – just like the good old days!
If you can’t solve a customer’s issue within the first interaction, you need to provide them with a reasonable timetable of when they can expect that you will do so. Even if you do manage to resolve the issue, it is always nice practice to get in touch with them a week or two later to ensure that everything is still running smoothly. And if you find that there is a particular issue which keeps coming up time and time again, now is the time to make a special effort to solve it so that it doesn’t occur again.
Innovate Where Possible
Another way that you can keep customers coming back to you time and time again is by running a business which is always innovating. A lot of this is likely to be through the new technological features which you add to enhance your company. One way to do this is to take a look at installing CRM software which will help you out to manage customer interactions. If your business stays stuck with the same tired old formulas and tricks, there is every chance that your customer will think that the time has come to investigate the other options out there. And as we have already mentioned earlier, in the modern world, there have been plenty of them.
Stay Open and Honest
Another central issue which customers have with many businesses is that they simply don’t consider them to be open and honest enough. You need to be open with your customers – particularly if there is a mistake which you know has been caused by your own business. Don’t hesitate to explain what has gone wrong and what you are going to do to rectify the problem. Customers appreciate it much more when you go to them directly rather than trying to skirt around the issue and pass the blame off elsewhere. Part of this openness also involves staying communicative with your customers and continuing to get in touch with them if there are any issues along the way.
Ask for Customer Feedback and Implement Changes as Needed
A big part of building up lasting relationships with your customers involves asking for customer feedback to find out what could be improved about your business. Your clients will have a totally different impression of your business to yourself and your staff, so it is vital to find out what they are thinking. Getting this feedback can be challenging to attain, but if you offer your customers some sort of reward for answering your questions, this can encourage them to offer the information that you are looking for.
And if you are going to ask for this feedback, there is no point simply throwing it in a drawer and doing nothing with it. If you uncover some changes which are going to benefit your business in some way, it is important that you implement these. Not only will this help to improve future customer interactions, but it will also show your clients that you care enough about what they are saying to make real changes to your business.
Surprise Your Customers with Kindness
One of the best ways that you can delight people is through surprise. So, if you offer your customers something positive that they simply weren’t expecting, this can be a great way of leaving the lasting good impression that you are looking to create. Obviously, a special gift or a discount are two excellent ways of making your customers happy. But there are plenty of other ways of doing this as well including sending them a thank you letter, offering them some branded merchandise or giving them a shout out on social media. Ultimately, you are trying to create the type of lasting emotional connection with your clients which will naturally make them associate your business with good things.
Make Customer Interactions Painless
Obviously, with so many different methods of getting in contact with your customers these days, it can be something of a challenge to keep up with them all. But if your customer uses one method of getting in contact, it is highly likely that they will want you to use the same one when you get back in touch. Essentially, this comes back down to having a system of dealing with customer interactions. Perhaps you need to hire more people in your customer service department or even outsource this particular function elsewhere. We live in a world which is always on the go and customers are increasingly short of time and patience. You need to run a business that keeps up with these high demands.
Communicate Like a Human Being
Customers can easily become frustrated with businesses that bombard them with corporate language and jargon rather than trying to communicate with them on a human level. In fact, on modern communication tools such as social media, too much corporate language can ring very hollow indeed. Of course, you need to adapt your communications depending on the type of customer that you are dealing with. If the client has sent a very formal email, you can help to make yourself look professional by responding in a similar manner. And obviously, if you have a client who is complaining, you need to be more careful in the way that you communicate with them. But if you have a customer who is praising your product or commenting on one of your posts, there is nothing wrong with utilising some emojis or GIFs!
The businesses which can nail customer interactions are often the ones which will stand the test of time. This is because they will encourage their clients to stay loyal and praise their businesses. As we have already mentioned, you need to be at the forefront of innovation and change, always adapting your business model to suit the changing times. But if you can do this, you have every chance of running a company which people love, as well as one which stands the test of time and keeps trading long into the future.