Running a business is not a simple task. Between logistics management, sustainable growth, and new product development, it is easy for the most important piece of the puzzle to fall by the wayside: your customers. Customer service is a leading factor in consumer choices, and yet over half of the consumers feel that service has become an afterthought. What can you do to reverse the trend?
A Welcoming Service
There are some direct and immediate ways in which you can center your business as a customer-friendly venture, and they relate to the customer’s immediate experience with you – whether online, offline, or even over the phone.
If you are a retail store or venue, whether a chain, franchise, or mom-and-pop outlet, your retail staff are your customers’ first and often only point of contact. Their experience with that individual will be the main thing with which they form an opinion of your business. By training staff in customer service, you can control the quality and outcomes of these interactions and improve first impressions considerably. Besides, you should also implement policies that help the customers meet compliance obligations for contractual agreements. For this, you can hire companies who assist with internal controls management so that you can provide your customers with the best experience.
The same principle works with online businesses, where customers interact with a website or portal to gain access to your services. A poor UI will confuse customers, while irrelevant information can make it difficult to navigate to what they need. Poor payment solutions will sour the experience – with the potential result of driving customers to competitors. By overhauling your site and making it easy to contact real customer service staff, you make their digital experience a comfortable one.
Iteration and Feedback
Improving your business’s customer service and satisfaction is naturally an iterative process, as different changes are realized at different times by different teams within your company. This process can be improved by being informed by the customers themselves.
Customer feedback is essential to understanding the efficacy of your customer service, and any changes you may have made to improve it. By making it easy for customers to rate your service after using it, you can collect data swiftly and cheaply – giving you ample time to act on it.
Satisfied customers are customers that do not have to alter their habits. Customer retention is a passive endorsement of your services; it can also be encouraged with active measures that show customers you care.
Rewarding loyalty is a great way to foster a positive long-term customer relationship. In introducing a loyalty program you demonstrate a commitment of value to your core customers, making them more likely to stay. You could take inspiration from Panera, which takes the principle a step further and allow customers to choose their rewards for repeat custom.
Going the Extra Mile
Last but not least, customer service is not always a smooth experience. Things go wrong and mistakes are made, sometimes unavoidably. What defines a positive customer interaction here is the speed, efficacy, and grace with which you handle the situation. By taking additional time to reassure your customers and make things right, you show them that your business is a dependable one – even when things go awry.
Steph King is a content writer from the UK with a passion for writing about Business and Marketing