Ten Tips for Providing Excellent Customer Service
Service is at the core of what every business provides. Whether you specialize in making high-end cowboy boots or proprietary software development, providing excellent customer service and ensuring a great customer service experience is necessary, not an option.
If your company doesn’t place good customer service and customer support as the highest priority, the quality of your products and services will not be enough to sustain your long-term growth and success. You must go the extra mile to meet your customers’ needs and deliver on customer expectations.
Providing excellent customer service isn’t as hard as you may think. However, it does require intentional, strategic development, cross-team cooperation, and a company culture centered around a customer-first mentality.
Providing the Highest Level of Service
Providing the highest level of service requires a daily commitment to the customer that is sheltered from outside distractions. Everyone from your office cleaning team to your customer-facing representatives must operate under this accord.
Of course, we understand this is easier said than done and cannot be accomplished as a mere afterthought. It must be an integral part of your entire company culture to be an act carried out by mere muscle memory.
Once your culture has achieved this level of customer service delivery, it will become much easier and more consistent to provide.
One question you should ask and honestly answer is, does your company provide customer service more closely aligned with that of your average DMV or that found at almost any Chick-Fil-A, a chain known for remarkable customer service?
We’re confident we don’t have to explain that analogy for it to make sense. However, ask yourself why that is. The answer should be apparent. One is known for its consistently poor service, and the other for its extraordinary service.
For Chick-Fil-A, providing great customer service is just as important as their food quality. Therefore, looking to Chick-Fil-A as your example, strive to be known for your customer service as well as your products and services.
Ten Tips for Providing Excellent Customer Service
Let’s look at some of the best ways your company can ensure you provide consistently excellent customer service daily.
We must start this list with your strategy. Providing excellent customer service can only be done with direction or guidance. A strategy and plan must be in place that provides a clear direction for your entire company from the top down.
Developing your strategy should involve the inclusion of multi-level teams. It is a mistake to believe that service is only provided by the team members dedicated to taking calls from customers or interacting with customers in forward-facing roles.
Indeed, everyone in the company may be put in a position to have the opportunity to be of service to your customers; therefore, everyone must be involved in the strategy development phase.
2. Customer-Focused Service
This may seem like an obvious tip, but its execution can often require a change in methodology and even years-long company policies. When your customer service is customer-focused, it means the customer's needs are placed above the company's needs.
Therefore, whenever a customer has an issue or concern, the primary objective is to ensure the customer's interest is served before the company’s.
For example, instead of finding a way for an issue not to cost the company money, the goal should be how to resolve the matter to the customer's satisfaction, absent what the cost may be.
3. Company Cultural Restructuring
Implementing a customer-focused service strategy may require a complete overhaul of your company culture. This won’t be easy and likely won’t happen overnight.
Like everyone else on the planet, your employees will not like change. As such, it will take time for your new culture to evolve and blossom.
Despite this reluctance for change, change is necessary. The benefits will be exponentially higher than you can imagine. Eventually, providing excellent customer service will become just as much a part of what your employees do as what they create.
Communication skills are the key to success when two or more people are involved. Pick any topic or scenario, and this fact will apply. Your teams must communicate effectively with your customers at all times and at all touchpoints.
Effective communication requires the ability to listen more than you speak. An old adage puts it this way: We have two ears and one mouth to listen twice as much as we speak.
Happy customers are also loyal customers. Addressing customer feedback and responding to customers’ problems is critical. Excellent service can transform bad customer service into the best customer service.
Ensure that you know your products and services and how to navigate customer interactions with those who have had a bad experience. Along the customer journey, not every angry customer necessarily leads to churn. Exceptional customer service not only opens your business to new customers but can also increase your retention metrics.
Investing in communication training and other customer service skills for your employees can go a long way in ensuring each opportunity to communicate with customers is capitalized upon.
5. Multi-Point Touchpoints
Providing your customers with multiple touchpoint options for communication is an excellent way of easily and quickly increasing the quality of your customer service delivery.
For instance, you can increase access to your teams by investing in your social media management, call center capacity, and forward-facing employees, and implementing cutting-edge technologies such as SMS communications and website chatbots.
6. Relationship Building
Successful businesses know that conducting business is less about making a sale and more about forming relationships with customers and clients. Consumers prefer to do business with companies they trust, admire, and respect. You can increase customer loyalty by having a customer support team full of real people with positive attitudes, ready to help your customers in real time.
Building and forming relationships between your teams and customers will significantly increase customer satisfaction and retention and promote brand loyalty.
7. First Contact Resolution
Investing and developing your conflict resolution apparatus will significantly increase the quality of your customer service. Nothing can be more frustrating for a customer than seeking help and not being able to find it quickly.
This is especially true when it comes to calling center customer service. Aside from increased wait times, the number one reason customers become dissatisfied with customer service is that resolution and response time delays mean they are not enjoying the product or service they’ve purchased. It won’t take long before they decide doing business with you is no longer viable for their happiness.
It should be a top priority to resolve customer issues and concerns quickly, efficiently, and at first contact. Whether it be a simple question about billing or a complex technical problem, ensure your teams and infrastructure is adequately prepared to provide excellent customer service without delayed resolution. This extends past phone calls — in-person problem-solving should also be fast and amiable.
8. Establish Highly Trained, Hyper-Focused Customer Retention Teams
Your team members will only sometimes be able to resolve issues at first contact, although your goal should be to minimize this scenario as much as possible.
Still, it is vital to establish highly trained customer service representatives who are hyper-focused on resolving customer issues and complaints to ensure customer retention.
Customer retention team members have two objectives centered around one goal — retain that customer's business. Losing customers due to issues with your products or services has a cascading effect on sustainable growth. Moreover, keeping customers is far more cost-effective than marketing to find new ones.
9. Be More Proactive and Less Reactive
Like a customer retention team, the proactive customer service team is on a mission to seek out and eliminate customer issues and complaints before they occur. Proactiveness can occur on multiple levels.
For example, when you release new products and services, it will become quickly apparent with proper data collection and analysis of the most common issues and complaints. Establish packaging guidelines, instruction manual editing, and website FAQ pages to address these common issues.
Let’s say you manufacture humidifiers, and to make them energy efficient, you program the ambient lights to turn off after 20-seconds automatically. Customers may believe that the absence of an indicator light may mean the device isn’t functioning correctly.
Placing a notice sticker above the power button explaining why the light is going out will eliminate customers calling in to question if their device is defective.
10. Be Available
Lastly, make sure your customer service teams are available when the customers need them. This means having communication options available all the time.
This doesn’t mean you need to operate call centers 24/7, but you need to provide alternative methods of communication when they aren’t.
Social media messaging apps, email, and online chats via your eCommerce site are great options to provide your customers.
We’ll be the first to admit that no secret sauce recipe guarantees your company will shine and stand out as a provider of excellent customer service. What’s important is that your company makes striving towards excellence in customer service delivery a top daily priority.
The best place to start in this endeavor is to pivot towards a customer-first company culture focused on the needs and benefits of the customer above all else.
Your customers will take notice of this commitment and, as a result, will feel appreciated and respected. Forming this high-level relationship will result in higher customer retention, greater Google reviews, increased revenues, and sustainable growth.
You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
We know that changing your company culture may seem daunting, especially for small businesses. Making significant capital investments in developing and improving your customer service delivery can appear unachievable. But don’t fear — help is here.
At Awesome CX, we want you to know this is not an endeavor you must endure alone. By outsourcing many of your customer service needs, you can achieve your goals at a fraction of the cost of internal development.
We encourage you to connect with our team to discuss how we can assist your company in improving the customer experience for your customers, and how partnering with us can help you quickly realize significant improvements in customer satisfaction.