Customer service is a term that tends to get thrown around quite a bit and it is at times ambiguous as to what it means exactly. It seems to refer more than just the manner in which a service provider deals with their customers, but also the systems and procedures that are in place to ensure the customers’ needs are met. It is without any doubt very important and can be a deciding factor in earning a returning customer.
But what specifically makes for great customer service? This article will go into a few of the characteristics and factors that can help a company deliver great customer service to their customers.
Take Responsibility For Mistakes
It’s important to own your mistakes and in some cases possibly admit to wrongdoing to appease the client even when you feel you aren’t at fault. There is no better way to irk a customer than to make an error of some kind and then be stubborn and shift the blame onto them or someone else – this is the best way to get a bad reputation. Even if the mistake isn’t your own, if the customer feels that it is, you’re better off making up for it, showing that you’re sorry and offering something in return to demonstrate this. It’s all about thinking long term!
Quick Response Times
This one is really a no-brainer and applies across all industries, but particularly in professional services. It’s imperative that you get back to customers as quickly as possible, whether it be in response to an email, a voice message or a call that you’ve received while in a meeting or otherwise engaged. There is nothing more frustrating for a client that has a time sensitive issue that needs attention immediately but has to wait because your provider isn’t getting back to you.
If you can get back to your customers within a few hours, you will actually put yourself ahead of the competition. According to Frost, the average response time to emails service providers is 17 hours. Make an effort to get back to your customers as soon as possible and your efforts will be appreciated.
For some types of businesses, this simply isn’t possible. You may be a sole trader or only have a few staff, making it very difficult to get back to customers if you’re busy on other jobs. In these cases, an answering service for small business, which allows you to outsource your incoming calls, can be very useful.
Foster Relationships With Customers
Customers like to deal with people they know and feel as if they are valued. This is part of the reason account management is essentially an industry unto itself! As well as the actual service you provide, a large proportion of business is about the relationships that you create and maintain. Getting to know a little about your customers, their lives and the specifics of their businesses, and referring to them by name as often as possible will go a long way.
This can be more difficult for larger companies where you have many customers. In these cases, the least you can do is try keeping notes of previous discussions with clients and next time they call, bring up their file so that you have some reference point.
These points are part of the foundation that makes for great customer service, so no matter how small or large your business, they are well worth considering. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of your business, so make every effort to make it work in your favour!