When was the last time you received outstanding customer service that persuaded you to use a business again?
In 2018, Microsoft surveyed 5000 individuals across various countries to get insights on customer experiences. Their report revealed that 95% of respondents consider customer service to be a vital factor in determining their brand loyalty, while 61% were ready to sever ties with a brand owing to a poor customer service experience.
Customer service plays a crucial role in almost every business' success, and it's fair to give all the credit it deserves. Today, it takes more than a great product, competitive pricing, and effective marketing for a brand to gain a loyal client base. Good customer service can often be what makes the difference. Not only does it help build genuine relationships, but it also helps you to gain strong advocates for your business.
If you’re looking for strategies to enhance your customer service, you've landed in the right place. In this article, we'll go over some handy customer service do's and don'ts to help you provide a better experience for your customers.
In customer service, empathising is the best way to let your customers know that their concerns matter. It's important to remember that customers are fellow human beings and more than just a source of revenue. Rather than a mere voice on the other end, they require you to place yourself in their shoes and relate to their problems. While it’s not always possible to give them a satisfactory solution, the least you can do is be compassionate. Simple phrases like, "I'm sorry you had to go through this" or "I'd feel upset if this happened to me" are often all you need to reinforce that they are being valued.
Practice clear communication
Good communication is necessary for customer service. This also implies that you must be a good listener. Listen to your customers' concerns without interrupting and pay close attention to the details they convey. Always use clear and simple language and never terminate a conversation without verifying if they understood precisely what you meant. The last thing you want to do is intimidate your customer by using jargon or technical terminology that they are unfamiliar with.
Always follow up
Regularly following up with customers builds trust and helps you reassure that everything is working well between you. This also gives them an impression that they weren’t just another transaction for your business. Staying in touch with them can be as simple as writing a personalised thank you note for hitting a one-year milestone or sending birthday greetings. These are few ways to show a customer that you appreciate them being a part of your journey. However, a follow-up call must never be used as an opportunity to make an extra sale—instead, only use it to check in and ensure customer happiness. Your customer's time is valuable, and it's crucial not to go overboard by contacting them too often.
Be quick to respond
Customers hate late responses—especially when they have a pressing issue to be resolved. Timeliness in answering a client's concern is important for good customer service. Although dealing with a large number of client complaints can cause unpredicted delays, sending an acknowledgement that you received their request can help pacify them. In a digital era where customer expectations are high, you must put in extra effort to keep the ball rolling.
While the above points can serve as a good foundation to form an effective customer service strategy, it’s equally important to be mindful of everything you must avoid doing.
Lose your cool
Customers can be of all types. While some may be patient enough for you to resolve their queries, others may not. At times, you may come across customers who are even abusive and make personal remarks. However, no matter how heated things get, maintain a polite and professional demeanour during any exchange. The key is never to lose your temper, regardless of how unpleasant a customer may be to deal with.
Mistakes happen and it's important to own them. You can be assured that you're providing good customer service when you're willing to admit your mistakes and ready to take responsibility for a customer's distress, even if you aren't directly involved. Customers value honesty. When they see that your business is genuinely apologetic and eager to make things right, they may be willing to do business with you instead of leaving a bad review or approaching your competitors.
Make promises you can't keep
It's always better to tell customers the unpleasant reality than to promise them something that may or may not be fulfilled. While it can be tempting to tell the customer what they'd like to hear, it's necessary to inform them when things may not turn out the way they want. For example, let's say a customer requests an early delivery of a product. In this case, the best you can do is ask the third-party logistics vendor to prioritise their order and hope the customer's expectations are met. Rather than telling the customer that you've made all the arrangements for them to receive their product sooner, inform them that the logistics team has been made aware of their request, and you'll do your best to meet their expectations. This ties back to communicating transparently while also emphasising your dedication to meet your customer's needs.
Treat customers differently
Customers must be treated fairly, whether they've been loyal to you for years or made a one-time purchase. While it's fine for businesses to give special privileges to long-term customers, it should never be used as an excuse to belittle or disregard others' queries. The goal of customer service is to make every customer feel valued. Therefore, it’s important that you care about providing a solution for everyone, regardless of how profitable they are for your business.
Transforming your customer service from poor to excellent won’t happen overnight. It requires a serious commitment from your staff, good help desk software, and all the right tools to give your customers the finest experience. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a difference. It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in, enhancing your customer service is crucial to attain success.
Are there any other do's and don'ts in customer service that you want to add? Feel free to drop them in the comments below.