The most obvious examples of customer service involve front line employees in shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues such as theaters. Good customer service makes the purchasing process as easy as possible for the consumer. Many people can’t quite put their finger on what good customer service actually is, but almost everyone can recognize bad customer service from the moment they encounter it.
Effective customer service is more than simply a smile and a pleasant, polite tone of voice — it involves doing everything within reason to ensure the customer has a smooth and positive experience, even if they don’t make a purchase or a commitment to do business at the time.
Effective customer service starts at the top
One of the most common complaints among frontline employees is that management would never allow them to treat customers the way they get treated by management — and this is an extremely valid point. Those who are wondering how to improve customer service in the workplace should first look at their top tier employees and how they connect and engage with employees who are below them, particularly those in positions involving high levels of customer service. There is often a direct correlation between how these employees are treated by a higher-up in the company and how they relate to customers.
What is a customer service strategy?
The most effective solutions to improve customer service are comprised of customized combinations of approaches. How to improve customer service in supermarkets, for instance, will be different from strategies designed to increase sales through customer service in a business-to-business enterprise. Following are several ideas to provide you with inspiration.
Customer feedback is one of the most valuable customer service campaign ideas available. The best thing about them is that they work for virtually any business — simply provide a venue for customers to leave anonymous feedback and take it from there. For best results, look for common denominators and work on creating customer connection ideas based on the results.
Personalize customer experience
One of the most effective customer service strategy examples is to provide customers with interaction that speaks to them as individuals. Using their name is the most obvious of the most common customer service tactics, but it’s equally important to remember specifics about their individual needs and preferences. For instance, customer service strategies in retail generally involve being aware of the specific tastes of repeat customers.
Be responsive on social media
Effective use of social media may just be the best customer service marketing strategy of today’s modern business landscape. Being responsive provides an excellent way to keep new, existing, and prospective customers interested and engaged. Enabling comments and otherwise providing an interactive social media experience is recommended as a way to keep customers actively involved in your company and its products and services.
Provide appropriate training to frontline staff
Frontline staff can’t give good customer service if they’re not equipped with the right training and tools. New hires should definitely participate in an onboarding training orientation that provides them with your company’s customer service strategy pdf, but don’t forget the power of ongoing training, especially those involving customer service ownership strategies.
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s essential to research the competition — especially when you’re wondering how to improve customer service standards. After all, they may have hit upon ideas and have found names for customer service programs that your team hasn’t thought of or found yet.
Hire the right people
Keep in mind that resources such as the latest excellent customer service pdf won’t be nearly as effective as they could be if you don’t have the right people on your team. Be sure to begin the recruitment process with customer service skills foremost among desirable attributes when vetting applicants.
Providing employees with enough autonomy to alleviate customer dissatisfaction is an excellent strategy because it has the power to stop problems before they get much traction. For instance, if you own a hotel, give front desk clerks the ability to offer upgrades to customers as a way to placate those with complaints or problems.
Craft a customer service mission statement
Most modern businesses have some form of an overall mission statement, but smart companies craft a statement specific to their customer service vision. Be sure to place it in a visible location on your website and whatever hard copy promotional material you use.
Go above and beyond for four valued customers
Being prepared to go the extra mile for your customers shows them that they’re valued and appreciated. For instance, you could consider offering a free gift or discount to customers who’ve shown recurring loyalty by placing a certain amount of orders or by staying with your company for a specified period of time.
Share knowledge with your customers
An often overlooked customer service improvement plan example is to provide customers with valuable knowledge related to the goods and services you provide. Customers frequently tune out obvious sales pitches, but actionable knowledge catches their attention and keeps them engaged.
The importance of a great customer service strategy
At its core, good customer service is essential for any business because customers tend to find other sources of services and materials when customer service skills are lacking, making it difficult, if not absolutely impossible, for businesses that don’t practice good customer service to remain in business for very long. Even though more and more companies have entered the global marketplace, word-of-mouth still remains the best kind of marketing any business can have.
Businesses with superior customer service plans simply have a competitive edge over their counterparts. In fact, even though it’s widely believed by some in the business world that price points are the most important variable in customer retention, many customers will pay a higher price if superior customer service is a part of the picture.
Client retention is good business
Although some companies manage to flounder along by constantly working on client acquisition tactics to keep a steady stream of new business coming in, this is a time-intensive strategy that results in higher overall costs. It’s far less expensive to put efforts into retaining existing clients rather than constantly seeking new ones, and even though it isn’t wise for any business to neglect to attract new customers, loyal customers should never be brushed aside or made to feel as if they don’t matter.
Customer service reflects your brand
Cultivating and maintaining a solid brand image is pivotal to success in today’s competitive business marketplace, and developing actionable customer service improvement strategies helps promote your brand in a positive fashion.
Satisfied customers will refer others to your business
Customer referrals are far more valuable than the most intensive advertising campaigns. Customers who feel connected and valued will very often sing your praises in the presence of others who are seeking the goods or services you provide.
How to improve customer service
Identifying and implementing actionable solutions to devise successful customer service strategies is something each individual business should spend a considerable amount of time and resources.
Developing customer service strategies
The first step in developing an effective customer service strategy is recognizing that no two businesses are exactly alike — and that means that no two customer bases are carbon copies of one another. In order to craft innovative customer service ideas, it’s essential to create customer blueprints to use as a foundation and build from there. For instance, if you own a wine bar, your target customer is going to have different expectations than if you owned a fast-food restaurant.
Customer service policies are fluid
Customer service policies aren’t set in stone — they’re living documents that grow and evolve with customer demographics and preferences. Always keep an open door to new ideas for improving customer service from new and old employees as well as from the customers themselves.
Provide better customer service
If you’d like more information on customer service tactics and strategies, please consider giving Lessonly by Seismic a look. We have the tools designed to maximize your company’s personal customer service plan by identifying applicable customer service priorities and standards and helping you put them into play. The importance of customer service strategy is something that no business, no matter how small, can afford to ignore.
Lessonly by Seismic provides businesses of all sizes with pathways to crafting customer service training solutions that work for them. Contact us and see how we can help you become a customer service superstar. Learn more and get a demo today.