A marketing plan and attracting potential customers is time-consuming and costly for companies. However, there is one strategy that can work and is well proven: customer service. Treating customers better than your competitors is an effective way to sell to them and build customer loyalty.
It is not necessary to take extraordinary measures to provide effective customer service, it is enough to consistently exceed expectations. And for that to happen, you need a superstar team. Adding people to your business who offer exceptional customer service is complex, because you can’t just look at their portfolio or see their work. Yes, previous experience is important, but it comes down to a certain personality type that is difficult to summarize.
Have a customer service team?
If you think creatively, there are many tactics to keep costs down while still providing excellent service. Outsourcing fantastic staff is a good place to start, but not the only one.
We can all agree that customer service is stressful: 99% of the time customers get in touch to vent, complain, express confusion; there’s rarely a sense of respite. It can seem endless, like a never-ending tide of negativity. However, customer service agents (hopefully) love what they do and enjoy solving problems. It’s what they’re good at, the area they thrive in, that’s why they get hired and are there to help.
That’s why trying to enforce a strict follow-up process or being behind them is guaranteed to decrease performance. We need to, for lack of a better phrase, let them get on with it, trust them to do their job and encourage total autonomy because customer service is much more nuanced than following a call script or company protocol allows. Yes, a little automation can be helpful, but, at the end of the day, successful interactions depend on intuition, empathy and the right words spoken at the right time, elements that only an unscripted human being can provide.
For example, in convenience stores it is common to find a wide variety of everyday items and other slightly more specialized items such as prepaid cards, phone refills, electronic items and even over-the-counter medications, so it is common for the clerk to hear requests that are a bit out of the ordinary. In this example, it’s not at all viable to have a script, because when faced with an out-of-the-ordinary question, it’s best to let people be authentic so they can answer something like, “We don’t offer this service here (we don’t have this product), but two locations down the road can help you.”
This human input is what customers crave in a field that lacks it. The more trust we invest, the more independence we allow, the more mutual respect will flourish.
How to improve customer service in your business?
Here are some ideas to improve your customer service and not just depend on one specific area:
Be empathetic. If someone in your team is there to solve a problem, don’t force them to ask for your permission, the best thing to do is to give them total freedom on what they can do. A good idea is to empower your employees to use their own initiative to delight and surprise customers, whether there’s a problem or not. They probably have amazing ideas that have never crossed your mind.
Develop. A good idea, if you have a website, is to create a space where your customers can find the answers themselves and reduce the stress on your staff. Also, create spaces for customers to share their opinions and comments about the service they received. This type of feedback is of great value to your business.
Review. Adjust customer service processes whenever necessary, especially in times of growth. Different team sizes require different approaches.
Organize. Set up daily or weekly meetings to catch up, discuss problems, read positive feedback and generally share the love. When staff feel empowered, they will respond by making sure their performance exceeds expectations.
If you tap into people’s passion and talent, lose the script and allow them to think creatively, you unleash the potential for the most extraordinary kind of customer service possible.