There’s no two ways about it. All customers want an unbelievably good customer experience. Without a robust customer-centric culture, where timely resolutions of issues are the norm, a business leaves itself vulnerable to the wrath of angry customers.
But how can businesses ensure that?
Check out these 25 hot customer service tips to give you an idea:
A smiling face is sure to make your customers feel welcomed.
It sets the tone of conversation, makes you more approachable. A practical example of this is the Walmart 10 Feet Rule. Sales executives approach any customers within a 10 feet radius, smiling and offering assistance. It’s a tactic that has won them industry accolades.
2. Use technology
Good customer support comes from mixing technology with the human touch. Several tools and software programs are available to enhance the customer experience.
Live Chat can create a neutral ground where the support team and the customer can enter into in-depth interaction.
Acquire, for example, provides features such as co-browsing, screen sharing, instant messaging, video conferencing and facilities calling, among others.
These features enhance interactivity, accelerating problem-solving. With the right tools, you can keep your customers happy!
A) Add Live Chat
The days of sitting around twiddling your thumbs and hoping to hear back from an email have gone. A Forrester Research study showed:“44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”
Consider the benefits of the following features:
Screen sharing: Easily talk a confused customer through site navigation with screen sharing. Temporary screen access allows an agent to control it on their behalf.
How good is than that!
Co-browsing: Co-browsing allows agents to interact with customers by using their web browser. Trouble placing an order? No worries, the agent can show them how to order in the browser. Small features can make a big impression.
Instant messaging, video Conferencing, calling facilities, all these make life easier for customer and agent alike. Acquire (along with a few other live chat plugins) can implement all of the above even on a WordPress site.
B) Add a help desk tool
Helpdesk & Ticketing tools, capture, convert, and resolve customer queries from one unified, centralized platform.
Keep track of past customer conversations so you can pick up from where you left off. Convert these conversations into an actionable ticket, assigning them to the right department, defining SLAs, and setting levels of priority. You can even include other team members for collaboration. And all of this in a matter of seconds!
C) Use a CRM tool
When using CRM tools well, make use of the data available to deliver a tailored experience. You can wish a customer happy birthday. Take the chance to bring a smile to their face.
CRM tools speed up response time. Everyone can be happy about that.
CRMs which are integrated with a unified communications platform which gathers all the messages from emails, chats, SMS, voice calls in one spot do an even better job at improving internal and external communications.
D) Keep company website updated
This is essential. How else can you ensure the latest information is available? Remember a website is the online face of your company, don’t compromise on quality.
3. Maintain a positive attitude
There’s no substitute for a positive attitude. Enshrining this within company practice helps avoid conflict. Take Apple for example. A very specific set of employee guidelines detail a firm belief that a positive attitude is integral to good customer service.
4. A great last impression
“According to an old saying, “If you don’t take care of your customers, then someone else will”.
The customer experience runs right through to the last impression. Never get complacent!
Remember to leave the customer with a smile on their face. A simple ‘have a good day’ may seem obvious, but it can leave a strong lasting impression.
5. Offer a timely response
A nonchalant approach is not an option.
Rivals are waiting to pounce and steal away any unhappy customers. Keeping a smile on their face is vital, and dealing with complaints and queries efficiently does just that. To give you an idea of what that means, most customers think companies should respond to an e-mail within an hour.
6. Correct customers the right way
The customer is not always right! They’re human. Maybe they have the wrong information. But when it comes to correcting them, the right approach is vital. Be understanding. Say you are happy to help. Remember you are educating them not arguing with them.
Sir, I would be more than happy to help you in this regard; however, I am very sorry to inform you that you have the wrong information. Leave the customer open to accepting the correct information. Most importantly, keep the sale alive.
7. Apologize for any inconvenience
Straight out the Customer Support Rule Book. Whatever the issue, whatever role your company played, apologize customer, credit card didn’t work, say you’re sorry for their inconvenience.Product doesn’t work, First stop, apologize. 3rd party delaying a shipment, Apologize!
When a customer is upset, you must always apologize. American Express know the value of a sincere apology
8. Listen to your customers
Success comes from listening to your customer: Richard Branson
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From the very start, listen. Customers reach out to be heard, to hear them out. Don’t interrupt.
Listening is a great way to learn. Keep your ears open, and you never know what vital information you may glean. Maybe it will prove the difference between solving, or not solving the problem. If you don’t listen, you’ll never get to the bottom of things
9. Provide incentives and rewards
Loads of businesses provide loyalty cards and memberships to their regulars. These rewards and incentives profoundly impact a customer’s view of your business.
If you want happy customers, reward them. Make them feel wanted with incentives and bonuses recognizing their loyalty. Amazon’s Prime Membership is a good example.
Customers feel valued by feeling heard. Highlight them or their views on the website. They will feel proud to be doing business with you
10. Don’t waste time
“Wasting Customer’s Time Gets Them Angry”: Fola Daniel Adelesi, Author, a Management Consultant, and Public Speaker
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When customers call you, they have a real problem to address, and they expect it to be addressed quickly. A sloppy, slow workflow will put customers off. Without a timely solution, there’s a danger they will look elsewhere.
11. There’s no place for “no”
Customer service agents speak on behalf of the business. When an agent says no, the business is saying no. No is never a legitimate final answer. Situations could start with a “no” or we “don’t know”, but as they unfold, the final answer should always be a positive.
Instead provide alternatives. If something is not available, find another viable option.
“Sorry sir, we don’t over your area. Would you like me to transfer your call to a restaurant that does?”
Customer issues should always be resolved one way or another.
12. Acting ASAP
We’ve talked about wasting a customer’s time, but what about wasting your own?
A timely resolution means
- More time to concentrate on other things.
- Freeing up resources to tackle next issue.
- Not wasting money and resources.
- Not wasting the consumer’s time.
An efficient team stops the queries building up. Take a look at Verizon’s 24×7 and 365 Days Premium Support.
Don’t forget that live chat is a big step towards solving problems quickly.
13. Solve problems without redirecting users
Only 20% of businesses are able to solve an issue at the first opportunity. That means that 80% of businesses need at least 2 attempts!
This is simply not on. Customers expect a problem to be resolved in one interaction. Redirecting calls through better IVR options, connecting with the right people, and training your team makes this possible. Don’t condemn customers to be bounced around forever.
14. Train staff to understand and believe in your products
“Train people so well that they want to leave, treat them well enough that they’d want to stay”: Richard Branson
Clueless support agents are a customer’s worst nightmare.
Avoiding this, means properly training your employees. Give them the confidence and tools to resolve any problem.Training and development programs must cover how to deal with issues, talk to customers, and resolve problems. Before they can be expected to deal effectively with customers, an in depth understanding of the product is needed.
15. Show empathy
Empathy is what will make your customer support team stand out. This understanding forms a strong basis for resolutions all parties are happy with. In a real-time environment, demonstrating empathy needs to be the default approach.
A certain phrase here and there can make a customer feel more at ease:
“I know how important the product is to you.”
“We understand your position and know how confusing it can be.”
“We know how upsetting this must be.”
Building rapport becomes much easier when showing empathy.
16. Keep customers up-to-date
People love staying in the loop. Keep customers updated with progress, especially if there is a prolonged delay. Always manage their expectations.
If there is a change of plans, explain the reasons. Business growth relies on providing constant updates for your buyers.
17. Use their first name
“Your Customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”: Damon Richards
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Only 21% of support staff ask for a customer’s name, according to research conducted by Contact Point Client. A big opportunity is being missed here. Customers like being called by their first name. It creates a connection and sense of familiarity.
However,if you are a cold-caller doing random marketing, avoid using first names!
18. Say thank you
As Mahatma Gandhi said— “…A customer is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to serve”.
Thank you. So simple, but so powerful. It goes beyond simple courtesy. A thank you at the right time helps build trust.
It starts small.Thank customers for providing their information. Thank them when they are being transferred or put on hold. When signing off, a thank you for calling goes down a treat too!
19. Reward loyal customers
“Loyal Customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.”: Chip Bell
It’s estimated that on average, an American household holds membership to 14 schemes in any given year, but trade with only 7 of them regularly.
Customers like to be recognized for their loyalty. Rewarding loyal customers should always be at the forefront of your mind. A robust loyalty program is needed to do this.
Take the successful Virgin Atlantic loyalty program as an example.
20. Don’t forget new customers
After all, new customers will become your next generation of loyal customers if you play your cards right. Offer a small gift on joining. Give them a discount. Send them an email thanking them for joining. You can even send cards and messages from some platforms, How about a gift pack? Something small yet significant to remember you by.
Of course, there is no better way to get new customers than by having a great product in the first place!
21. Using social media to solve problems
Social Media Will Transform Customer Service: Lisa Wirthman, Journalist
Social media is a must when it comes to fielding customer complaints and queries. Even the multinationals do it. Check out Whole Foods Market.
Some companies resolve issues almost entirely on their Facebook,Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. They are all legitimate vehicles for troubleshooting.
According to a survey by Nielson, nearly 50% of customers use social media to raise concerns.They expect a quick resolution. You must take social media seriously. It’s too big and too powerful to ignore.
How you can use social media?
A) To Increase brand awareness
Half of your customers will demand a presence on social media. Can you afford to miss out on that?
Social media reduces the gap between company and customer. Tweeting about the product or service, or engaging through other routes provides a richer experience for the customer.
B) To engage with customers
Reply individually to comments, tweets and the like. Make them feel special, part of a community. It’s a sure-fire way to get customers holding your company close to their heart.
C) To share content faster and more easily
Announce and promote new offers. Sharing information with customers is just a click away with social media.
22. Go the extra mile—do something unexpected
‘’Always give people more than what they expect to get’’: Nelson Boswell, Prominent Author.
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This is one of the most important customer service tips: successful businesses always do something extra to keep their customers happy. Sometimes you just have to go the extra mile. How about throwing in a discount coupon just to apologize for an inconvenience?
Samsung scored some epic points with their response to a dragon-related request for a free Samsung Galaxy S3 phone.
Stories like these show how a brand can put out a personality, allowing them to connect with the public.
See another great example of walking the extra mile from the stables of the Ritz-Carlton.
23. A consistent approach
Day 1: Your team exhibits enthusiasm and courtesy.
The team offer discount coupons.
Your team has a negative attitude throwing out absurd charges to customers.
No no no. Consistency is key when delivering the best support. Make sure a positive attitude is an ever-present.
That said, there is always room for improvement.If you need to change, then do. Just make sure it is for the good
24. Support should be cross-departmental
‘’Customer service should not be a department; customer service is everyone’s job:’’ Ken Blanchard
With a holistic approach to customer service, collaboration leads to efficiency, improving turnaround times.
A cross-departmental support structure means:
- Participation and assistance from everyone.
- Everyone receives training and experience.
- Everyone knows about the product/service.
25. Creating the bond and the trust
“Get closer than ever to your customer. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves”: Steve Jobs
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Creating an emotional bond with customers is tough. Gaining trust means understanding a few things:
- People like doing business with people, rather than with businesses.
- Reaching out is important.
- You have to interact with your customers.
- You have to listen, solve their problems and answer their queries.
- You have to advise them on matters that they do n’ot understand.
- You have to be honest at all times.
- You have to look out for them.
- You must live up to the customer’s expectations.
With all these in place you stand a much better chance of forming meaningful bonds and increasing loyalty.
Follow these 25 customer service tips to ensure your customer team provides an efficient service. Treat customers well, show empathy and keep smiling. Before you know it, you will have not only happy customers but a happy business.