In a world where one day you’re in and the next day you’re out, you would expect companies to be doing everything they can to attract new customers and retain those who are loyal. But a 2018 study by sales-and-service-solutions company NewVoiceMedia found that businesses were losing 75 billion dollars a year because their customer service wasn’t good enough, up from $62 billion in losses the year before. So why is this happening? Why are businesses not more focused on customer service?
Let’s think about customer service in the most basic form: an outstanding customer-service experience is one where your customers walk away or hang up believing that you genuinely care about them. They understand that you value their relationship with your company. The same NewVoiceMedia study confirms that 86% of people are more likely to stay a customer if they feel a positive emotional connection with you.
Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to customer service that determines whether or not you’ll ever be able to sell that person anything else. The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship that the individual customer feels that he would like to pursue.
Poor customer service is just the opposite. When customers believe that you don’t care, that you’re uninterested or they’re just another number to you, they will ultimately say they had a bad experience. The negative impact can be detrimental to your business. According to a 2018 study by Microsoft, 61% of consumers stop doing business with a company after a poor customer experience.
If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently implements the following rules:
Answer Your Phone
The first rule of good customer service is that your phone needs to be answered. Customers don’t want to leave a message or be placed on hold for an eternity waiting to speak to a live person. We live in an age of “now” and customers want answers now. And when the phone is answered they want to be embraced by a welcoming and understanding person, so courteous phone skills are a must. Which leads to the next rule…
Train Your Staff
Train your employees to always be helpful, polite, and knowledgeable. Talk to your staff about good customer service and what you should/shouldn’t do. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, “I don’t know, but so-and-so will be back at…”
Listen to Your Customers
What’s more frustrating than explaining your problem to someone only to be transferred and have to go through it again? Listen to what you customers say, write down their issue in detail, and then try to solve the problem. If you can’t help them, find someone who can. But don’t make them explain it over and over. This will only lead to a frustrated customer who will more than likely have a negative experience.
Deal With Complaints
No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. While this is true, it’s important to give the complaint your attention, so you can please this one person this one time – and reap the benefits of good customer service. Let complaints become opportunities, where you can discover issues and correct them. Market research has found that customers who have complained about a product or service and had that complaint successfully dealt with are 70% likely to order from the vendor again. That’s staggering!
Be Helpful by Taking the Extra Step
If someone walks into your store and asks you where to find something, don’t just say, “It’s in Aisle 3”. Why don’t you say, “Let me show you” and lead the customer to the item. Even better, wait and see if they have questions about it, or further needs. Always be thinking about the extra step if you want to provide good customer service. While it may seem unnoticed, customers will remember your effort and tell other people, leading to more referrals.
Throw In Something Extra
Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a bonus for a referral, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And the gesture doesn’t have to be large to be effective. Think about your product or service and find something extra that you can offer to customers.
Reward Customers for Staying Loyal
By increasing your customer retention rate by just 5%, you can improve your profits by 25-95%. Use email lists or apps to provide discounts or exclusive deals to loyal customers. For example, Disney offers individual character meet-and-greet sessions only to their Visa cardholders. Macy’s progressively gives greater discounts based on the total money spent over time. Geisinger Health System offers a refund for customers not happy with their care. Give customers a reason to stay loyal. The longer they stay, the more likely they will be to give good reviews and referrals. These tips will lead to excellent service, greater loyalty, and higher profits.