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Customer Service Best Practices

Why being loyal to those who are loyal to you matters

15Aug

What Customers Look for From Customer Service

Good company owners know that customer service truly is one of the most important factors in a business's success. But how often do you really evaluate your customer service from the customer's perspective? To have effective, efficient and the best customer service among your competitors, you have to take into account what customers look for in their interactions when they contact customer service. This guide will go over what customers want and how your customer service department can best deliver.

They Want To Be Helped

This may seem obvious, but it deserves to be stated: when customers contact your customer service, they want to be helped in some way. The issue comes when, for any number of reasons, your customer service doesn't actually end up being that helpful. Your staff should always do whatever they can to authentically be helpful or at least give the impression of being helpful if there's truly nothing you can do to address the customer's problem. Carefully listen to what each customer says and read between the lines to discern what they truly need. Even if you can't say 'yes,' try not to say 'no.' Instead of telling a customer 'no,' tell them what, in fact, you can do for them. This is one of the first customer service best practices to master in running your business.

They Want Their Questions Answered

This also seems to go without saying, but it's a very important aspect of good customer service to consider. Is your staff actually and effectively answering your customers' questions and concerns? For example, one of the worst things you can do is allow your staff to send form letter responses when they don't actually address the customer's concern. This only irritates the customer and tells them your company isn't really listening. If you must send a form letter (if the question is very basic or obvious and truly does not require an in-depth or personalized response), there are some things you can do to spruce it up and make it look more personal, such as including fun greetings, naming the customer by name and generally striking a friendly tone rather than a detached one.

They Don't Want It To Be Time Consuming

If you've ever spent a long time on hold with customer service, you know why this is such a big issue for people. People have places to be and things to do and don't want their interactions to be long and drawn out. Obviously, you can't always help this - sometimes customer service representatives get tied up in a particularly involved case or simply too many people are trying to contact your company at one time. Analyze the workload of your customer service staff and adjust the number of employees appropriately so as many customers as possible get helped in a timely fashion.

They Want Variety

While many, many customers like automated self-service support, many more people prefer to speak to someone over the phone or have a live chat online. Still, others appreciate being able to go to a physical location to have their questions answered and their concerns heard. It's in your company's best interest and among the best practices for customer service to provide a variety of different methods for your customers to contact you so they may do so as they wish.

They Want Interactions To Be Personal

Customers want to feel like they are interacting with a person, and that they and their concerns are important. To deliver the best customer service, this is something your company will need to master. This is easier to accomplish with a smaller company than with a larger company, but do what you can. When interacting with customers online, follow some social media customer service best practices such as responding to comments, replying to messages in a timely manner, engaging in discussion and calling customers by name. Over the phone, engage personally with the caller rather than in a detached, robotic manner.

They Want To Feel Good

This should be your number one goal as you work to provide your best customer service. No matter what is said or what transpires during the conversation, you want your customer to walk away from it feeling good - like their problem has been solved, like they've been treated warmly and personally, and that they have a good impression of your company. Train your staff and drill it into them that this should be the outcome of every customer service exchange possible. Bending the rules a little when needed, especially if you're dealing with a long-time customer, is one of the customer service best practices that will pay off immensely in customer loyalty.

Getting inside the minds of your customers is key to understanding what customers want out of your customer service department and how you can best improve it to meet their needs. Get creative and follow this guide to make better connections with your customers, and you will be rewarded with loyal customers and a growing company.

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