Customer service is important to running a successful business. What differentiates many of the most prestigious businesses in world with other companies in the same industry is frequent attention in improving and maintaining quality customer service. Treating the people who buy from your store, be it physical or virtual, with respect and courtesy will go a long way in ensuring future business transactions. Here are 5 tips for improving customer service.
- Customers like to feel appreciated. In today’s society, the number of competitors in any industry is increasing everyday, so it is not enough to simply offer a niche item. Therefore, customers like to know they are recognized and appreciated for giving their business to you when it could have been given to any one of your competitors. This can be achieved with a simple, “thank you.” Inquiring if the customer needs help is another way to provide quality service. In the virtual world, use a FAQ section or help link with a way to contact the company for assistance via email or telephone.
- However, it is important to keep in mind that you should beware of becoming a nuisance. There is a local massage parlor I frequently visit in order to relieve stress. However, the company persisted in calling me after every visit until I had to actually ask them to please stop. This was not that big of a deal, but demonstrates how you should tailor customer service as to not be too intrusive. Overstepping boundaries can be worse than no customer service at all and it is important to realize when your company would benefit from pulling back a little bit.
- Do not fain your interest in the customer. Here, it is especially important to remember that the customer is the reason the business makes money in the first place. Be honest and sincere. Do not fake your interest because this will be perceived as both rude and inconsiderate. Making a customer angry can have very dire consequences. With the Internet, people will not hesitate to give negative and condemning feedback under the protection of anonymity.
- Do not take offense if the customer criticizes particular actions or comments on ways to improve your business. Instead, use this as a way to learn from your mistakes. Honest feedback is critical to enhancing quality customer service. Be quick to offer ways to rectify the situation with a possible refund or a discount on the next purchase.
This is particularly important. By offering a solution quickly to a problem, this will be seen as turning an otherwise negative view into a positive perspective; a complete 180 in terms of customer service. Some of the companies I enjoy shopping with the most are the ones I have previously had problems with that were quickly resolved. The reason is because I know that in the future, if I have a problem with any aspect of the transaction, the company will not hesitate to quickly rectify the problem.
- By resolving issues quickly, customers will gain trust in your company. It is this trust that keeps customers coming back again and again. A good business rule of thumb is that, “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.” This means that repeat customers provide a very substantial amount of profit to businesses. In order to get these repeat customers, you first need their trust.
A loyal customer that frequently purchases from your store is one of the best indications that your business will be successful. Word of mouth is an extremely powerful tool, and the frequent repeat customer will likely recommend you to their friends and colleagues for their needs as well. It is important to note that gaining these loyal and frequent buyers is virtually impossible without adequate customer service.
Remember to thank your customers for their business, but do not be too intrusive in seeking feedback. Critique and criticism will occur naturally as inevitable problems will arise. However, take this opportunity to learn from your mistakes and quickly remedy the situation. A quick resolution will install trust in the customer who will then be more likely to purchase from your store in the future and account for a large percentage of sales.
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