How to perfect customer service

sins of customer service

Whether you have one employee or 30, great customer service is something that should be a part of your company’s DNA from the get-go.

From generating sales to retaining customers, having a solid customer service strategy benefits both parties on either side of the transaction. Plus, research has shown that 96 per cent of consumers say a good customer service experience will determine their choice of, or loyalty to, a brand.

Retaining customers is a lot easier (and cheaper) than searching for new ones, so taking the time to design an online customer service strategy that works well will enable you to harness relationships that ensure customers come back for more.

Select your channels, and make sure to offer self-service

Determining the right type of channels for your business is the first step to implementing a customer service strategy. These days, a company’s channels of communication are expected to span across email, phone, social media and a self-service function on your website.

Research commissioned by Microsoft showed that 90 per cent of customers expect brands and organisations to offer self-service. Why wouldn’t they? Customers choose to use self-check outs at supermarkets and order on touchscreens at fast food restaurants. By enabling customers to receive service on their own terms, you’re improving the experience they have with your brand.

As a bare minimum, a business should be easily contactable via email, offer a phone number and utilise social media to answer customer questions and concerns.

Customer service response times can affect profit

When it comes to responding to customer queries, you want to be speedy. Answering customers quickly, whether it’s to let them know you’ve received their message or to provide an answer immediately, shows the customer they’re important and you value their business.

However, it’s equally important to retain the quality of your message and make sure you’re providing answers that are succinct and helpful. It’s a fine line to toe, but worth remembering.

A study of more than 600,000 interactions found that customers are willing to spend their hard-earned cash with a business that responds quickly to their enquiry. Essentially, a fast response can generate higher revenue.

Across the board, you should aim to get back to customers within two hours, where possible.

A human touch

While there’s a growing number of consumers relying on self-service, it’s still important to provide an opportunity for support from real people when a customer has encountered a problem that’s too complex to solve on their own.

Being able to deliver great customer service with seamless transitions between self-service and human assistance will lead to more impactful customer engagement and long-term customer loyalty.

You need feedback to grow

By asking your customers to provide feedback, you’re communicating that you value their opinion and you care about what they have to say. Your customers will not only feel important, but they’ll also feel involved in shaping your product or service.

Customer feedback is often free, so capitalising on the opportunity to hear from people that engage with your brand, without having to open your wallet, is a great opportunity for your business.

You can also encourage customers to provide more detailed feedback or reviews by offering incentives, like a discount code or free shipping on their next purchase.