Any established business owner will tell you that an essential part of success lies in customer service. An entrepreneur can have the most useful product or service available but if the support is terrible, the business suffers. Integrating quality customer service into your business plan will keep your customers happy and coming back for more. The following tips will help you optimize your customer service and, ultimately, increase your bottom line.
Smiling is one of the simplest and most effective customer service techniques. Smiling makes customers feel welcome, understood and valued. Anytime you are dealing with customers, make the effort to smile. Customers can hear a smile in your voice, so smile on the phone, too.
Mind your manners
Saying “please” and “thank you” is an important part of making customers feel appreciated. Remember to apologize for any mistakes, regardless of who is at fault.
Keep things personal
Instead of making your customers feel like nothing more than a potential sale, keep it personal. Address your customers by their name, send handwritten thank-you notes occasionally, and avoid canned email responses.
Encourage customer feedback
Customer feedback provides valuable insight into exactly what customers want. Mail out postage-paid feedback cards to customers and add a personal note to each card to encourage customers to return them. Use online survey software for your website to garner feedback. Just remember to keep the cards and surveys quick and easy.
Guarantee customer satisfaction
Offering satisfaction guarantees tells customers that you believe in the product or service you provide. Your confidence will gain their confidence.
Answer the phone
Customers avoid automated answering systems. If you are available, answer the phone. If necessary, hire someone to answer the phone for you. If an automated system is required, make it easy to understand.
Validate customer needs
When your customer is talking to you, repeat what they say back to them. This shows the customer that you listen and understand what they need.
Exceed the expectations
Instead of promising your customers the moon, promise them what you can reasonably deliver in a timely manner. Then, exceed their expectations by delivering early and/or delivering more than they expected.
Teach your employees
Make certain your employees understand the importance of customer service. Teach them everything you know about keeping customers happy. Insist on the highest level of customer service possible.
Be fast, friendly and efficient
Customers do not like to wait any longer than necessary. On the phone, avoid putting customers on hold unless necessary. Then, keep hold time under 30 seconds. In person, wait on each customer immediately. If you are busy with another customer, acknowledge their presence so they know you will assist them soon.
If you provide high-quality customer service, you will increase your number of returning customers. Customers enjoy doing business with places that operate with kindness, respect and professionalism. One of the best forms of advertisement is word-of-mouth. Keep your level of customer service high and watch your customer base grow as your satisfied customers spread the word.