5 Ways To Improve Your Customer Service
Customer service is an essential part of the customer experience and it’s becoming a big deciding factor for consumers when choosing who they do their business with. It’s predicted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator in sales. There’s also a substantial link between customer loyalty and great customer service. We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to increase the level of quality in your customer service.
As your staff are at the forefront of the customer-facing side of your business, they must possess the right skills. Investing in quality training is highly important, we believe the most important skills for your employees to have are:
- Communication – your customers expect a straightforward service without any hiccups. This can only happen if your staff are equipped with the best communication skills. The best employee will already possess strong communication skills but these can always be developed and improved with training.
- Empathy – empathy is needed in the workplace to allow the customer to feel that they have been acknowledged and listened to. When something goes wrong for the customer you can’t go back in time to prevent it but you can show empathy. It shows you’ve heard the customer, validated their feelings and understood their frustrations, even if you can’t fix them. Empathy can help back up an apology and show the customer that you care enough to try and resolve the issue, it could be the difference between a customer staying loyal or moving to a competitor.
- Adaptability – employees who can adapt to any change are the most versatile and valuable staff to have. Increasing numbers of employers see adaptability as an essential work skill. According to research by Barclays LifeSkills, 60% report that adaptability has become more important during the previous decade; 20%, meanwhile, say that adaptability is lacking among new employees, and only 8% provide specific training for this.
- Resilience – staff with thick skin are so important in the workplace. Occasionally, customers can take their frustrations out on the front of house staff and therefore these employees must have the capabilities to not let it affect their morale or performance.
Appreciate your team
Recognise when your staff provide great customer service and reward them for it! Don’t underestimate how important a thank you can be to an employee. It can mean the difference between an employee giving good vs exceptional customer service because they will feel valued and an asset to the company. Incentives are proven to increase the quality of customer service, they can also provoke a bit of healthy competition between employees which will keep them motivated to do well. We recommend monitoring this competition closely to make sure it doesn’t turn sour.
Ask for feedback
Provide the means for customer feedback, this will help create a connection with your customers where they feel listened to and important. Ask your customers to leave reviews on social media or email them a survey and even consider offering a discount off their next purchase to encourage them. These customers are more likely to stay loyal to the company too as they feel valued and listened to. This feedback should then be analysed and any relevant changes invoked such as changes in staff training and processes. Positive feedback can motivate employees as they feel their hard work pays off in addition to fine-tuning how procedures should be carried out. It’ll also point out any flaws in your products or services that you may not have been aware of. Errors and complaints aren’t anything to be afraid of, they’re actually a fantastic learning curve and should be used to improve training and procedures.
Keep up with your competitors
Monitoring your competitors is a great way to improve customer service, mystery shop them to see what they do differently from you and how your weaknesses can benefit from learning from them. Ask yourself, why are potential customers choosing them over you? On the other hand, consider why your customers choose you over your competition? Make a note of your strengths and ensure you check up on these to keep yourself and your team held accountable. It can also help you identify possible niche areas that aren’t occupied by your competitors which gives you an advantage to potentially move your business into these areas. Customers are intensely picky and if they can receive better service for the same product, they will move their loyalty elsewhere, often regardless of price.
Getting your customer service to an exceptional level is an evolving process; it takes time, patience and practice. These 5 steps are a guide to follow to get you thinking about what ideas you can bring into your workplace. Got any more ideas? How do you improve your customer service? Get in touch with us on Twitter!