Exceptional customer service is the cornerstone to keeping repeat customers and the way to expand your customer base through word-of-mouth advertising. Therefore, you must have the best possible experiences every time you interact with a customer. This is true whether you work for a brick-and-mortar store or an online-only retailer. Use these five tips to take your customer experience to new heights.
1. First Impressions
The first impression a customer has of your brand is crucial. Sometimes this impression comes from a recommendation. Other times it comes from an Internet search. You want the first time a customer sees your store to be engaging. A website or smartphone app should be easy to use and welcoming. A Contact Us button, FAQ page or a live chat option all represent great ways to provide exceptional customer service from the start.
2. Engaging Feedback
Provide engaging feedback to customers who interact with your customer service portal. This could be through comments on a YouTube video, a social media exchange or an email response. Timely and accurate interactions help create positive feelings toward your company brand. Helpful feedback also keeps repeat customers from going to the competition. Interactions help build a relationship with customers that lasts for years.
Not everything goes well with a product or service, and some customers may be dissatisfied with some aspect of your company. Even if you have an angry customer on hand, remain positive and give possible ways to rectify the situation. Does your customer want a replacement, a repair or a refund? Sometimes the customer just wants to vent without having anything done. A concerned response with the right attitude goes a long way to maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty even after the initial disappointment.
Give your customers a way to follow up and follow through if they have questions. This means providing several avenues of communication. If your business is a startup, you may not be able to afford customer service staff at first, which means you should hire a third party to take care of this aspect of the business. Lines of communication should be prompt and plentiful. Offer telephone, email, social media, live chat and a form on the website as ways to contact customer service.
Evolve with the needs of your customers. Listen to what they have to say, improve your products or services, and make changes that are sensible. This leads to even more customer loyalty and better profits in the future. Without innovation, even with customers, your company falls behind others as you try to gain market share.
Outstanding customer service doesn't happen by accident. Each employee should engage in behaviors that lead to fantastic customer experiences for each person who buys your product or service. This ensures the longevity of your company by having a steady revenue stream thanks to happy customers who keep coming back to your business.
Photo courtesy of John Fischer at Flickr.com