The key to gaining a competitive edge in any industry is to treat your customers well. It's no secret that the retention rate of your client base depends heavily on your customer service strategies and staff. Develop and implement winning strategies to gain loyalty with your existing clients and to attract new business.
1. Develop Your Staff
Your customer service representatives serve as the face of your business. Provide them with the knowledge and resources they need to represent the company's products and services. Offer training seminars and workshops that focus on features of products, new service launches and explanations of the core values of the business. Arm your staff with accurate information that helps them serve your customers, troubleshoot problems and guide clients through the process of utilizing business services and products. Employees who are given ample training and information are typically more confident in their own skills to assist customers.
2. Focus on Empathy Training
Customer service strategies should focus highly on how to communicate and empathize with potential and existing clients. Each interaction with a customer varies. Your employees need to know how to calm down a frustrated client, offer solutions and show that they are truly listening to the needs and wants of customers. Reduce the tension of your own employees and frustrated client by teaching staff phrases to say, words to repeat back to customers that identify their genuine understanding of the problem and procedures for resolving problems right away. Encourage your employees to put themselves in the shoes of the customer to better understand what they need.
3. Make a Personal Connection
Customers do not do business with a company; instead, they do business with representatives of the company, explains Shep Hyken, a certified customer service expert and author. Train employees to find a common ground with each and every client. Discuss how to engage the client in conversation and provide prompts to identify preferences of the clients so the representative can guide them to a fitting product or service. Customer service representatives should take the time to make personal connections that create a sense of loyalty, and ultimately, returning customers.
Get to know your customers, too, so you can tailor customer service strategies to the targeted demographic. Provide options for customers to detail information about their buying habits, preferred products, age and gender so you can better serve them.
4. Guarantee Products and Services
In order for your employees to genuinely and passionately help customers, they must have faith in the products and services of your company. Offer a guarantee that shows your company truly believes in the success of its products. This guarantee not only helps relieve any apprehension from the buying customer, but it also fuels customer service representatives to back up their claims about the company's goals and mission. A customer service strategy is only successful if the products and services speak for themselves in terms of quality.
5. Enhance the Infrastructure
As a customer yourself, you know that it is extremely frustrating when you are on hold for lengthy periods of time or when agents are unable to answer your questions. Develop an infrastructure for your customer service department that minimizes inconveniences for both customers and employees. Offer self-help options online where customers can find answers to their probing questions right away. Implement a ticket tracking system that prompts the sales or support staff to call customers back instead of placing them on hold. Eliminate long hold times by offering messaging or chat systems on your website to assist customers right away instead of forcing them to call a customer care center.
6. Solicit Customer Feedback
A winning customer service strategy relies heavily on feedback from your customers. Develop feedback options to evaluate each and every interaction. For example, provide customers who call for assistance with a brief survey to assess their experience with your company's service and product line. Interact with clients on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to gauge their interest in new products and processes. Listen to what your target demographic wants and needs to improve your customer service strategies.
7. Be Transparent
Gain a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry by being transparent. If your product fails or a service experience is less than stellar, admit wrongdoing, apologize and show that you are working to resolve the problem. Avoid misleading claims about your product line, and explain how you are changing or improving customer service strategies and client options. The more a company is open and honest, the more the public begins to respect its transparency.
Customer service strategies are always evolving and changing. Businesses must be open to changing their operations, processes and product lines to better serve their clients. Be open to constructive criticism when evaluating what your customers want and need to develop winning strategies that ultimately put you one step ahead of the competition.
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