Never underestimate the ability of exceptional Customer Service to make your Business stand out from the pack! By consistently providing the highest level of customer service excellence, you maximize your opportunities to achieve success in all interactions. If growing your business is your goal, then it’s critical that you make the most of every opportunity by ensuring that your business makes customer service excellence a top priority.
One of my many different management roles involved overseeing a Team of top marketing consultants whose objective was to help people grow their small, medium, and large-sized businesses. Over and over I was struck by how some of the businesses we worked with seemed able to capitalize on every sales lead, while others seemed to have no end of excuses regarding why they weren’t meeting their business targets. Strategic analysis revealed that the primary difference was whether the company truly had a commitment to building an environment of customer service excellence. Or whether the company’s priorities were more dedicated to maximizing profits, regardless any negative long-term impact to the customer.
Exceptional Customer Service – What is It?
Know Your Customers
You need to take the time to get to know your customers. Your customers appreciate when you personalize the service experience. The more often you use their name, or when you reference some personal bit of information in the discussion, it makes the customer feel that they are important to your business. You should keep customer profiles and update them regularly as you get more information – remember that when customers believe that they have a more personal relationship with your business, they will be much more likely to demonstrate a high degree of customer loyalty. Getting to know your customers and their service preferences is a very important aspect of providing exceptional customer care.
Respond As Quickly As Possible
Whether you are returning a phone call or an email, customers appreciate it when you respond promptly. In general, customers tend to be an impatient lot; 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest customer service frustration. Make sure you don’t leave customers waiting, because if this because a service habit at your business, you may not have much business to serve! Also, if your business must use voicemail, ensure that it is checked regularly and that messages are returned promptly. Frequently when people are searching for businesses to work with, they will leave multiple voicemails with multiple companies – sometimes it is a simple matter of whichever company returns the message first that will get the business.
Fix Your Mistakes
We all make mistakes, whether it be in our business or personal life. But the most important thing when providing exceptional customer service, is that we are accountable for our mistakes, we take ownership, and we fix those mistakes as professionally and promptly as possible. Customers are willing to accept our mistakes, so long as we remedy the situation quickly. But if a business makes a mistake, and then shirks responsibility, or if the business makes fixing the mistake a far too complex task, then we will most likely lose that customer forever. Sometimes when a mistake is remedied in an extremely efficient and effective manner, a business can handle the transaction so skillfully that the business gains a devoted customer for life.
Never Assume Anything
In business we must never assume anything – it is imperative that we always ensure that we are communicating accurately with our customers. Many costly business errors can occur as a result of simple miscommunications. To ensure clear communication, an excellent technique is to reiterate what the customer is telling us back to the customer – this ensures us that we are hearing our customer correctly. Always take the time to understand now, rather than make errors that will have to be fixed later. Also, customers find it extremely frustrating when they think they haven’t been listened to clearly – customers appreciate it when we ask for clarification because it demonstrates that we are truly interested in what they have to say.
Share Your Knowledge
Share your knowledge with your clients/customers. One of the best ways to garner good faith with your customer is to continue communicating your knowledge about the product or service even after your have completed your sale. By continuing to educate your customer after the sale, you are letting them know that you value them beyond their financial contribution to your business. Also, when you ensure that your customers have the very best information so that they can benefit best from your product or service, you increase the likelihood that you will have a return customer.
Empathize With Your Customers
The mindset of the very best customer service agents is that the agent and the customer are on the same team, working together to solve the same problem. There is no hierarchy in the agent-customer relationship, just a bond to achieve a common goal. When customers feel like they’re being understood and treated as an equal, they’re more likely to be receptive to the experience and whatever product or service the agent is selling. Occasionally you will be dealing with frustrated or even angry customers. When dealing with customers who are not happy, it is very important to show empathy – let the customer know that their feelings are understandable under the circumstances and give them the peace of mind that you will be working to resolve their concern as quickly as possible. When you empathize and identify with your customers, you are able to work together to build a stronger business and personal relationship, regardless the business challenges.
Exceptional Customer Service is one of the aspects of your business over which you have a lot of control. Regardless the service challenges that you encounter in the course of doing business, it is how your business reacts to those challenges that largely determines your success. In the long run, providing exceptional customer service is the most cost-effective means of marketing your business, because happy customers return again and again bringing increased profits and lower cost per sale. Happy customers also provide great word-of-mouth advertising. And today with social media, positive reviews are critical to the success of your business.
Think Long Term – Customers for Life
Repeat business is great for business. When you create a win-win service experience with your customer, you are much more apt to create a customer for life. Once your business grows a large group of customers for life, your business will become self-sustaining, so long as you continue to practice the service fundamentals that attracted the customer in the first place. Businesses invest much time and resources to attract new customers, so it only makes sense that you would want to provide the very best quality of care so that your business builds a base of Customers for Life.