Customer service is something that you need to constantly analyze and enhance if you are to retain your business edge.
With so much competition, customer loyalty and satisfaction are the gold standards that set you apart.
Use those two aspects of customer service as the benchmark against which you measure your customer service success.
To help you reach that lofty goal, we provide you with 25 customer service hacks. Follow these and watch the happiness of your customers go off the radar!
1. Give your customers the same treatment you would expect for yourself
Let's say your customer service stacks up. But how do you know? Have you been on the receiving end of your business's customer support?
It can be easy to see what your competitors are doing wrong, yet it needs to be clearer when it comes to your organization. Take the blinders off and look honestly at the quality of customer service you provide.
Become an undercover boss and pose as a customer. Then you get a real look at whether your customer support is measuring up.
2. Be personable
Imagine being in a conversation with someone with the personality of a wet piece of paper. There is no emotion in their voice, and their face is expressionless. Would you enjoy a social interaction like that?
Your customers wouldn't either. Give them friendly service, like they are talking to their best friend.
A step in that direction builds trust in you.
3. Empathize with the customer
Empathy is something that some naturally have, and others can learn to develop. It enables one to respond with compassion, warmth, and understanding toward another person experiencing an issue.
In customer service, empathy provides your front-line staff with the ability to appreciate how your clients are feeling. Empathy strengthens communication and interpersonal exchanges.
Your customer is content because they interact with someone who "gets them."
4. Personalize customer interaction
How do you feel when someone uses your name? Not a friend, but a shop assistant or customer service representative? It takes the situation to a new level of informality and affinity.
Our names are tied in with our egos. It's our identity, and the situation becomes more personal when someone addresses us by our name. It's as though we have become important, not just another individual amongst countless others.
Does your customer care team take this personal approach when talking with your customers?
5. Be open and honest
Don't make exaggerations about your product or service. Also, if you or your team are ignorant about something a customer asked, say you don't know. That means you will find the answer.
Having an open and honest relationship with your customers builds trust and respect.
6. Continue to care for the customer after the sale
Don't think that customer care ends once they have bought your product or signed up for your service. Post-sale care is equally important.
If you don't offer support after the sale is completed, customers will feel like they have just been used. That will harm the reputation of your business.
7. Provide a timely response
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly instant. The great thing about that is we can communicate much more quickly. Unfortunately, people in a society and culture used to immediate solutions have become more impatient.
The internet allows for prompt solutions and information to be found in microseconds.
When customers have an issue with your product or service, they want a resolution as soon as possible. The quicker, the better.
Set up auto-replies in your email. Provide chatbots powered by AI. These provide instant responses and show the customer that you care and are working on fixing their problem.
8. Admit when you have got it wrong
We all make mistakes. We need to correct things. When that happens, admit that you made a blunder. Covering things up only causes things to worsen, and people will eye your business with suspicion.
Stick your hand up, say you made a mistake, and then move on. Your customers will reward you with their forgiveness and increases loyalty.
9. Ask more suitable questions
You may think you know your customers, but you assume a lot from the data you have gathered.
Ask more probing questions about what customers need from the product. Of course, the type of questions you ask is determined by what it is you're selling.
Find out how your customers are using the product and for whom?
Gather your customer support team together and have a brainstorming session around what you could ask to get more in-depth knowledge from your end users.
10. Your customers know the issues better than you
You offer your product and service to meet a need in the market. You are confident that what you provide is top-notch.
But have you factored in the case that people are individuals? They may have a unique issue that you should have realized.
Don't blame yourself. Chances are that you overlooked an aspect of your product/service. Or it could be a customer who discovered a flaw you didn't realize existed.
When customers have issues, don't offer a blanket solution. They understand the situation better than you.
Here is where empathy and understanding come into the picture again.
11. Listen to the customer
Another aspect of customer support comes under the compassion banner.
Listening is a skill that involves more than hearing words. You need to understand the emotion behind what is being said and what has created that feeling.
Also, be proactive in your listening by anticipating what will be said next. Teach your staff how to listen properly.
Customers that know they are heard are customers that stay with you.
We all love surprises. Good ones, of course!
When we receive something we didn't expect, we feel so good and appreciate the giver.
Use this basic psychological tip to enhance your customer support.
How you over-deliver is up to you.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Have an unexpected free gift inside your product's box. If you provide a service, have an extra add-on (such as a free trial of another service you offer).
- Invite your customer to join an exclusive VIP event for free.
- Tell your customers about a product feature they need to be aware of.
Let your imagination run wild.
13. Care about the customer experience
How good is the customer experience you are delivering? Can it be improved?
Customer experience is always an aspect of your business that needs to be tweaked constantly.
It comes down to listening to your clients and asking them what they love and loathe regarding your customer experience.
14. Make the experience enjoyable and straightforward
Customers seeking help or additional information want to access the relevant data easily.
Hard-to-navigate websites or chatbots that need to provide the correct information lead to frustration. Frustration means customers (potential and current) considering why they bothered with you in the first place.
Customer support staff that sound more like they would rather be at home than answering a customer query isn't something you want.
Make the experience fun and simple. Once more, asking your current clients what they think about the customer experience you deliver will help you.
15. Provide quick solutions
A product that has stopped working or a disrupted service is an inconvenience.
When you get the initial call or message from your customers, work on resolving the issue as fast as possible.
You can fix some problems faster than others.
Keep the affected clients in the loop with the progress of the resolution.
Have a database of issues and solutions that your customer support staff update with any new problems.
16. Be approachable
Have you ever been around someone you need to talk to, but they have an air of arrogance and importance about them? A sense that you can't approach them?
Don't be like that person with your customers! Let them know they can come to you no matter their problem.
That builds loyalty towards you and your business—a lifelong, mutually beneficial relationship.
17. Respect your customers
Without your customers, you can guess what will happen. Refrain from thinking of your customers as nameless cash cows. They are people and are the lifeblood of your business.
Show them respect. That means appreciating their time communicating with you from the first point of the sales funnel and post-sales contact.
Treat them as an individual who has unique need. Sure, your support staff may have dealt with the same issue several times throughout the day, but for the customer on the phone, it's the first time they have contacted you about the problem.
Make the customer feel like they are your most important person (aside from your spouse or partner!). Why treat them like that? They are the most important person to you and your business.
18. Provide traditional methods of contact
We live in an age where AI chatbots, social media, and online forums can offer ways for customers to communicate with you.
But that can come across as somewhat impersonal. Hearing a voice at the other end of a phone has something special about it.
We are social creatures, and having a person we can talk to meets an interpersonal need that chatbots and similar support options can't.
Write a letter to your customer. That's getting more personal as it takes time and energy for you to sit down and write.
19. Turn customer errors into customer support occasions
Customers are right most of the time. When they make a mistake, please don't use it to highlight the error.
Use it to offer exceptional customer service.
For example, a customer comes to see you but accidentally leaves behind their coat. You look up the customer's details, and instead of them returning to you, a staff member pops around to their house to return the coat. That's going the extra mile for your customer. Oh, and along with the coat, you have included a handful of discount vouchers!
20. Offer omnichannel support
We discussed how some people like traditional ways of communicating with your business. That means you can offer a range of other channels through which your customers can connect with you.
Here is a sampling of channels in which you can provide customer service:
- Email support
- Instant Messaging
- Social media
- Video chat
Find out which channels your customers are currently using in their daily life. Are you using the same channels? The benefit of doing so is that your client base is familiar with those channels.
21. Reply to social media messages and queries
Pay attention to comments on your social media accounts. The customers took time to reach out to you; pay them the courtesy of replying.
22. Empower the customer
Do you have FAQs on your site? How about video tutorials on how to use your product or service?
Empowerment gives your client base a subtle sense of ownership in your product/service. When they can resolve issues themselves, they feel accomplished and satisfied.
That is excellent customer service there!
23. Proactively ask for feedback
Don't wait for customers to leave reviews or comments. Ask them for feedback.
Whether through chat, over the phone, or via another channel, ask your customers to give you feedback about your customer service. Be ready to hear the stinging criticism. That is good for you as it allows you to improve.
24. Offer a dependable guarantee
Customers may trust your product, but a guarantee offers peace of mind. Make your guarantee easy to understand and simple to take advantage of if needed.
On the guarantee card, list all the ways the customer can contact you. Make the process seamless and an experience with the client's interest, not yours, as the main focus.
25. Provide discounts and loyalty rewards
Everyone loves to save money, so discounts are a great way to reward your customers and entice new ones to come on board. The types of discounts you offer can range from general ones (that encourage people to enter the sales funnel) to specific offers (% off discounts for referrals, etc.).
Don't make your discounts generic and boring. Some companies offer the same discount time and time again (Evernote is one example that constantly offers 40% discounts).
You want to make your discounts unique. Have an urgency behind them, a true urgency, and something other than what customers will be offered again for a long time.
Also, give your customers reward points or exclusive offers for their loyalty.
Customer service is a part of your business (a major part) that you can't get wrong. It's something that isn't static. You need to constantly analyze those areas of customer experience you are doing well and those aspects that need to be fixed (sooner rather than later),
The hacks we have provided can ensure your customer support is at the top of its game!