Excellent customer service is one tool that can get them that repeat business from the existing customers propelling them on path of growth.
It is often that the minute the words customer service are uttered, you start thinking of CRM software, contact centers and the cost associated with them. While those have their usefulness, there are some basics that can take you a long way towards turning a customer to a satisfied customer.
What is Customer Service?
There were times when the phrase implied the post sales service that customer received. In today’s context the definition of customer service is much wider. It encompasses every aspect of customer’s interaction with you.
Customer service starts from the time customer makes the first contact with your company. It may be just to enquire about some product or service and continues on through the purchase, after sales and next purchase. You need to ensure that at every stage the customer is satisfied. His experience with you, at every stage, must make him happy enough to come back to you. The fact that his positive feedback about you can induce others to deal with you is the icing on the cake.
Every business strives to form such a relationship with customer where he comes back to you because he likes to do business with you.
Tips to ensure good customer service
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways
For any business basics of good customer service management are quite simple. It is as much about doing small things right as the obvious things.
You may want to follow the following simple tips to ensure excellent customer experience.
1. Be responsive
Ensure that phone calls are answered promptly and courteously. One major grouse that people have against call centers and IVR menus is that often they end up being passed from one extension to others without any resolution to their issue. If possible try to ensure that in one hop the call lands with the right person.
Prompt answering of phone calls and emails is the first step to a satisfied customer.
2. Training for the team
There are simple telephonic etiquettes that all the staff needs to follow. It is very important that staff of each department is well versed with his or her function. This applies as much to sales – the first point of interaction of the customer with your company – as to after sales service.
It is important that your team pays proper attention to what customer is saying. One major put-off for customers is the fact that the customer service executive giving solutions –or even worse excuses – even before customer has finished explaining his requirements.
3. Go the extra mile
Though we do not like to hear complaints, they need to be dealt with. After days of listening of complaints and not being able to satisfy some of them, the executive may develop a belief that“there is no way I can please all of them”. This results in the executive, often unconsciously, not putting his best effort to satisfy the customer.
Often you know what customer is asking for is reasonable. Just that it is likely to cost you some money to satisfy his wish with no promise of any immediate benefit to you. Keeping in mind the importance of retaining the customer for your business, you may still decide to help.
Same applies to the sales side. As sales people we are trained not to spend more than ‘x’ amount of time if the likely value of purchase is small. Sometime you may want to put in extra effort so that the customer goes back satisfied though purely ‘monetarily” speaking this was not worth your while.
4. Never make promises which you are not sure to be able to keep
“Sir, your car will be ready by 5 pm.” Commitment is made knowing that required spares were not in stock so that customer does not go the next garage for his repairs. Customer is forced to make an extra trip next day to pick up the car which was not read y when promised. What will he tell his friends? That you did excellent repair work or that the car was not ready when promised?
5. A little extra does not hurt anyone
This could be a free service voucher, a discount coupon or just some additional information that helped customer make an educated decision. A box of special chocolates for a delay in delivery can get you new customers through word of mouth publicity.
As you can see you do not need great management expertise. Just get your basics in place. This will set you on the path to most satisfactory customer service reputation.