Customer service is extremely important to the success of your business.
Without quality customer service, you could lose your current customers and risk pushing away potential customers that may come along.
So let’s discuss how you can ensure that your customers receive excellent customer service.
5 Ways Ensure Your Customers Receive Excellent Customer Service
1. Stay open after regular office hours
While in the past it may have been sufficient to only keep customer service open during regular office hours, that is really starting to become more of an exception these days.
Today, customers simply expect more.
Especially from online businesses which are technically open around the clock.
Most people work all day and cannot find the time to make personal calls while on the job.
So keeping customer service open after 5 pm for when they’ve gotten off work is essential.
If you have international customers, you could consider keeping your customer service open 24/7.
Otherwise, it can be very frustrating for a customer who lives in a different time zone to find out that the only time they can get someone on the phone is during the time they’re normally asleep.
There is, of course, a cost involved in keeping customer service open at all times so it may be a good idea to try to gather statistics on when it’s the most active and plan accordingly.
Employees should ideally never have to sit around without anything to do, so if that happens frequently you should definitely try to improve the situation.
2. Make contacting you easy and frictionless
Most of us have had at least one experience with a company who thought it appropriate to let their customers navigate a maze of vague choices just to get someone on the phone or be able to send them an e-mail.
There are numerous reasons why companies do this.
One is that it increases friction so fewer customers will actually bother going through the trouble of contacting them, and it also acts as a categorization system for incoming complains and questions so the appropriate department can deal with them directly.
While the latter might not be such a bad thing, trying to introduce friction to reduce the need for customer service may actually be counterproductive.
Say there’s a dissatisfied customer who’s about to contact you with a complaint they need you to handle.
However, due to the complicated process, they’re simply unable to.
Do you think they’ll come back to do business with you again?
What may have been an excellent chance for you to rectify the problem elegantly, and gain a lifelong loyal customer thanks to your excellent service, will instead cause you to lose this customer forever.
It is also likely that he or she will vent elsewhere, to friends and possibly on online forums and review sites.
3. Don’t rely too heavily on automation
Another reason why companies make their customers go through a lengthy process to contact them is that they want to automate their customer service as much as possible.
The idea is to help the customer find the answer to their problem without having to involve an actual human support agent.
Now, some degree of automation is actually good for both the company and its customers.
Simple issues can be resolved quickly without having to wait for someone to answer the phone or respond to an e-mail.
However, many companies take it too far and make it almost impossible to sidestep the automated process and get in touch with a real human.
Automation should be a complement to the regular, old-fashioned customer service, not a replacement.
In my Nurture Facet program, we focus on ways to engage with clients to make them feel unique and valued, not just one in a crowd.
4. Adapt to mobile technology
15 years ago it became clear that every business needs a website.
And today, it’s clear that a business who isn’t embracing mobile technology will soon fall way behind their competitors.
It starts with optimizing their existing website for mobile devices, but that’s not the end of it.
The whole customer service process should be functioning well on mobile to be properly prepared for the future.
One thing that is quick and easy to implement is direct linking to a support number via “click to call”.
It’s also critical to ensure that e-mailing can be done through a mobile-ready online form, not requiring the user to go through the trouble of leaving the site to create an email from scratch.
If you can do anything to reduce the amount of typing needed then that’s sure to be appreciated too, as typing can be quite cumbersome on mobile devices.
Having the option of contacting you through social media is a great idea to offer personalized service.
5. Try to offer fast response times
Let’s face it: if there’s one thing that’s universally appreciated among customers, it’s fast response times when they need to contact customer service.
Few things will seem so impressive to customers as getting a response to an e-mail within just a couple of minutes, especially if it’s after regular office hours and they weren’t expecting a response until the next day.
The same goes for the phone.
Most people these days expect to get stuck waiting on hold for a long time before actually getting their problem resolved.
And if you were to let a service rep pick up the phone immediately when they call then that’s another thing that will stay with them and keep them coming back to your business.
Failing to provide fast response times can actually be detrimental to your whole customer service operation.
No matter how good you are with the rest of it, if you cannot answer e-mails and phone calls within a reasonable time, it will still lead to frustrated and angry customers.