Your reputation is only as good as the customer service you provide. Whatever experience your customers have with your business, you can be sure they will pass on their encounters, both good and bad, to a wider network of friends and family.
These days it is unwise to rely solely on your sales people to sell your products and services. Tech-savvy customers are only a click away from obtaining a wide variety of information about you and your brand. These educated, well-informed buyers make getting a sale even harder in today’s business economy.
That being said, there is a lot at stake based on your ability to provide good customer service that rivals your competitors. So what can you do right now to improve your customer service & build customer loyalty?
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Keep good customer records
The simple administration task of keeping good customer records pays dividends in the long-run. A deep understanding of your customers’ needs and wants is an invaluable sales, marketing and customer service tool. It also helps keep your business customer-focused.
Train customer-facing staff
Customers value good service. Those who receive a competent, knowledgeable and all-encompassing service at the point of contact are more likely to remember their experience and tell their friends. Ensure your customer-facing staff are well trained on all your products and services and have easy access to real-time customer data when they need it.
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Respond to your customers
One of the most important things you can do for your customers is to respond quickly to their queries. They wouldn’t be asking a question if they weren’t interested. By not responding or delaying your response, you instantly send out a bad impression.
Reward your customer
Reward individual customers who love your brand and rave about it. People love to feel valued. Offer coupons, a free meal or event tickets. This works particularly well if referrals are a key source of new business for you.
Introduce a Customer Loyalty Scheme
Customer loyalty schemes are an effective way to improve your customer retention levels. They enable you to focus on your best customers and improve customer satisfaction levels. Loyal customers buy more and are often willing to pay more. They are also good for your business because they become your best advocates and can significantly improve your bottom-line profits. They will recommend you to others which will also reduce your marketing costs. A loyal customer’s endorsement is more powerful to their friends and family than any advertising campaign.
Customer friendly website
Your website is often a customer’s first exposure to your company. Ensure your home page is personal and user-friendly. Are you telling them what they want to hear rather than what you want to say? Can they quickly find what they are looking for? In one click or two clicks, can they quickly get in touch with you?
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Thank your customers
People love to feel appreciated. A simple thank you card can make your customer feel very special. Or, if someone says something nice about you on any social media network, ensure you personally thank them back.
Invite your customers to an event
Done right, events are a classic way for businesses to engage their customers, whether consumer or corporate. The personal interaction with a targeted demographic can build brand loyalty or generate new interest, adding to a customer base and building business.
Educate your customers
Help you customers to learn something new about your products and services. Offer tips and advice on relevant topics through blogs, webinars, video and white papers.
If you are offering information free without any obligation or required sale, and the information you are offering educates people about you, your products/services, them, their needs, the industry, or anything in between, you are keeping your brand in their mind-set. Think of selling as helping prospects gain important insights about how well your product meets their needs, wants and expectations
Apologise when you don’t deliver
Delivering on your promises is doing what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it. Every time you follow through on a commitment, you build trust. If you go above and beyond, you make an even stronger impression. When you don’t deliver on your promises, regardless of the reasons, you need to apologise. When customers complain there is always a reason. This is an opportunity to learn something, so hear them out without interrupting or arguing
These ten strategies provide a generalised approach to exceeding customer expectations and achieving superior service. In the end, only those companies with an on-going commitment to listen and serve can consistently keep their customers happy.
It is good practice to continuously examine your customer satisfaction levels so that you can identify any issues facing your particular business and implement any improvements.
Customer Relationship Management Software
Whatever size business you are in, it may be worth looking into the numerous CRM software packages that are available on the market today. From spread sheet applications to fully-integrated CRM systems, there is a package to suit every business.
CRM software is an essential tool for any company or organisation that wants to achieve the maximum return on their marketing, fully capitalise on their sales leads and prospects and cultivate on-going, lifetime relationships with their current and established customers.