Powerful ways to improve your customer service

Your customers are the backbone of your business – without them, you wouldn’t have a company to run!

So, if you want to increase your leads and sales figures, it’s important to give your customers your attention and make them a priority. Make your customers feel valued and exceed their expectations and you’ll gain loyal, repeat customers who will be happy to recommend you to others.

So it’s no surprise that delivering excellent customer services is well known to be one of the best ways to attract more customers to your business and keep them coming back.

And luckily there are several powerful ways you can achieve this goal and delight your customers – and set yourself apart from the competition. Here are some suggestions.

Read a cautionary tale in poor customer service in our review of stock image site JumpStory.

Hire appropriately and train your employees

If you want to improve your customer service, you need to hire enough staff members. You also need to find the right type of people who can help you excel with this initiative.

It’s your job as the business owner to make sure you have enough people to answer the calls and inquiries you receive from customers each day. All channels need to be staffed, and you need to have people ready to reply so you can cut down on your response times.

And don’t forget to invest in training for your employees, so they know what to do and how to handle challenging issues. Make sure your staff feel comfortable interacting with your customers and finding solutions to their problems.

Be more proactive and responsive online

It’s always in your best interest to be as proactive as possible when dealing with customers. If you want to impress your customers, you need to respond quickly and not leave people hanging.

These days many customers want to be able to get in touch with you online. So make sure you’re prepared by investing in Live Chat Software to handle questions, online both on your website and through your social media channels.

You absolutely need to be available and proactive online if you want to impress and wow your customer base and keep them interested in what you’re selling.

Disappearing or not following up when you say you will is going to upset your customers, and they may wish to leave a poor review or make a return.

Actively listen

It’s not always about doing the talking; you also need to be able to listen. Your customer service team (even if that’s just you!) must hear what your customers are saying without jumping to conclusions or making judgments or assumptions.

Take notes and actively listen to what your most valued and frustrated clients are telling you. There may be insights that you aren’t aware of that will help you improve your customer service approach.

Avoid guessing what they want and ask them out straight, then listen to what they tell you. Summarise and repeat back what they say to confirm you’re both on the same page.

Listening is an excellent way to help you build long-lasting relationships with your customers. Be willing to pick up the phone and call a customer if you need to clarify anything.

Put policies and procedures in place

Another powerful way to improve your customer service is to be consistent. You can do so by putting policies and procedures in place that everyone on your team can follow.

You want to avoid showing special treatment for some and not others. So have rules in place so you know how to handle the different questions and complaints that will come your way.

You’ll want to have this information in writing and post it wherever possible so your customers know what to expect and aren’t caught off guard, and you can minimise any surprises.

For example, it’s wise to have return policies in writing, so you know how to respond to people and aren’t bending the rules because you feel like it.

Be honest

Honesty is always your best policy when dealing with customers. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you need more time, look into their question, and let them know when they can expect to hear back from you.

Be honest and ethical, and follow through on your promise as a way to build trust with customers. You really don’t want to get caught out lying outright, or making optimistic promises you know deep down you are unlikely to be able to fulfil.

Be realistic and straightforward about what people can expect from you, and any timelines.

And if you do make a mistake, own up to it. It’s very likely that your customers will be forgiving and understanding because they know you’re human. The point is that you’re motivated and willing to find the answers for them.

Collect feedback and monitor results

One of the best ways to improve your customer service is to gather honest and candid feedback from your customers.

But if you do this, you need to have a thick skin. Remember that this snit personal – it’s business. And any constructive criticism (or even outright complaints) is great data you can use to make improvements and ensure your business gets better.

You’ll begin to notice patterns if many people bring up the same issue when providing comments about how you’re performing. Monitor your customer service results and scores and always work to increase them.

And remember to use any negative feedback to your advantage to fix what’s broken and an opportunity to do a better job in the future.

Know your products and services

If you’re going to improve your customer service, then you have to be knowledgeable about your products and services.

You must work hard to be and act as the experts, so there is no question about your abilities to run your company. Educate yourself about all your different products and services to understand them in detail so you can answer tough questions about them.

It’s yet another way to build trust with your customers and prove to them that you know what you’re doing. You want to be well-informed and confident in your responses, so it’s clear you know what you’re talking about, and they view you as trustworthy.

Communicate with your team and share ideas

It’s also wise to get together with your team regularly and communicate and share ideas with each other. Break down silos between departments, so everyone in your company knows the importance of customer service and how to help.

There may be issues that continually arise that you can work as a group to solve. Or you might want to use this time to come up with best practices that you can all document and follow, so you’re handling customer issues using a similar approach.

It’s a chance to express any frustrations too, and ensure that each person is up to speed with your expectations and what customers are requesting from your company.

Make a good first impression

First impressions matter a great deal, especially when conducting business and working with customers. So one easy way to improve your customer service is by putting on a friendly face or using an approachable tone when interacting with clients.

Even if you’re having a bad day, you need to put your emotions aside and make sure your customers are getting the best version of you. Greet people by name and ask how they’re doing or how their day is going to get off on the right foot.

This is your chance to set the stage and make them feel comfortable talking to you. Be positive and upbeat, and willing to do what it takes to help and solve the problem.

Go the extra mile

You can also improve your customer service by doing all that’s in your power to go the extra mile for those you’re trying to assist.

It’s better for them to be pleasantly surprised by what you can offer them than it is to have them walk away, feeling disappointed with the interaction and resolution.

So get creative if you have to and find workarounds and solutions that you know will put a smile on your customers’ faces. You’ll get better reviews when you put more of an effort in to ensure your customers are satisfied.

Create a lasting impression and add a personal touch to your conversations so that each person feels special and heard. These are the kinds of actions that get noticed, and people will want to talk about their experience with your company to their friends and family members.  

Can you improve your customer service?

Customer service is one area of business where you can truly make a difference and improve your brand reputation. Put these ideas into play at your workplace, and you’ll soon notice that you’re able to attract and retain more customers over time.

If you’re not willing to step up and do better at it, you can bet that some of your competitors will – and you risk losing business in the long run.

Treat each person with respect and reach out and continually show your customers that you care about them and appreciate their business. Learn from your mistakes and always work hard to ensure each person walks away feeling as though they had a positive experience with your company – and wants to return.  

Photo by Thought Catalog