Companies who are super savvy when it comes to customer service are the ones who stay ahead in a competitive world. The old days of poor customer service being considered part of the ‘price to pay’ for a lesser cost product are just that — the old days! These days, it’s more common for customers to intentionally associate themselves with companies that truly care, regardless of their price. Loyalty to an organization or company can be shown in a number of ways. So if you’re looking to improve your customer service, and get repeat purchases and clients, here are some inside tips:
- Be transparent with your company information.
Customers want to know who you are and where you are located. The easiest way to accomplish this is to be transparent about your location. If you are a brick and mortar store, make sure that you have a ‘contact us’ page that is easy to complete. If you’re an online shop, add a line including the city you’re based out of…people like to associate a hometown or state to the businesses they buy into. A Google map of the area and directions to your store might also be helpful and relevant information to include. Most importantly, make sure you include a phone number that can be answered by a live person.
- Put a friendly “face” to the business name.
- Respond to customer inquiries quickly.
Whether it’s a rare occasion that you hear from your customers online or your company culture is “highly responsive,” it’s so important to keep up with the speed of incoming customer emails and requests. Make it a top priority to answer questions as quickly as possible. This will build customer loyalty as well as lead to more sales or signups because a knowledgeable shopper is more likely to buy than one who is waiting for a reply. That said, don’t sacrifice the quality or thoroughness of your answers just to get a response out in record time. The more effort and personalization you put into your emails, the better. While it might seem like a simple concept, taking the time to work and communicate one-on-one with customers is the best way to instill a sense of trust. So be sure to address all inquiries, questions and contacts, even if you don’t feel like they will lead to a sale. If you are unsure of an answer, let them know that you will research and get back to them quickly. Customers will appreciate the honesty of your response just as much as they do the the speed, and it will earn you more respect.
- Ship fast and efficiently.
This tip is simple, yet crucial. Once a customer has ordered a product or service, always be sure to communicate a confirmation of their order, shipping details, and a tracking number if possible. A common mistake made by new business owners is to ‘forget’ about customers who have made it through the purchase process and are waiting on their product. It’s important to recognize that the customer experience isn’t over until they receive the product and are satisfied with the result. So be sure to prioritize these customers just as much as you do the ones who are thinking about buying. Knowing that you are available and communicate even after their credit card has been charged will greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll buy again in the future. Here’s a quick tip: Use an alternate email address for customers who have existing order questions and make it your goal to respond to them first. Maintaining communication, even in conditions where there may be a problem with the shipping, is crucial to keeping your customers happy.
- Use testimonials in a smart way.
It’s always good to have people speak highly of your company. But it’s best when it comes from a genuine place. For example, social media is one of the best ways to garner support for your brand. So if people are talking about you and your company in a real way across those channels, sharing those messages is often seen as more trusted than if you simply “promote yourself” on your own website. Quick tip: If you do have testimonials and you are planning to post them on your website, do your best to include a first name and a photo of the client. This visual actually goes a long way with building the trust of your potential customers. Don’t have any testimonials yet? Don’t worry! We understand it can be frustrating to hear that customer testimonials are so important when you’re just starting out. I mean really, if you haven’t made a lot of sales or connections yet, how are you supposed to get testimonials?! We get it. But, fear not, these things take time. And here’s what you can do: Take the initiative with any customers you have engaged with, and ask them if they wouldn’t mind emailing you with a quick note about their experience with your business. Even if there are only a couple, don’t wait for them to come to you. You’ll be surprised at how many people are happy to share a positive review when asked, especially for startups or small business owners who have worked so hard to provide an awesome customer experience — from the first time they visit until their package has arrived at their doorstep.
Great customer service is about more than just a happy customer, though that is of the utmost importance. It’s also about becoming a trusted and respected business in your industry. We hope the tips above help take your service to the next level, but if you’re still unsure about how to interact with your customers, our best advice is to simply consider the type of service that makes you happy, and then pay it forward within your own company culture.