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Successful organizations understand that consumers pay the bills and great customer service is the key to business success.
According to a Zendesk Customer Service Survey, 81% of customers reported sharing a bad service experience with family and friends, and 59% of consumers who had a bad service experience stopped buying from that company.
The scary thing is consumers are now using social media (45%) to spread the word, and more and more consumers are making buying decisions (88%) based on online customer service reviews.
The survey also reports that consumers share service experiences more today (58%) than just five years ago, and of those surveyed, 54% said they tell at least five people about a bad experience.
The good news is you can win customers over by providing a good customer experience.
The survey suggests that customers with a good customer experience (62%) purchased more products or services from the company. Respondents said resolving problems quickly (69%) is the key to a great service experience.
5 Keys to a Great Customer Service Experience
1. Influence Customer Expectation
When consumers purchase a product or service, they expect how that product will perform or how the service will be delivered.
Educating the consumer about what to expect can go a long way in helping to manage their expectations.
For example, when I purchase my laptop, I understand how long the battery life will be from reading the specs.
If it exceeds that, I’m tickled; if it doesn’t perform as described, I’m disappointed.
In the same way, when I go to the doctor and am told that the wait time will be 15 minutes, I’m content until about the 20-minute point.
Setting customer expectations is key to managing their service and product delivery response.
2. Train Employees
Service training is crucial to a great customer experience.
Create standards of service and help employees understand the expectations for committing to those standards.
For instance, if a standard is responding to emails within a few hours, track employee responses to ensure they meet that expectation.
If they are not, find out why. If there is a system problem that is preventing them from responding in a timely manner, make an effort to fix what is broken in the system.
3. System to Address Customer Issues
Things happen, and whether it is a faulty product or a less-than-perfect service experience, every organization should have a system and process in place to quickly correct customer issues.
Create a customer service guarantee that you communicate to customers. This sets the expectation for what a consumer can expect from you.
However, when the inevitable system fails, you will need to recover quickly.
Track complaints and develop improvement plans based on data.
For instance, if data is telling you that wait times are consistently longer than what is promised, either streamline the process to make the wait time shorter or change your customer guarantee to reflect more realistic wait times.
4. Monitor On-line Chatter
With the prevalence of social media, angry consumers go to the web to vent their frustrations.
Be aware of this and monitor social so you can be the first to know instead of the last.
I used to tell my employees, “If I don’t know it’s broke I can’t fix it.”
This meant that, as leaders, we need to know what is going on to correct issues.
Set up Google alerts for your business so you can know if someone is complaining about your business online.
If they are, jump into the conversation and try to remedy the situation quickly. This proactive approach will communicate to other readers that you take complaints seriously.
Most people are reasonable; if you right a wrong, you will demonstrate credibility with consumers and can often turn a negative into a positive.
5. Solicit Customer Feedback
Everyone has an opinion, and for small businesses, opinions can be your friend.
You want to know what those who purchase your products think.
Track feedback data over time and create improvement plans based on available data.
For instance, if a survey reveals that employees are consistently rude to consumers, make an effort to retrain employees on an appropriate response and set expectations for their interactions with customers.
Conduct customer focus groups to learn about changing customer requirements and develop products and services based on what is learned by talking to the customers.
Customers Are The Lifeline To A Business
Businesses would not exist without customers. These committed consumers are what pay the bills and salaries of employees.
Customers are the lifeline to all businesses, and taking care of their needs and addressing their service and product issues is the best way to attract and keep them!