We've heard the term "customer service" for quite some time now. Ever wondered what it really means? Its more than just a department. It's how you market yourself in a way that will give you more customers and better client retention if done the right way. Your attitude towards your customers is extremely essential. The service and goodwill you bring to the table determines your mettle as an entrepreneur and as a company. Every client of yours must get attention, recognition, and understanding at all times. Each and every person you come in contact with should be made to feel like they are very important to you and their opinions matter.
These things may seem small but are truly the base of customer service. It's also about how you put your product out in the market. In other words, the way you handle your branding. A good brand sets the standard of your products really high in the outside world. It aids in managing customer expectations. For instance, if you mention Burger King, many people imagine a burger with some french-fries. But when you say Adidas, people will think of sports gears and sport related equipment. This entails that individuals know what to expect even before they set their foot in the store or log on to your company website.
Customer service is also about expectations. Customers expect certain standards with regards to their purchases of your product. After-sales-service is one criteria that creates a bad impression on consumers if not taken seriously. When people purchase your product they expect it to deliver. They've put in their hard-earned money and invested in a product that's been manufactured or promoted by you. Thus, they expect the product to be durable and efficient. If that happens, they are content with the services and perceive it as satisfactory. For some reason, if you aren't in par with their expectations, then they perceive this experience as not satisfactory. This goes to prove that managing your customer's expectations is of utmost significance. It doesn't matter if you are polite, friendly and empathetic towards them. If they don't get what they want, they deem this as 'poor customer service'.
How you manage problems in customer service is also considered extremely substantial. Not all days are same and things do go wrong once in a while. You can't shut shop due to these minor road-blocks. People running an enterprise are adults and accepting mistakes is what responsible adults do. So, if you are having a rough day at office, would you let that affect your relationship with your customers? Absolutely not! Put yourself in your customer's position and see what it feels like to be a consumer who has valid complaints. You would want your voice to be heard. Your frustration and anger is justifiable. However, if someone from customer service attends to you and finds an alternative to your problem, you'd be elated. That's exactly what you have to do when consumers come up with genuine complaints. Find quick solutions and make life easy for your shoppers.
All of us like to be treated in a polite and humane manner. Your customers feel the same. You need to be careful because many times we may displace our negative emotions when talking to customers that make matters worse. Think of a day when your boss may have brushed you off as he was very busy with an important presentation for a client. You must have felt insulted and ignored. Realize this that it takes just one time to turn consumers away. Once they leave, they aren't coming back. Thanks to your insensitive remark or a subtle smirk.
Use Simple Language
In the corporate world, people use terminologies that are difficult for consumers to comprehend. Some in the form of acronyms such as ETA (expected time of arrival/action) BAU (business as usual), CTA (call to action) or CSR (customer service representative). You have to understand that not all your customers will understand these jargons, so it's best to speak to them in simple and courteous language.
Let's now look at ways you can build a good relationship with your customers.
Take Their Opinion
Customers can make or break you and your brand. And for that reason, their opinion matters. So, be it print, social media, survey or phone, ask them for their feedback of your product. Talk to them about the what they want. Discuss any shortcomings in the product you've just launched. Enquire about things they don't want. You can get connect with them through comment cards, feedback sheets, testimonials, product reviews and much more. Take some time out and respond to grievances. When a customer has emailed you, it only means they are serious about your product or brand. This should motivate you to reach out to them and put an end to all their concerns. Try not to assume that you know what your customer really wants. Let the consumer do most of the talking as this will give you valuable information about your product and what went wrong.
Train Every Department in Customer Service
You need to train all your staff members when it comes to customer service. When consumers are flipping out they want their issues to be solved at any cost. Making them dance around from one department to another can further aggravate matters. Directing them to employees who cannot help them will upset them more. For this very reason, you can offer customer service training to all departments. And once they get a hang of it, continue to guide and train them in this arena. Role-play situations often helps in assisting your employees as they encounter both easy and difficult service instances. With this you also get to see which person remains calm and composed when confronted with a difficult buyer.
Be Aware of Your Body Language
A lot of people are right in certain situations and can tell if they are being liked or not. Consciously or unconsciously they can gauge as to how you feel about them. Your posture can speak volumes about yourself. Therefore, always greet customers with a smile. You may be having a rough day at home or you haven't slept well the previous night. All those concerns shouldn't show on your face. Keep your legs and arms uncrossed and make eye contact. These are good ways to make sure your customers remember your interaction with them. Every customer is unique with different set of complaints or concerns. Thus, they must be treated with utmost humility and respect. No matter how irritating the customer may be, you cannot get disrespectful or use profanity.
If you want to have a long-term relation with your customers, you need to make them feel extra special. What are you doing from your end to make sure people come again for your product or services? Give them something they will remember when they come to your store. It doesn't have to be something extravagant. But small gestures like a free coupon for their next purchase, or a thank you note can brighten up their spirits. It doesn't have to be something tangible at all times. You can also give them some insights about the product that they have just purchased from your store. And inform them about the next annual sale before it is officially announced. These small actions leave an ever-lasting impact on your customers and makes them feel valued.
Get a Mystery Shopper
Bring someone who can pose as a consumer. Let the person strike a conversation with real customers about your products. What they like and what they don't about your products. This will give you the real picture of how your customers really feel about your brand. Let the mystery shopper ask for feedback and ways you can improve at this juncture. You need to study every complaint and compliment as it will help you plan your next move.
Pay Attention to Service
Always greet your customers by name, if you can. Have a firm handshake as that's the sign of confidence. Giving them service that feels personal will only help in retaining customers. Thank them for their interest in your product and try to explain everything you know pertaining to your product or equipment. And keep things light-hearted. Crack a harmless joke or relate a funny incident that will bring a smile on the customer's face. When tempers are running high, you may want to lighten the mood so that everyone feels at ease.
Be Patient and Improve Customer Service
It takes time and patience to build good relations with your customers. Never forget that and don't expect wonders in a day. The valuable time and importance you give to your consumers will pave the way of how your customers feel about you and your product. Go online and look for more feedback. Thanks to social media, you can reach out to your customers almost instantaneously. Be part of the discussion and let people voice out their concerns. Your customers trust you and all they want from you is loyalty and truthfulness for every penny that's invested in your product. In return you can give them the service they want with utmost dedication and honesty. Once you do that, your customers aren't going anywhere and you have them for life.