When starting a small business, handling customer service isn’t too overwhelming yet. As the client base (hopefully) increases, though, juggling a steadily-growing pool of patrons becomes harder. Here are bite-sized suggestions for showing customers that they’re still always right.
1. Allow employees (or at least management) some leeway when it comes to resolving customer complaints. Sometimes slightly bending the rules means the difference between a satisfied customer and a fuming one.
2. Always keep in mind the four things that customers value the most: attention, competence, dependability and promptness.
3. Celebrate special occasions like holidays, birthdays, new seasons and big sales. Send cards and even gifts when appropriate. Make sure the gift somehow ties into your business, their business or their recent purchase.
4. Having the answer to a question is important, but when the answer will take some research, tell the customer that you don’t know off-hand, but that you will find out.
5. Let customers know what is being done for them. If certain aspects of customer service aren’t pointed out, the client may never realize everything that’s being handled on their behalf.
6. Listen to the customer. It seems obvious, but customer service reps often start talking before they even know what the problem is. Give the customer a chance to explain.
7. Never argue with a customer. Just one unhappy customer can spread the word like wildfire, which could result in lost business down the road.
8. Show customer appreciation; don’t just say that their business is appreciated. Follow-up calls, answering questions at no additional expense, checking to make sure everything is satisfactory…those subtleties go far.
9. Take responsibility for problems. Sick employees, unreliable suppliers, computer glitches – those things aren’t the customer’s concern, they’re the business’.
10. Tell the customer that their problem will be solved. Even irate patrons may simmer down if you simply say, “I can fix this.”
11. Treat each customer as an individual. One simple way to do this is by referring to them by name.
12. Update the customer regularly, whether the news is good or bad. According to Entrepreneur.com, customers trust vendors who keep them informed about the situation.
13. Pass along relevant information. Stumbled upon a book, organization or article that a customer will find interesting? Send them an e-mail to let them know.
Learn more tips and contact center best practices on CRMXchange.