5 ways to deliver a better customer service experience
Your product may be loved and your staff may be talented, but if your customer service isn't held to the same standard, you could find yourself losing business. A recent survey of more than 1,000 customers found that 75 percent of them were still frustrated after speaking with a customer service representative — even if their problem was solved. And with 89 percent of customers reporting that they've switched to a competitor because of bad customer service, it's vital that you improve service where you can. Learn what you can do:
1. Be responsive and available. In today's world of smartphones and social media, businesses are expected to reply to questions and complaints quickly. How quickly? A 2015 study found that 77 percent of consumers expect an email response within 6 hours, 85 percent need a Facebook reply within 6 hours and 64 percent want a Tweet back in 60 minutes. Phone calls also face high expectations: one study found that 60 percent of callers won't wait for more than one minute and 32 percent won't wait at all.
Tip: Consider implementing a live chat option for your website or, if long hold times are an issue, you might want to provide a call back option so the caller won't have to stay on the line while waiting.
2. Encourage feedback and engagement. You'll never know how to improve your customer experience if you don't have clear avenues for feedback. Encourage your customers to speak up and then incorporate their comments.
Tip: Use surveys, focus groups, social media and more to engage your customer base. Don't forget to check third-party review sites such as Yelp to see if your customers are posting their complaints elsewhere.
3. Embrace transparency. Not being open about changes in service can cause your customers to lose trust. Opening up allows you better control of your public image and helps foster respect from your customers.
Tip: Inform your customers about changes, whether they're big or small, positive or negative. Your relationship will be stronger as a result.
4. Personalize experiences. People don't want to re-explain their problem to each customer service representative or provide all of their information every time they need assistance. They want to be remembered by your company.
Tip: Make sure your representatives have easy access to customer data to cut down on frustration and time.
5. Empower employees. Provide your employees with the means to not just solve customers' problems, but to rebuild trust. A discount or credit can go a long way toward making a customer feel better about your company.
Tip: Have employees ask at the end of an interaction whether the customer's problem was solved and if they need help with anything else. Apologize for any inconvenience and, if applicable, give them a chance to provide feedback with an email afterward.
Remember that customer service should focus on building a positive relationship with your customers and preventing problems from occurring in the first place. You'll retain customers, attract new ones with positive word-of-mouth and could end up saving more than you spend on improving your service. For more tips on improving your business, visit California Bank & Trust's Business Resource Center.[cite::171::cite] [cite::172::cite]