Providing friendly, efficient customer service is vital for any business, but are your customer service policies adequate? What are your customer service objectives? Here are 10 tips to help you improve your customers’ experience.
PRODUCE A PLAN AND OBJECTIVES. The best source of information is your customers themselves, which includes vendors, and employees. Seek their input about your customer service, what they expect, and how it compares to their ideal. Then be willing to accept and consider their points of view and use that information to create customer standards for your business.
PUT IT IN WRITING. Once you have established standards and practices, document them, then train your employees on those standards. Make exceptional service the expected norm, and ensure it applies to each and every customer, not just the best clients or the biggest accounts.
REVIEW YOUR CUSTOMER POLICIES. Cross-reference your policies with complaints as well as compliments. Look at the complaints and whether “problem policies” are causing them. Then either institute a better approach or change the policy. Find ways to promote your most complimented policies through your employees or on your marketing materials.
ASK, LISTEN, FOLLOW UP, REPEAT. Ask open-ended questions when communicating with your customers. That will provide you with information that will help you better assist the customer. For example, ask what the customer is shopping for: is it a special occasion? Could you suggest other complimentary products/services? Listen and provide solutions, or alternatives if you cannot assist the customer.
HIRE A GOOD MIX OF PEOPLE. Once you determine what is most important to you and your business and decided upon standards, determine the mix of employee strengths, personality, skills, and experience that is appropriate for your business. Include your customer service standards in your position descriptions and performance reviews.
TRAIN. Offer your employees training on providing great service, which will help make it part of your company culture. Then, empower your employees to make decisions that provide positive experiences for your customers. Reward your employees for providing brilliant service with incentives ranging from additional training opportunities, side projects or flexible hours to a simple (but genuine) “thank you.”
EVALUATE YOUR REACH. Make it easy for your customers to find you. Be sure your website has your operating hours, phone numbers (with a ‘click to call’ function), store location(s), and links to your social media sites. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly. Google your line of business and related products/services to see if it returns results for your business.
BOAST ABOUT YOUR EXPERTISE. Use newsletters, blogs and videos to promote your team’s expertise in your industry and its products and services. Topics can include self-help guides, weekly or monthly tips and tricks, dialogues or interviews with other customers.
MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION. While they may seem intimidating, review sites including Yelp! and others create awareness for your business and help you understand what your customers are experiencing. Respond to both positive and negative feedback while keeping your own responses positive.
CELEBRATE YOUR CUSTOMERS. Feature satisfied customers on your website. Use a short testimonial, either in writing or on video. Consider special in-store events before or after hours to make your customers feel special. Thank your customers in person.
For more information on reimagining your customer service and growing your business contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.