April 10, 2017 Monday
There’s so much advice out there on customer service that it can be difficult to boil it down to the few tips that can really make a difference when it comes to your customers’ perception of your business. To help you prioritize your efforts, here are six of the biggest dos and don’ts that will help you gain and retain customers:
DO: Offer Them Options
Increasingly, consumers are looking for multiple contact options so that they can reach you in the way that’s most convenient for them. Email and chat are both on the rise, but you shouldn’t forget good old-fashioned phone service as well.
DON’T: Make the Solution the Problem
As numerous highly publicized customer service gaffes have demonstrated recently (Google some cable-industry customer service interactions if you haven’t heard any), consumers are often subjected to processes that make what ought to be the solution to their problems into a bigger problem than their original one. Customers should complete their interaction with you relieved that it took so little effort on their part.
DO: Ask for Clarifications
Time is often of the essence in customer service, but taking a few moments to get clarifications can save a whole lot of time down the road. Always take the time to repeat a customer’s concern back to them in different words to be sure you’ve got it right, and ask questions if you’re not exactly sure what the customer is asking for.
DON’T: Let Yourself Be Bullied
Good customer service is one of the most important strategies for retaining business, but you shouldn’t let yourself or your employees be bullied or abused by customers, either. That kind of unhealthy interaction is not the kind of long-term relationship you want.
DO: Follow Up on Service
Your customers shouldn’t feel hounded, but it’s a good policy to follow up on service calls a few days or weeks later. The honest feedback you can get at that point will help you to know if your current customer service strategies are really working or not.
DON’T: Try to Do Everything Yourself
Customer demands can be overwhelming, and that’s exactly why specialty answering services exist. Even just answering the phone in a timely manner can be tough: general business etiquette demands a phone never be allowed to ring more than three times, and one study discovered that of the 2,500 consumers surveyed, about 60% found a minute of hold time to be unacceptable (almost a third, or 32.3%, thought customer service departments should answer with no hold time whatsoever). Considering the demands start before you even pick up the telephone, sometimes a specialty answering service is just the smart way to go.