Many businesses like to advertise that they have excellent customer service or top service records, but what does this really mean? More importantly what does this mean for customers? With so many businesses promising to be the best and have excellent service levels, customers are a little wary. They don't just want to hear about how wonderful your company is; they want to see actual service delivery. So how do you go about implementing a customer service plan that really works? Here are some tips to help guide you through the process.
Have a Customer-Oriented Outlook
Many business owners have good intentions, striving to maintain high standards in their business. This is a good thing but unless your efforts are focused on how they will benefit your customers, it won't translate into top customer service. Too often businesses are focused on what they are doing and what they have to offer. They don't take the time to find out if this is what customers want or need. In order to be able to deliver a service that is of value to your customers, you need to put yourselves in their shoes. Ask how your product or service will benefit them. What tangible reasons do they have to buy from you and not someone else? When you demonstrate real value and benefits to your customers, this automatically translates into top-quality customer service. Customers will see that your efforts aren't forced and are indeed genuine. The result is customers that leave happy and appreciated; as a result, they are more likely to return and purchase from you again in the future.
Develop Relationships with your Customers
Marketing studies show that it is far more cost effective to retain existing customers than to constantly have to prospect for new customers. By developing relationships with your customers, you will be creating a solid foundation from which to grow your business. At the same time, you will be learning more about your customers. You can find out why they buy from you, what they like about your products, and what is important to them. You can also find out about their likes and dislikes and this can give you ideas on how better to serve them. This information can also be useful when you are looking for ways in which you can offer better service or more value to your customers.
Train All Staff in All Departments
It is true that some employees will have more customer contact than others. However, when customer service is something that is ingrained into all work functions, it becomes part of the culture of the business. It is not enough to train the front-line salespeople in customer service. Everyone, including the accounting department, admin people and cleansers, should realize the importance of customer service. When they understand that their job is not just a job but an important part of servicing customers, they will be more conscious of being courteous and helpful with customers.
Get Customer Feedback
How do you know that your customer service levels are where they should be unless you get feedback from your customers? A simple follow-up phone call to customers can enlighten you as to how you are really doing in the eyes of your customers. It can either confirm that you are doing well or that there are areas of your customer service that need work and attention. At the same time, letting your customers know that you value their input and feedback shows your customers that you are serious about customer service. Just asking for their opinions can already improve their impression of your business.
Streamline Your Systems and Processes
There are many CRM systems that can help you manage and keep on top of your customer followups and appointments. Looking at your general office operations and systems is another way in which you can improve your customer service. When you operate more efficiently, this will benefit your customers. For example, if you use an online faxing system, customers can receive information via fax more quickly. When they want to send information through to you by fax then you can give them a dedicated fax number to send it to. You can also then assure customers that there is a greater level of confidentiality when dealing with their documentation. This is made possible because you can view the document on a screen without having to print it. Simple systems like this can help you to serve your customers better.