Providing excellent customer service has become one of the most important factors in business success. Companies that offer the best customer service devote lots of time to their strategies, and it pays off.
In fact, some studies suggest that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95%!
Likewise, companies with poor customer service or none at all can suffer greatly — 54% of millennials will cut off business due to poor customer service. 50% of Gen Xers and 52% of baby boomers agreed.
Give your current strategy a makeover with these eight tips for improving your company’s customer service strategy.
Tip #1 | Know Your Customers
How do you know what your customers want if you do not know who they are? Connecting with your customers to understand their wants and needs is the first step to implementing a better customer service strategy.
Get detailed analytics on your customer base, like geographic location, industry, etc. This will help you to better understand your customers’ interests and expectations and help you meet those expectations.
The best companies use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of customer interactions and maintain a streamlined customer service approach.
Tip #2 | Gather Feedback
Feedback is crucial to a great customer service strategy. There is no better way to gauge your current strategy’s success than to hear it directly from your customers themselves.
There are many ways to gather customer feedback and some companies combine several methods. Free tools like SurveyMonkey are useful for creating surveys to email to your customers.
Some companies include links to customer satisfaction surveys in their email signatures. There is even software available that can add an automated survey at the end of each customer service call.
Not only will asking for feedback give you a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, but it could prevent an upset customer from airing their grievances about your company to others.
Whether it is through online forms or a casual phone call to check in with your customers, gather all the feedback you can.
Tip #3 | Measure Current Performance
You need to understand your current customer service strategy before you can formulate a new one.
Take a good, hard look at your current customer service strategy and measure its performance based on things like customer retention and attrition, number of complaints, average resolution time, etc.
After measuring the performance of your current customer service strategy, analyze the results and decide where there are opportunities for improvement.
Ideally, you should repeat this process every six months.
Tip #4 | Benchmark Against Other Top Companies
There is nothing wrong with gathering ideas from other top companies. Why reinvent the wheel?
Apple, Amazon and L.L. Bean are great examples of companies with a proven, effective customer service approach.
What makes Apple’s customer service strategy so great is the company’s empathetic and knowledgeable approach to customer service. They train their employees to be experts and ensure the customer experience is effortless.
Amazon is known for excellent customer service because the company consistently goes the extra mile and fosters a relationship with their customers based on transparency and trust.
L.L. Bean prides itself on offering superior customer service. They firmly believe in making pieces that last, so they will take back anything in any condition, no questions asked.
Tip #5 | Plan for Multichannel Interactions
Today’s consumers expect companies to be available not just anytime, but also anywhere.
However, not every customer will want to interact with your customer service team the same way. In fact, 40% of consumers will not do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred channel of communication.
Therefore, it is important to include multichannel interactions in your customer service strategy. Have a plan specifically for each channel: phone, email and social media.
Tip #6 | Timeliness is Key
More than half of U.S. consumers say that the most important thing companies can do to provide good service is to value their time. In fact, replying to customer complaints quickly has been shown to increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%.
Whatever your new customer service strategy may be, always respond to customers in a timely manner.
Tip #7 | Set a Common Goal
Set a specific, measurable goal for your customer service team. For example, a customer service call center’s goal might be to answer X number of calls within a certain number of minutes.
Another goal could be to respond to your online reviews within a certain number of days.
Whatever your goal is, make sure it is a SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
Once you decide on a goal, stick to it for a predetermined amount of time (usually a month) before evaluating and adjusting it as needed.
Tip #8 | Adapt and Improve
Keep in mind that your customers’ wants and needs will change over time. Services that were cutting edge one day are outdated the next. This is why staying connected to your customers and adapting to their changing needs is crucial.
Ensure that improvements are made regularly and that all issues are handled quickly and respectfully.
As with everything, strive for continuous improvement when it comes to your customer service strategy.
Remember, good customer service strategies pay off!
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