5 Customer Service Best Practices That Will Make Your Customers Love You
Tue | December 2023
Have you lost clients due to poor service? The reality is that you are not alone in it. We've all been in this frustrating situation after a phone call. Promising not to buy or return to that store again. This happens to 95% of customers who say they abandon a brand due to poor customer service. The good news is that if you are here, you are willing to make a change to improve your customer service.
Good customer service is the difference between a rushed, unclear apology and a personalized, realistic solution that will leave your customers praising your brand. This guide will show you the path to success with your customers through five good customer service practices. Starting from understanding your clients' needs to providing them with personalized support. So, are you ready to make your customers happy and become an admirable brand?
Let's get started!
1. Understanding and Prioritizing Customer Needs
Put your customers first. Make their needs and satisfaction your top priority. Customer satisfaction measures how well you meet your customers' needs and expectations. Satisfied customers are likelier to stay loyal and recommend your brand to others. They're more likely to return after a significant purchase and become loyal fans.
Investing in customer service leads to long-term benefits. When you understand the bigger picture, you find more growth opportunities for your business. Additionally, acquiring a new customer costs between 5 and 25 times more than retaining an existing one. So, how do you understand what your customers' needs are?
Knowing Your Customer
We all want to work with companies that solve our needs quickly and efficiently. To understand your customers' needs, you can start by getting reviews about your products. Ask your customers what they think about your products. Ask them what they like best, what they don't like, and what they want to change.
There are several ways you can collect this information. Start by sending surveys. Organize focus groups. Follow discussions about your products on social media. Consult guides on tops questions you can ask your clients, such as:
What can my company do to serve your needs better?
How satisfied are you with our products/services?
What is the main benefit you receive from our product/service?
Creating and distributing surveys to measure customer satisfaction is easier than it may sound. Fortunately, there are tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform that can help you. These tools allow you to easily create professional surveys, collect responses, and analyze results. You can choose a template that fits your needs and customize it with your brand. Ask questions about frequent issues or challenges customers face to help you prioritize areas for improvement and proactively address concerns before they escalate. You can also ask them about customer service reps' professionalism, helpfulness, and problem-solving skills. This can help direct your training.
Once you've conducted your surveys, you will have lots of data to analyze. You'll want to create key metrics from this data and track them as you work to improve customer service. These metrics could include: Overall satisfaction, likelihood to recommend, resolution time, among others.
2. Don't Let Customers Wait: Respond Promptly and Effectively
Picture this: a customer sends a worried message about a late order. You notice it hours later, when they have already expressed their frustration on social media. Ouch! Not addressing concerns promptly can be very costly. That is why quick and efficient communication is your secret weapon for creating loyal customers and a successful business.
Choosing the Right Channels:
Not everyone texts, not everyone calls. The key is to offer a mix of traditional and digital channels that match your audience and industry. Here are some popular options:
Traditional: Phone calls and email - reliable for urgent issues or complex conversations.
Digital: Live chat, social media, help center - perfect for quick questions and wider reach.
Emerging: Messaging apps and chatbots - great for 24/7 support and basic queries.
Phone: Tools like Grasshopper give you instant call notifications and email-like voicemail transcripts, so you can respond on the go and keep leads hot.
Email: Create pre-written templates in Gmail or Outlook for common questions like return policies or shipping updates. This saves time and ensures consistent responses. For more information, see Steps To Creating An Engaging Email Template.
Always Be Available:
Chatbots: These AI-powered assistants can answer FAQs and provide basic help 24/7, like a digital FAQ booth on your website. Just remember to offer a seamless transition to human agents for complex issues. For more information about setting up a chatbot, see how to build your first AI chatbot.
Social Media: Actively engage on platforms your customers use. This builds trust and allows you to address concerns swiftly.
Help Center: Create a comprehensive online resource with FAQs, guides, and tutorials. This empowers customers to find solutions independently, further reducing your workload.
By offering multi-channel communication, pre-written responses, and 24/7 availability, you can ensure your customers feel heard and valued. Remember, promptness and effectiveness are key. When you prioritize communication, you build loyalty and watch your business soar.
3. Personalize your interactions: Make each customer feel special
When you log onto your favorite handmade jewelry store at the end of a long day, the screen greets you with a warm "Hi Emma, welcome back!" You see a collection of new necklaces that match your love for delicate designs and understated elegance. As you scroll further, you find a special offer: an exclusive preview of upcoming pieces chosen just for you. It's like the store created your jewelry wish list!
This is the magic of personalized customer service. It's not just about remembering names; it's about understanding your preferences, anticipating your desires, and making you feel like a VIP. And it works! 7 out of 10 shoppers say they are loyal to a company that understands their needs. Small businesses can shine brighter than big ones by building genuine connections with real people.
So how can you do it?
You can use CRM tools to store customer information and personalize chats or emails, offers, and support interactions. Various software options are available to help you create personalized interactions that cater to different needs and budgets. Some of the main ones on the market include:
Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Ideal for: comprehensive customer data management and personalization across all channels.
Examples: Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho CRM
Features: Contact information, purchase history, interaction tracking, segmentation tools, personalized email marketing, recommendation engines, etc.
Help Desk Software: Ideal for streamlining customer service interactions and offering personalized assistance.
Examples: Zendesk, Freshdesk, LiveChat
Features: A ticketing system, live chat, knowledge base, agent performance analysis, automated routing based on customer profile, personalized greetings, and responses.
To find the best software, research and compare the options. Look for free trials or demos to test how they work. Choose software that makes customer data easy to access and use. Remember, you are not only solving problems but also building relationships. Making every interaction unique and easy will turn customers into fans. And that's what will make your business go from good to great.
4. Providing Knowledgeable and Accurate Information
The best customer service teams are confident that they know how to fix problems or know where to look for more answers — Apple's knowledgeable customer care is a well-known example. Their "genius bar" associates give off quiet confidence in their ability to help, they exude patience with customers, and they demonstrate an enthusiasm for the products that is infectious. Build your team’s confidence and knowledge by supporting tools like a knowledge base, internal communication, and continuing ed to provide the best information to customers.
Building a Comprehensive Knowledge Base
When a customer calls with a problem, they should get the same, complete answer from any member of your team that they speak with. To make sure your team knows the necessary information and has a simple way to find answers to questions, there needs to be a single source from which they can pull these consistent answers.
Create a centralized guide covering these products, services, policies, and FAQs with knowledge base software like Zendesk Guide, Confluence, or Helpjuice. Team members should be able to quickly navigate these guides to track down information while communicating with customers.
An intuitive knowledge base software should compile any information your employees need to reference when working with customers. You can create hub pages for each important topic. For example, you might create a page labeled "Sales Tax." This page may contain:
How to calculate sales tax
When to collect sales tax
Links to pages for each state where you do business with their sales tax policies
Be sure to regularly update the knowledge base with new information and give your team time to get familiar with each update.
Enhancing Internal Communications
There’s nothing like a work buddy you can ask important questions. Your team can support each other’s knowledge growth and accuracy by setting up digital chats or email procedures to get information in real-time. When your team can collaborate to provide up-to-date, correct information, everyone benefits.
Make this communication simple by using messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams. In team chats, designate channels for certain topics to make it easy for employees to find information. You may keep one channel exclusively for custom order discussions, for example, and another for missing package information.
Slack offers tutorials on how to set up these types of organizational channels. Its main goals are:
Keep topics located in one place
Provide essential information
Connect the necessary team members so they can refer to each other
Fostering Continuous Learning
Encourage your team to pursue self-learning and stay informed about industry trends to stay ahead of the curve in your field. As the representatives of your company that have the most direct contact with clients, your customer support team should feel like experts in their area of focus.
Your business field evolves constantly. Give your team members access to industry publications, newsletters, or online resources through professional subscriptions or membership to stay up-to-date with news relevant to your customers. Consider subscribing to the Harvard Business Review or providing access to courses from the American Marketing Association for marketing professionals.
Your team's education is worthy of investment because their continuous growth benefits your company. Employees should have the chance to continue their education by taking courses or reviewing publications relevant to developments in their field. You can support this by offering paid time for learning or providing educational resources at no cost.
5. Exceeding Customer Expectations
Customer care isn’t just about solving problems. It’s also about WOW-ing your customers. When you go the extra mile and exceed expectations, you're creating trust with your customers that may lead to a long-term relationship.
Surprise and delight tactics
Customers appreciate perks such as discounts, personalized notes, or freebies. Chewy, the pet supplies website, is well-known for its customer care practices. Among speedy customer service and attractive shipping costs, Chewy stands out for the personal touch it provides in birthday cards and condolence cards for you and your pets.
Use pre-built e-commerce platforms to track any discounts or freebies provided to customers. Document customer information in a CRM platform to collect information such as customer birthdays, which provides an opportunity to send these surprises. Food sites may include "freebie" samples of their products with large orders, which is a nice treat for customers and a great marketing tool for new products.
Your customers are more than selling opportunities. Engagement away from the checkout cart makes real relationships with your consumer base. Participate in community events, forums, or social media groups within your industry.
Social media is one of the best customer service tools for engaging the community. These communication-focused spaces are often the right place for non-sales posts, such as a toy company sharing fun posts about activities to do with your toddler that subtly complement their toy product line. When you provide content and information with no strings attached, you position your company as a trustworthy expert.
Hold community events that help make connections, such as when Petco engages customers by hosting pet adoption events. While they may not profit directly from hosting the event, they support their local community of pet owners, earn trust, and take advantage of an opportunity to let customers see their products.
Ready to Win Hearts? Start Implementing These Best Practices Today!
At One Park Financial, we work hard to provide the kind of customer service best practices our clients love. When you're applying for funding with us, you can count on a personalized, knowledgeable experience from start to finish. If you've been in business for at least three months and bring in at least $7,500 in monthly revenue, partner with us to fund your growth. Start today by getting pre-qualified, and reach out to our customer support team with any questions.
Disclaimer: The content of this post has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult with your tax, legal, and accounting advisor before engaging in any transaction.