4 Ways to Bring Back Excellent Customer Service
Do you want your business to see return customers, receive positive referrals, and glowing online reviews?
Running a smooth business is more of a balancing act than ever before. It seems every business is having to do more with less in the wake of COVID, rising inflation, supply chain challenges, and more - making it difficult to maintain or achieve a high level of customer service.
And since COVID began, customers’ experiences seem to have reached an all-time low. They are paying more but getting less. Many businesses chose to tell customers to “be patient” due to being short staffed and wait times skyrocketed. Yet now that things are opening back up, and staffing levels are starting to increase some businesses still choose to blame their poor customer service on COVID.
NOT SO FAST…
While the goal of any business is to make a sale, some businesses seem to have forgotten that it isn’t a transaction, it’s the experience leading up to and following the transaction that matters. It matters just as much if not more than the product and service itself. WHY – because at the core we are human, and we all want to feel good by being treated kindly and with respect.
So how can your business provide stellar customer service when resources are limited?
Through proper training of staff. When your staff are not trained well, they will miss opportunities to make your customers feel engaged with in a positive way throughout the sales process. When your staff are trained well, they will view and understand that they can positively impact any customer engagement or interaction even if they are busy with a heavier workload. The quality of that interaction and how your team make that person feel makes a key difference!
Make the most of it – your staff should be trained to make sure each person has a positive experience, even if the circumstance my sway towards the negative.
Train your staff to:
1. “Kill them with kindness.” A friendly greeting when a customer walks through the door or flash of a smile is the easiest way to create a positive experience. This even works if a customer has been waiting a long time or if there was a problem with their order. Apologizing works even better! And yes, a smile can be detected over a phone call. If the interaction is being done through email, select your words carefully and read your message out loud before hitting “send.” 2. Communicate expectations in advance. Use opportunities to communicate in advance (like sending a welcome email) on what the customer can expect. This prepares them to understand what their experience might be like ahead of time resolving issues before the come up.
3. Give extra attention to the details. This is one time when it’s okay to “sweat the small stuff”. Look for easy, detailed ways you and your team can elevate the customer experience. A simple example: Say you are a restaurant owner. Train your servers to automatically ask if cream and sugar/sweetener is wanted with every coffee order – versus not asking, which would mean the customer must make the request and could lead to extra trips to the table, or worse cold coffee! 4. Respond as quickly as possible. One of the biggest reasons customers stop patronizing businesses is because of long wait times. One large cable provider recently implemented “checking back” every 5 minutes on a call where the customer is holding for extended periods of time. A simple acknowledgement of a customer’s patience will do wonders. And even better if your staff can respond in a reasonable time. BONUS TIP: Invest in an ongoing customer service training program for your teams – it’s worth the investment.