Business trends come and go, and new technologies appear every week. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of customer service. Marketing efforts will help bring new customers to the door, but great customer service will ensure that you keep them—and keep them happy. Even if you already have effective customer service practices in place, you can always find ways to improve. Here are 5 things you can do to make a difference with your customers:
1. Be Available
Do you need to host a 24/7 customer service hotline? Probably not. But you should make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you. Display your key contact information—business hours, phone number, social media channels, email address—prominently on your website and business listings to promote communication.
2. Point out Problems Early
Does a customer look unhappy with a dish they ordered, or uncertain about a purchase they’re making? Don’t wait for them to complain—ask if you can do something different then and there. Addressing a problem early is the best way to ensure that it gets resolved quickly. It also lets the customer know that you’re paying attention and care about their overall experience.
3. Resolve Issues Quickly
The best way to turn a negative customer interaction into a positive one is to handle issues quickly. If a manager is required, have them respond to escalated requests immediately. If someone asks to speak to the owner, make yourself available for a conversation. Fast, attentive service can change someone’s mind about ditching your business—92% of consumers agree.
4. Keep in Touch
Once you’ve resolved a problem, don’t let that be the last time a customer hears from you. Send a thank you note to follow up, or ask for their feedback on the customer service experience via email or a survey. Knowing that you’re continuing to think about them—and to value their input in your process—is a great way to solidify a patron’s brand loyalty.
5. Reward Great Service
While helpful and prompt customer service should be a top priority for any employee, some may need additional motivation to go the extra mile. Rewarding great customer service, either individually or as a team, can provide additional incentive for your staff to bring their A-game when helping clients.
The Bottom Line
Improving customer service leads to happier customers—and happier customers lead to better business. Repeat customers spend 67% more than first-time customers, and make larger purchases in general. Spending the time and effort needed to cultivate great customer service is an investment that will pay off in the long run for your business.