Businesses can’t afford to underestimate the influence that customer service has on their bottom line. One nearly certain way to lose customers is to make them wait too long.
Polls have shown that more than 80 percent of customers have left a business because of long waits. The amount of time a customer has to wait is a primary driver of customer satisfaction and should be at the top of your list when assessing how your business can better serve consumers.
One survey also showed that bad customer experiences tend to have a ripple effect. That’s because customers who perceive negative service not only won’t spend money at a business again, they are likely to tell others about their experience. At a time where shopping research takes place online and people are engaged in social networks to share and collect ideas, businesses risk losing potential customers before they ever set foot in their stores or offices.
Knowing that customer service is one of the best routes to a healthy bottom line, here is a list of steps to take that will help improve your customer-satisfaction ratings:
By dealing with the public, executives cement relationships with customers or clients and let employees know that service is honorable and rewarding.
2. Survey customers and give immediate feedback. A customer satisfaction survey can establish performance benchmarks, build relationships, identify customers your business might lose and can be a catalyst for enhancing overall satisfaction. Surveys should be short, taking no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Ask concise rather than open ended questions and mix topics to force continual thinking about different subjects.
When you get enough results and spot trends, let your employees know. And make sure to tell staff members quickly when the company hears comments about problems or positive results. This allows employees to make the connection between their behavior and customer attitudes toward the company. A quick response to customers shows them that your organization
cares and rewards them for taking the time to speak up.
3. Hire people who have a service attitude. Some people simply enjoy serving others and that dominates their personalities. These individuals make the best salespeople and customer service representatives. They present a good image for your business and help your enterprise grow.
4. Cultivate service heroes. Your company’s staff and management meetings should regularly feature examples of outstanding customer service. Public praise creates heroes and encourages excellence. Give employees the power to do whatever has to be done to make a customer’s experience pleasant. There will be occasional failures but use those as opportunities to find new strategies. When employees exceed customer service expectations, reward them.
5. Devote as much time to service training as technical and procedural training. Getting the job done right technically doesn’t count if a customer’s perception is it was not handled correctly. If customers feel they received poor service, they did receive poor service. Your employees represent your company and your brand. Working with customers is the most important thing they do. Give them the tools with sufficient training. Never let untrained employees have customer contact.
6. Make customers and clients believe they are your company’s only concern. Let your clientele think you have all the time in the world — even when you don’t. A relaxed tone of voice and patience go a long way toward keeping customers satisfied, even if they don’t get what they want. Take complaints seriously — people don’t care if you’ve heard the problem before, they want a representative’s complete attention. Studies have shown that as many as 90 percent of customers whose complaints are resolved will purchase again.
Final Thought: Always say “thank you.” A good rule of thumb is to end every interaction with words of appreciation. Even when customers complain, customer service representatives can thank them for bringing the problem to the company’s attention.