Whether you own a massive wholesale operation or a little B2C outfit, customer service is critical to your success. And we’re not just talking about any style of customer service – you need to offer your customers the very best.
You may think:
“Hey, I respond to my customers’ questions on social media, so my customer service is spot-on!”
But sorry to say it, there is so much more involved that you must start taking into consideration.
After all, 70% of consumers spend more money with a brand that offers high-quality customer service. That means that by simply tweaking your team’s customer service skills, 70% of your customers will shop with you again. And you probably already know how crucial customer retention is.
So how do you start providing top-notch customer service?
By following our seven keys to improving your team’s customer service skills, of course.
1. Choose the Best Customer Service Options
There are many types of customer service you can offer your customers. And understanding your options is the initial step in honing your company’s customer service skills.
First of all, you have to choose between your team’s location, either in-house or outsourcing your customer service.
It may make more sense for a massive, global business to outsource their customer service to a team that’s available 24/7. On the other hand, small businesses can probably get away with an in-house customer service team.
Your choice should depend on your business needs, when and how your customers contact you, and your budget.
You also need to decide how your customers can contact your team, as in via email, phone, social media, or chatbot.
If your business caters to an older crowd, it will make more sense to use more traditional options, such as phone and email. Conversely, millennial and younger target customers prefer social media and live chatbot options.
Make sure you choose the types that make sense for your business structure and your target customers. And the more options, the better! Your customers will have more ways to contact you that suit their needs.
2. Train Your Customer Service Team Well
Improving your team’s customer service skills starts with training.
They need to know the ins and outs of your business and every feature of your products or services in order to address any issues customers will have. If your team cannot successfully convey these to your customers, they will lose all faith in your team — and worse — your business.
Your team should also be well versed in the returns and refunds policy, as they will likely crop up regularly.
Training your team is easier done with an in-house team than an outsourced team, as you can guide them in the moment when needed.
And don’t forget, customer service is a journey. You will need to keep your team trained as your business grows.
3. Get Proactive
You should have a marketing system in place that helps you keep in touch with your customers. But it doesn’t need to be crazy difficult!
If you use an email marketing app, such as MailerLite or Omnisend, you can build targeted emails on autopilot.
These ensure you never forget to check in with a customer post-purchase to gather feedback.
4. Be Adaptable
You need to ensure your customer service team is adaptable.
No two customers are alike, and no two issues will ever be the exact same, so your team needs to learn to roll with the punches.
Your customer service team members need to word things carefully, depending on the customer’s needs. They should only use humor or a light-hearted tone when appropriate.
5. Admit Your Mistakes
There will undoubtedly be times when a customer service error occurs, and your business is at fault.
That’s okay! You will recover. The first step is to train your team to know when and how to admit fault and take any steps necessary to repair the relationship with that customer.
Make sure your team always offers an admission of guilt to your customers, followed by a sincere apology.
After that, it is necessary to correct the wrong by offering a refund, credit, a new product, or whatever is appropriate for the situation.
Admitting a mistake is a personal touch that can help nurture your customer relationships.
6. Learn From Your Customers
Customers are going to share their good and bad experiences with you, pleasantly or not.
Take any opportunity a customer provides and learn from it.
What aspect of your business operations did the customer adore or loathe?
When you learn from your customers’ experiences, you can make business changes that cut back on the need for customer service in the first place.
Listening to your customers and making their time with your business as smooth as possible can prevent upsets. Saving you from reputation damage and costly refunds.
7. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
Like other aspects of your business, your customer service strategy will evolve as your business grows.
But no matter what changes in terms of how you communicate with customers or the type of services you offer, your team must stay consistent.
It won’t help your business or your customers if your approach is friendly at times and not so much at others.
It’s always best to be consistent with what you offer customers when they’re displeased with a product or service.
Be sure to train your team well in this aspect. If you offer every customer the same level of respect, consideration, and cooperation, consistency will never be an issue.
No matter the size of your business or the goods or services you offer, you cannot flake on customer service! It is how you establish your brand’s identity and keep customers.
And while it takes a bit of work, it is so worth it.
All you really need to do is use our seven keys to unlock your customer service team’s potential and improve their skills.
Elaine Chavez is the Business Manager at 625 Broadway. With over eight years of experience in the industry, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. Elaine is passionate about helping people find the perfect place to call home and shines at building a community that everyone is proud to be a part of.