July 7, 2023 — It’s no surprise that customer service is an integral part of running a successful business. And when it comes to choosing a brand, 95% of consumers indicate that customer service is essential in their decision-making.
Excellent customer service leads to satisfied customers, which then turns into referrals. On average, referral consumers have a 16% higher lifetime value than those who haven’t heard about a business prior to their first interaction.
On the flip side, poor customer service is often the end of business-customer relationships. Nearly 71% of consumers report that they’ve ended their relationship with a business because they found the level of customer service lacking.
Engaging new customers and retaining their business is good for your bottom line, but the relationships you create are equally rewarding. Here are five different ways you can improve your customer service.
1. Review Your Reviews
If you solicit reviews on platforms like Yelp! or Google (or even customer comment cards), make an effort to read them. Look for recurring issues that are mentioned in multiple reviews. If a theme begins to develop, it’s likely an indicator that something needs to be addressed.
When you make a visible effort to rectify wrongs, customers notice, and the actions you take often outweigh the impact of the negative experience. However, keep in mind that not every review will be accurate—both pleased and disgruntled customers sometimes exaggerate the details of their interactions.
2. Preach Your Value
Customers need to know the value of what you sell because the price is one of the first things they gauge in their experience. If your product or services are perceived as overpriced, ensure customers understand what goes into producing what you sell. On the flip side, don’t undersell yourself to gain favor with customers. It’s tough to reverse course without leaving negative impressions.
If customers ask for discounts, use your discretion and remember it’s okay to say no when the situation warrants. Turning down a request for an unadvertised discount may seem counterintuitive. However, sticking to your outlined policies is critical in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your customer.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Personal
Using templated or “cookie-cutter” responses on social and online review platforms is a great way to keep up with demand; however, be mindful that too many canned responses can have a negative effect. Simple gestures such as referring to your customers by name or sending handwritten notes make a huge difference. These little details remind your customers that they are more than just dollar signs and that you appreciate them and their loyalty to your brand.
You can take it a step further by giving your customers unexpected discounts or gifts around the holidays, birthdays, or even when it’s not expected. They don’t need to be expensive or flashy—it’s the gesture that counts.
4. Keep Your Employees Motivated
In many cases, you won’t be the first point of contact with your customer. Whether you have a team dedicated exclusively to handling customer service or just a few individuals, keeping your employees motivated will help them generate positive customer experiences.
One easy way to motivate your employees is to demonstrate your appreciation for them. By recognizing their day-to-day efforts and shining the spotlight on exceptional examples of customer service, you’ll reinforce their confidence and empower them to keep up the excellent work.
If an interaction between an employee and a customer doesn’t make the grade, one-on-one coaching shows you’re invested in them, which can be highly motivating. To get the best results, keep these coaching sessions constructive and identify specific elements of the interaction that need improvement.
5. Make a Game of It
If you’re looking to add a fun wrinkle to the process, consider customer service training games you can implement quickly. Games make learning engaging, and there’s no shortage of options to choose from.
A piece from the online resource Hiver can get you started with 10 Brilliant Customer Service Training Games you can begin to play immediately. They cover a wide range of concepts, from basic customer service practices to higher critical thinking.
You can even play games that put demanding customers into perspective and provide tools that employees can practice to help diffuse situations and turn negatives into positives.
No matter what business you’re in or who you serve, customer service will always be part of the equation. Making the most of each interaction can help you retain good customers and enhance your bottom line.