There’s no denying it. Customer service is the new marketing.
In this post, we’re going to look into 10 rules to follow to make sure that you and your team can provide the most excellent customer service and deliver memorable and meaningful experiences to each and every customer.
The customer service equation is simple: if you provide great service, and you do that by having great people working on your team, you will be getting wonderful reviews your business is going to grow.
When it comes to customer service we always need to remind ourselves that retaining existing customers is 5 times cheaper than acquiring new customers, and if you’re able to dig deep into customers’ lifetime value, your profits will soar.
But before getting into our top 10 list, how can we define customer service?
Well simply by saying that customer service is about what customers want and then providing it to them accurately, politely, and enthusiastically.
So let’s get started with our top 10 rules of excellent customer service.
Seek Customer Service Heroes
The starting point to delivering exceptional customer service relates to attracting, selecting, and retaining the right talents. It’s important to invest time in finding people who are naturally inclined and highly motivated to be involved with customer service.
As a manager, you should invest time and energy into screening and selecting the very best candidates who are perfect for the job. At the same time, if you realize that a resource is better employed in a division that is not client-facing, then the decision to get someone off the team is just as important.
Being in customer service requires a unique character and it’s important to set high standards when it comes to recruitment.
In Customer Service, You Need to Treat Customers As If They’re a Close Acquaintance
The type of relationship that your customer service is able to foster with your clients is essential to deliver a unique experience to each and every person who comes in contact with your business.
The relationship developed through customer service is essential to your brand and this is why, as we’ve seen in #1, choosing the right staff really pays off in terms of creating this connection.
Customer service assistants need to be instantaneous empathetic and deliver energy at every exchange, just like when you’re meeting a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.
Be Very Clear About What Working in Customer Service Entails
Customer service is not a job that can come solely with a job description.
Understanding how you can help customers and explaining to new recruits how at times customer service needs to go above and beyond to make a client’s day cannot be easily written down on paper.
At the same time, there are standards of service that need to be thoroughly understood. In this sense, it’s very important to hold a meeting with your staff and explain what are all of the standard processes to follow when your staff needs to deal with expected or unexpected issues.
By providing clear guidelines you are making sure that everybody is on the same page when it comes to helping your customers.
Being thorough in terms of what you expect from your team helps you to be clear regarding the spirit and culture of your customer service and helps your team to understand what is expected of them.
Always Be Learning
Just like we try to continuously improve operations, we should also make sure our staff is always up to date when it comes to learning and training opportunities.
Training your staff does not only allow for higher retention but also allows you to professionally develop your staff so that they be taking new positions of mentorship and leadership towards other employees.
There’s Always Room for Improvement
Speaking of improvement you should always be thinking about the way in which your operations can be improved.
Using the concept of the Japanese Kaizen, we don’t have to think about improvement as something that necessarily takes huge leaps. On the contrary, continuous improvement suggests how in reality, any 1% of incremental improvement will, over time, lead to better quality service.
Build Trust And Empower Your Team
As your business grows as a result of your great customer service, you may need to scale your team. This can allow you to promote and support all of your customer service heroes. Empowering your team and show how much you are trusting them to make decisions is a powerful tool. It will allow you to build a healthy and happy company culture that will support the business through any hardship.
Consider the Lifetime Value of Customers
Whenever you are feeling unsure about how much money and time to dedicate to customer service, what you can do is reminding yourself that by providing excellent customer service you’ll be able to tap into your customer’s lifetime value.
A mainstream supermarket chain realized that the lifetime value of each of their customers is as high as 120,000 euros. This is just another figure to bear in mind as you focus your energies on making your product or service as memorable and enjoyable as you possibly can.
Always Reward Outstanding Performance
Given the relevance of customer service, it’s only fair that you are in the habit of rewarding performance.
Providing an employee of the month award, or an excellent service badge helps your employees feel appreciated and valued.
Giving awards is also a great tool for you to use to reinforce the right attitudes and behaviors in customer service, praising - in public - anybody who is displaying an ability to go above and beyond expectations when it comes to solving your costumes’ problems.
You’re Only Good As Your Weakest Link
Your customer service is only as good as your weakest link.
The weakest link can be identified in a particular experience of brand touchpoint which is likely to cause trouble and spread drama among your customers.
To avoid leaving weak spots it’s essential to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand how your company interacts with him\her at every step of their purchase decision or experience.
By looking at all of the different interactions that take place between you and your customer you’ll be charting a customer journey map and you’ll be better able to spot areas of potential improvement.
If you’d like to read up more on how to map your customers’ journey, here’s an article where we discuss this in further detail.
The First Few Minutes Are What Makes the Experience
Despite all of what we have said, sometimes dealing with customers is very challenging and tiring. This is why it may be helpful to think about the 3-minute rule.
Most interactions with your customers will last for 3 minutes or less. When addressing a challenging moment, try to remember how in fact the effort you need to put into your next customer meeting may only have to last for three minutes, after which the matter will be likely to be resolved.
There you have it. If you’d like to read up more about business management, don’t hesitate to explore our blog, where you can find a wealth of free resources on customer service, brand experiences, and much more.
For instance, in this post, we discuss the importance of your employer’s brand equity as a means to attract, select and retain the best talent for your company. Enjoy!