Though making sure you provide a quality product or service is a key way to keep your customers happy, one often overlooked part of maintaining a good online reputation is customer service. When you set out to serve your customers, even though a negative experience you will see a positive change in your online reputation. Here are some ways you can improve your customer service efforts.
Be Available for Your Customers
When your customers cannot get a hold of you when they need you, you are risking losing them forever. Build a customer service team that can be available whenever someone needs them. Even if your store is closed, make sure customers know how to reach you 24/7 via email, phone, or social media channels.
Reach Out to Your Customers
No one knows better what they want from your products or services than the customers themselves. Ask customers questions such as:
- What do you love about this business?
- What is one thing you wish we would change?
- What additional products or services could we offer to make your life easier?
Make it about your customer. Though you won’t be able to cater to every single whim of all your customers, watch for trends. If you find a large percentage of your customers would like you to implement a loyalty or rewards program, then do it!
Reward / Loyalty / Specials / VIP Program
Customers like to be rewarded for their loyalty. When they feel like they are going to get something extra for doing business with you, they are more likely to continue doing business with you.
The way you work your program is up to you and your budget.
- You could offer discounts to everyone for using a store card.
- You can offer special discounts to those who have spent $X over a certain period of time.
- Offer additional services/products on certain days of the week or month.
- Offer discounts for customer referrals.
While many promotions and special offers exist for “new customers only” and those work to get new people into the door, it is important not to forget the ones who stick with you over the long term.
How to Greatly Improve Customer Service
Make it Easy for Customers to Leave
While the object of business is to keep your customers, the simple fact is that your product or service just isn’t right for them. When you make it easier for your customers to cancel or leave your service, then you will have a much happier customer.
When you make it difficult for the customer to cancel the plan or leave your business, you’re not going to keep them anyway. They are just going to get increasingly frustrated. When this happens, they are that much more likely to speak negatively of your company online and to their friends and family.
Stay in Touch
After you’ve conducted the transaction or solved the customer’s issue—the relationship is not over. Staying in touch through exit surveys and other means will keep you at the forefront of the customer’s mind.
No matter how frustrating the customer may make you—be nice to them. Stay as cool, calm, and collected as possible throughout the entire thing. Offer whatever you can to pacify the customer and make the situation better. Whatever you do, do not adopt an accusatory tone.
- If the customer returns a broken product, offer a replacement or a refund.
- If the customer doesn’t like your service and wants to cancel, ask why and then allow the cancellation.
- If the customer is unhappy because your company made a mistake, fix it. Either refund the money, replace the product, etc. Then, go a step further and tell them what you’re doing to prevent the mistake from happening again and offer a discount on future purchases.