Can you remember a time when you were impressed with the level of service you received? If so, how did it affect the chances of you doing business with that company again? The bottom line is, the quality of customer service can make or break a business. This is equally important for an entrepreneur who works from home.
There is a proven formula to providing good customer service. Many companies have some components but don't cover all the bases. In order to deliver five-star quality that gets your customers, not only to come back, but to tell their friends or family about you, you can't leave out anything. Take a look at these five key tips on customer service.
- Good listening skills: You might think that you are hearing what a client is saying, but you may not be listening. Most people do not listen as well as they think they do. Make sure that you focus on what he or she is trying to tell you. Restate what you think they said back to him or her to verify that you heard them correctly. Customers love it when they are heard and understood.
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T: That is all anyone ever wants. Listening well is a part of this, but giving customers respect goes beyond that. Don't interrupt, patronize, or ignore them. Respond promptly when they approach you (in person, on the phone, or through email). Be patient and polite. Nothing makes them more angry than being ignored, rushed, or treated rudely. They want to feel that they are worth the time and attention, or they will go elsewhere.
- Response, not reaction: We all know that customers can be upset, rude, impatient, or simply irate, sometimes. It will happen and when it does, you need to be prepared. Don't reciprocate their behavior back to them because that will only make matters worse. Use your listening skills to detect what made them upset and figure out how to fix it quickly. Normally, people will calm down if they know you are doing everything in your power to work things out. If the customer wants the impossible, on the other hand, it might be better just to let him or her walk away. However, don't say or do anything that would instigate them because that could burn your reputation. The difference between response and reaction is the thought process. Think it through before responding and don't let your reflexes get the better of you.
- Show your appreciation: Without your clients, you would not have a business. Thank them with a note, letter, an email, or on the phone. You may even offer a coupon, discount, or return gift, to show your gratitude. Whatever you do, make sure that they feel valued.
- Follow-up: The easiest type of follow-up is actually a thank-you note or an invitation to shop again. Another option is a brief customer survey. Let them know that you value their opinion, and you want to know how to improve your product or service. You can, and should, also ask about what was positive about the experience. Make sure that the survey is easy to send back (email or SASE) and that it doesn't take up too much of their time. Staying connected is the key in nurturing customer loyalty.
If you follow these tried and tested elements to every aspect of your client interaction, the business will thrive, and customers will come back for more. They will tell their friends and family about their experience too!