7 ways to enhance good customer service

Give your customers the opportunity to share their experiences and opinions about your business. [iStockphoto]

Positive customer service is crucial for business success.

In an increasingly competitive global economy where customers are one click away from going to a competitor, customer service can make or break a business.

Happy customers are likely to remain loyal to your business, translating into high customer retention levels and long-term business success.

In one survey, 68 per cent of the customers said they’re willing to spend more on businesses with excellent customer service.

On the other hand, 78 per cent of customers said they have ended their relationship with a business due to poor customer service.

Satisfied customers will also gladly refer other people to your business, helping bring you more high-value customers with a lower cost of acquisition.

In essence, each happy customer is a potential free brand ambassador for your business.

While it takes extra effort and resources to focus on boosting customer experience in your business, it pays off handsomely in the long run.

Here are some simple yet highly effective ways to enhance the customer experience in your small business.

Build rapport with customers

In a small business, you’re probably dealing with a small number of customers. That presents you with an opportunity to have a more personalised approach to your customers. A savvy business owner takes up this chance to know their customers by name and remember their preferences and needs.

Treat your customers like real people, not mere ticket numbers. This will help them feel appreciated and valued, translating into more customer loyalty.

Give all customers high-level service

Every customer, whether they are new or they purchase from you daily, deserves to receive quality customer service from your business. Don’t assume that newer customers are not as valuable to your business as old, loyal ones. Inconsistent customer service can lead to losing potential repeat customers and positive reviews.

It’s advisable to create a solid customer service process to guide employee interactions with clients. The process should encompass every stage of the customer life cycle – from marketing and sales to onboarding and customer retention.

Hire people with excellent people skills

Not everyone is good with people. For customer-facing roles, however, it’s important to hire employees with excellent people skills. Your customer representatives serve as the face of your company – so you have to ensure that they’re up to the task.

People in such roles should demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence, including empathy, the ability to solve problems amicably, and patience. Customers and clients are not always pleasant to deal with.

However, an employee with the right skills can turn an angry or dissatisfied customer into a loyal one with excellent customer service.

Listen closely to customer feedback

One of the best ways to improve your customer service is by listening to your customers’ feedback. What is their experience with your business? What did they like? Where do they think you can improve? What are their suggestions for improving customer service for your business?

Give your customers the opportunity to share their experiences and opinions about your business. This can be either through surveys, invitations to leave reviews on your website or social media platforms, calling the firm or chatting with them.

Pay close attention to customer feedback and act on it. For example, if there are many customers complaining about a certain aspect of your service, make the necessary changes. Let the customers know that you value their positive or negative feedback.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

Many businesses give false promises to customers in their marketing and advertising campaigns. For instance, a business might claim that they make 24/7 deliveries, only for customers to find out that they don’t really make deliveries on weekends as claimed.

Making false promises is likely to backfire on your company in the long run. After all, nobody likes being lied to. When customers realise that your promise was empty, it makes them distrustful of your business.

Instead, make promises only when you’re sure you can make good on them. Your promises should always be realistic, so set equally realistic expectations with customers. If you can’t deliver on a promise, explain to the customer why.

Focus on after-sale service

Customer service isn’t just about how a customer is treated when they’re making a purchase – it also includes after-sale service. You must have a system in place to follow up and nurture customers after checkout.

Depending on the type of business, you can send them an email to check on their experience. Do they have any questions or concerns? Address them promptly.

Implement customer loyalty programs

Remember to reward your loyal customers, which makes them even more loyal. Identify your regular customers and create a loyalty program to reward them accordingly.

For instance, customers can get a percentage off their next purchase when they share about your business on their social media pages. You can also give loyal customers early access to new products and invites to exclusive events.

The true measure of successful customer service is boosting lifetime value, not the one-time purchase.