Customer service is the one thing you either love or hate about your favorite retail outlet.
Sadly, with pressure from the top of the business pyramid constantly pushing for improved profits, the one department that represents the face of the company tends to slide off the radar.
Many corporations do not focus on the development of a skilled customer service department like they do on making money, despite being closely linked together.
A good customer service department can retain business by dealing with situations that arise and work towards positive outcomes.
This article will showcase three strategies for keeping your business focused on customer service.
1. View Service as a Product
The average consumer has limited, if any, knowledge of the technical aspects of the item they are purchasing.
Examples of these kinds of products include computer software, computers, handheld devices, electronics, automobiles and an endless supply of home appliances.
That is not to say that many informed consumers aren’t aware of what they are getting when they purchase something that requires a basic knowledge that falls outside of their purview.
This is where customer service can put their fear to rest by informing them that the product they are purchasing comes with complete customer service and support should something not work as it should.
Customer service is“selling” the customer on a product they have already purchased but packaging it as an additional deliverable and emphasizing the value of that bonus.
2. Improve Communication
It isn’t always easy to convince customers that should something go wrong with their purchase, they can quickly reach a customer service representative to talk to 24/7.
It’s because this kind of customer service is an outsourced call center that simply receives and records calls. No onsite personnel understand how to fix your problem other than to say that they will request that a technical service representative call you back the next day.
If your business truly embraces customer service and strives to provide clients with the best possible solution, you would be focusing on live chat. You’ve seen it online in any number of formats.
Generally, a dialogue box appears with a direct link to a live person within the customer service department of the company website you’reviewing.
The beauty of the live chat option is that your problem gets resolved quickly and efficiently. You have a text conversation that often leads to a resolution that is favorable for you.
There are several live chat platforms already in use and each has advantages and disadvantages. You need to identify the perfect fit for your business’ needs.
3. Build a Reputation of Reliability
One of the simplest goals for any business to strive toward reaching is becoming a reliable choice for your customers. In this case, reliability starts with the nature of the business you are in and moves to the message your business projects throughout its branding and marketing.
There is also the reliability of the actual stock inventory. Has the widget that you ran out of stock on a few days ago been replaced yet or not? Has someone placed an order? Next, we have the reliability of the staff working for you.
Each department must function independently of each other, but still work together to achieve your company’s primary objective. How reliable is the staff interaction with customers and clients?
The last piece of the reliability puzzle is what your customers think and feel about you, your company, your staff and your products. It is a tall order, but worth it in the long run.
4. Customer Service is Vital to your Business
While it is not easy to understand at the corporate level, without customers you would be out of business. For this reason, a focus on customer service can keep your business afloat; however, you must have more than an automated answering service or offshore call center fielding the after-hours phone calls.
To keep customer service levels high, you must have a service strategy in place that provides directions to follow when developing customer service.
All policies and procedures should be customer-orientated. Work flow should be related to reliable delivery of goods with training and skills for your customer service department to deal with unexpected problems as they develop.
The strategy must include the wants and needs of your customers throughout the entire process.
You can’t say that your business is listening to your customers if you don’t communicate with them. There are many methods for doing this and live chat is the most reliable.
Your customer base will shrink and disappear without a concentrated focus on customer service. You must show genuine concern about the people who support your business to maintain that support.
This addresses everything from inventory control to problem resolution by staff and suppliers. The competitive nature of the internet has resulted in a renewed importance for customer service.