What is customer service? Is it standing at a counter while the clerk takes their time to acknowledge your presence? Is it calling a vendor multiple times and getting a different answer each time you speak with a representative? What about waiting for the return phone call from a business that never happens?
We have limited time at our disposal, so do our clients and prospects. Why would any company make it less than desirable to do business with them? Why would any company make it easy to switch to their competitors? Surprisingly, customer service – that is, exceptional customer service – is not so easy to find. Why this is the case is not as important as determining where you and your company are in terms of your current level of customer service. Asking for feedback from your clients and staff is a great place to start. Here is a list of questions to help begin taking inventory:
- How is your company’s phone etiquette?
- What is the current response time to emails and phone calls?
- How are clients shown appreciation for continued patronage?
- Is there consistency with policies and procedures as it relates to working with each customer? In other words, is the message the same no matter who the customer speaks with?
- Are projects typically on schedule or do delays occur? How does this impact the client?
- How are complaints handled?
- Is it easy to reach a “live” person when a prospect or client calls?
It doesn’t matter the size of your company, but the quality of each individual contact does. Make it easy for clients to stay, don’t provide reasons to take their business elsewhere. Reward customers that give repeat business. Do something that shows them you appreciate their loyalty, but make it personal. Businesses that go out of their way to make a client or prospect feel valued have elevated their image in that person’s mind. People love to share great customer service experiences on social media. According to Visual.ly “81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs,” and “61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.” Also, HubSpot reported that consumers are “71% more likely to purchase based on social media referrals.” With these staggering statistics, what business can afford to ignore the lasting negative effects associated with poor customer service? Going from good to exceptional service can be priceless in terms of advertising.
Keep it personal.
Sr. Marketing Manager