Each year, it is estimated that American businesses lose over $41 million due to inadequate customer service.
If customers aren’t happy with a particular company or product, they take their business elsewhere. It may not be even the fact that the product doesn’t work as advertised or promised, but more about the people they encounter when purchasing or seeking support for a product.
With the competition out there and consumer access to products and services from all over the world, on everything from computer parts and purses to clothing and even intangible ones like legal consulting, dog training, exercising and shoulder workouts, happy customers mean a successful business.
Not only do satisfied customers continue to purchase products or services, but they will also be instrumental in promoting your business or product to other people.
So, how can you ensure that your employees are providing the best customer service?
Hire the right employees
If you are committed to providing superior customer service then you need the right employees. Not only employees who are capable of giving customers a positive experience with your company, but who are also able to deliver results in terms of customer engagement.
You need to establish a company culture of treating customers with respect and with people who work well together.
Customers like dealing with people, not machines. They like to know that their concerns and needs are being listened to and that whoever they talk to will be able to solve their problem and will not just follow a script.
Your employees need to be able to solve not only the specific problem a customer might be calling about, but also have the insight to look beyond and solve an underlying problem which will ultimately be of more help or save the customer money.
The people you choose for this kind of direct-with-the-public role will be the drivers of your company’s culture, a culture that needs to be felt by your customers.
Effective employee management
Of course, this culture is not only acted out by those who have direct interaction with customers, but also management. It’s up to management to train employees and keep employees motivated.
When a company takes care of their employees, their employees will take care of the customers.
If you don’t give your employees opportunities to develop through good coaching or putting them in roles that challenge them and allows them to grow and become better employees, you won’t be able to keep your employees engaged, working at their best and representing your company well.
Negative employee attitude has a direct effect on the relationships they’re able to build with customers.
One of the ways management can do this is by holding periodic review of employees, ideally every three months.
These discussions are a chance to address any concerns the employee might have or the management might have, a chance to provide education and advice on how to deal with particular customer service scenarios, and an opportunity to demonstrate to the employee that you want to see them succeed as much as you want to see the company succeed.
Customers want to deal with real people, people who understand and speak their language, and who will listen to what they have to say and find a way to solve their problem. They want to deal with a people who know what they’re talking about and who know the products or services they provide. This all comes from having the right team in place who are trained properly and are kept motivated by management that’s involved in the process.
This is especially important for businesses in industries requiring technial knowledge - think of programming, or penny stocks trading for instance. Customer service would definitely fail if such businesses do not adequately and continuouly train their employees in the techncal aspects of the services.
That’s when customer service will turn into business success.