We’ve all had bad experiences with brands: we’ve been ignored in-store, struggled to navigate poorly designed websites, and received a bad attitude on the phone or no response at all. And the one thing that unites them all is this – a customer never forgets.
Truly excellent customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought – it should span all aspects of your business, from your social media to your one-to-one interactions. And the best way to make sure all customers get equal (and excellent!) treatment is to keep it real – and by real, we mean human.
The personal, human touch is what elevates customer service from good to great. Here’s a few ways you can make it happen:
1. Be surrounded by the right people
The right team will often be a winning factor in offering the best level of support. Finding team members who love what you do (as much as you do) and love helping people can really make a huge difference. But don’t just reserve these qualities for customer-facing roles: every person in your company should want to help the customers.
2. Be flexible
As a business owner, you’ll have more flexibility to offer customised solutions when things go wrong. In essence: one size usually doesn’t fit all! It’s often useful to have any money-back commitments in place for your customer – nobody likes having to use their magnifying glass to read the small print.
Similarly, if a customer is having trouble with your website, or issues with your email communication, don’t disregard their problem as a one off – take the time to investigate.
3. Be available 24/7/365
Nobody likes being ignored, or in the position where they can’t get hold of someone. Make sure your customers always have an option to seek help when they need or want to. Sometimes FAQs and emails will do the job – but you should consider that these aren’t always enough! If you were in a shop, you’d expect to be able to find help (from a real human being) very quickly – so make sure your website is the same: a contact number should be easy to find, and a human voice at the end of it is much better than a robot.
4. Be in a relationship
Make every attempt to get to know your customers. Build a relationship in order to understand what they like (and dislike!), what they want more of and ultimately where they think you can improve. Drawing them into the ‘decision making’ of the company - with questions on social media, for example - ensures they’re involved. A customer who has a relationship with your brand is much more likely to keep coming back, and valuing their opinion shows them that they matter to you.
5. Be your brand
How you interact with your customers will (and should!) vary from platform to platform – your emails will be longer and more detailed than your tweets, for example – but by making sure that the tone of voice is aligned with your brand, the customer will come away with the same positive feeling about your company, no matter where or how they experience it. Then, continue this with one-to-one customer contact, like phone calls and meetings.
6. Be surprising and delightful!
Who doesn’t love getting a surprise? Most people love receiving those special little touches – the ones that make you smile. How can you personalise your service? Little things like adding a handwritten note to follow up a confirmation email will help you stand out.
Yes, technological advances are moving us on in leaps and bounds, making it all too easy for businesses to lose the human touch. But if you implement these ideas, you’ll hopefully find it easier to ensure you keep your customers happy, engaged and most importantly – coming back.
Paul Lewis is director of marketing at MOO.COM.