As the Director of Customer Care here at NetSource, I’m hyperaware of customer service experiences I have with our business vendors and in my personal life, whether positive or negative. In most negative situations, there is a simple and free way to improve. Many of the tips below are based on experiences I’ve had as a customer. Take a look at these simple ways to help your team improve your customers’ experiences.
- Don’t give the run around. How many times have you called customer support only to be transferred multiple times and have to start all over with your story with each new person? That’s the worst! You don’t like it, so don’t do it to your customers. If you take a call that needs to be transferred to another department, tell the person you’re sending the call to everything you know. Send the call to the right place to eliminate the number of times your customer is on hold. Not only does this create a better experience for your customer, it saves time for your company. More efficient calls equals less support time.
- Extra pointers: When a call is transferred to you, use the person’s name when you answer if you’re able. Our receptionist is great about telling me who is on hold, so when I answer I can say “Hi Susan! How are you?” instead of “This is Melissa, how can I help you?” It’s a small touch that makes a difference. Also, smile while you’re talking! A smile can be heard over the phone. =)
- Follow up. If you helped a customer with something, take a minute to check in later and see how your suggestion worked out for them. They’ll be pleasantly surprised that you took time out to follow up with them when you’ve already met their expectation. In general, customer service is so poor these days that little touches like this set you apart from the competition.
- Pay attention to reviews. Most businesses are going to have a less than stellar review now and again. But, if you’re getting several bad reviews that have things in common, chances are you need improvement in those areas. Discuss the issues with your team and come up with a plan to correct the problems. Set a date to check back in to monitor the progress.
- Extra pointer: Respond to reviews, good or bad. If it’s good, thank the reviewer for their business and the review. If it’s bad, apologize and offer to make it right. You may win back that customer’s support, and other potential customers will see that you take customer service seriously. Occasionally, there may be a situation that you’ve already tried to resolve before it hit an online review. If this is the case, there may not be a productive reply. In this situation, or one in which someone wants to get into an argument, just let it go.
- Be proactive. Knowing your customer and being able to anticipate their needs is a huge win for both of you. For example, NetSource is a website development and online marketing company. When there are new developments in our area of expertise, we contact the clients that would benefit from it. This gives them the opportunity to increase sales via additional marketing and opens up a new revenue stream for us. Win-win.
- Use their time wisely. If the customer has contacted you for support, it’s most likely because they can’t complete their tasks until you help them. Make your best effort to resolve their issues as quickly as you can. And make sure you tell them it’s done! You don’t want to hustle to get it fixed just to have them wait for a reply.
Certainly, there are more than just 5 ways to improve customer service, but these are a good start. Comment with your best tip below.