The Value of Good Customer Service
Operating a business is equal parts production and marketing. It doesn’t matter how good your products are if you can’t get people to buy them, and it doesn’t matter how effective you are in sales if you don’t have anything good to offer.
Let’s work under the assumption that you already have top-notch goods and services. Your next step is to get them into the hands of the people who want them. So you develop a branding campaign, build an image, and assemble an advertising strategy. Your social media starts to light up. The buzz is building, and the orders start to come in.
Now your people are on the line. As they start to interact with your potential customers, will they hold up their end of the bargain as your other staff has done, or will they drop the ball and undermine everything that’s been accomplished?
Here’s how customer service can be the difference.
Treat Customer Service as a Skill
Because it is! It is so much more than simply answering a phone or replying to an email. Training people on how to improve customer service skills is just as important as training them on how to make new products. When you make customer service a priority and consider it a marketable skill, you’ll see much better results.
When this is overlooked, problems result. Too many companies think of customer service as an afterthought, a catch-all for workers who might not be qualified to do anything else, or who haven’t been able to catch on in other assignments. When those workers land in customer service, they are in a critical position that can easily make customers feel undervalued and underappreciated, and those customers will soon go elsewhere.
Stay Engaged or Be Forgotten
Some products are daily purchases, but others are more sporadic. Good customer service can make your customers remember you when your next opportunity for a sale arrives.
Social media is a great way to keep in contact with your customers. Be vigilant with your pages and respond quickly to questions or complaints. Make sure that customers know you care about them. That will spur them to return when they’re ready to shop again.
Conversely, a company that doesn’t take action to be remembered can only expect to be forgotten. Most consumers are savvy enough with search engines to track down goods they’ve previously bought without knowing brand names–unless their brand isn’t online. If they do find you but you fail to respond, they’ll return to their search and find your competitor.
Give Them Autonomy
Have you ever had a customer service experience of your own that required the representative to contact a supervisor, get clearance from another department, or otherwise pass the buck? The experience likely left you frustrated and undoubtedly took much longer than you wanted. That is emblematic of the most common problems in customer service today. If you don’t give your CSR’s the power to take action, your customers will have that exact same experience. They’ll be on the line for too long (increasing your costs, by the way), and they’ll feel like they’re being put on trial for a simple request. On the other hand, if that initial call taker has the authority to issue refunds, correct billing errors, and address other common customer service needs, the issue will be resolved more quickly and more to the customer’s satisfaction. Whether you wholesale, retail, or work B2B, you do customer service because you have customers. Assembling a strategy to make it an asset instead of a liability will produce dividends for years to come. Be sure that you are truly providing service to those customers.