The 6 Keys to Quality Customer Service
Of the many things that can affect your business growth, there are few that have a greater impact than your ability to provide quality customer service. After all, you could have the best marketing campaign in the world, but if you have lousy customer service, those customers aren't going to stick around for the long haul.
So how can you ensure that your customer service will actually grow your business? Here are six secrets that can lead to rapid (and lasting) growth.
Deliver the basics
While going above and beyond expectations can certainly be beneficial, research published in the Harvard Business Review reveals that the best thing you can do is to competently deliver the basics.
According to the study, "Loyalty has a lot more to do with how well companies deliver on their basic, even plain-vanilla promises than on how dazzling the service experience might be. Yet most companies have failed to realize this and pay dearly in terms of wasted investments and lost customers."
Be friendly and empathetic
Far too many companies lose customers simply because they don't make friendly service a priority. According to Christina El Moussa, co-star of HGTV's "Flip or Flop" and co-founder of SuccessPath, friendliness can make a huge difference, regardless of what type of service you offer:
"When you pick a mechanic for your car, you want one who'll be able to repair and maintain your car at a decent price, but that's not all you look for. You also look for someone who's approachable and who understands that you need your car to get to and from work. In other words, you value friendliness and empathy, even when you're just getting your oil changed . . . Above all else, always be nice, and make an effort to understand and empathize with your buyers' and sellers' points of view."
Implementing a live chat feature on your website is a great way to ensure rapid contact with your customers. When done well, live chat can provide consumers a quick avenue for everything from resolving service issues to finding the product they're looking for -- especially when an actual human being is on the other end of the chat.
Live chat has been found to be surprisingly effective. A study by eMarketer found that 62 percent of site visitors who participated in a live chat "reported being more likely to purchase from the site again," while 38 percent of individuals "made their purchase due to the chat session itself." Clearly, this small addition can have a huge impact on your company growth.
Related: 25 Tips for Earning Customer Loyalty
When a customer faces a problem, they naturally want to find the fastest, simplest solution possible. The more obstacles that get thrown their way, the more likely they are to become frustrated and abandon your company.
Little things can make a big difference in reducing customer workload. Do your customers need to return an item? Provide a shipping label. Do they need to update their account to keep using your service? Send an email reminder with a direct link that takes them where they need to go. This proactive mindset can go a long way in improving customer loyalty.
A study on waiters and tipping published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology demonstrates how even tiny gifts can make a big difference, finding that: "Customers who received a small piece of chocolate along with [their] check tipped more than did customers who received no candy."
Imagine the possibilities for growth when a small perk influences whether a customer decides to make an extra purchase from your site!
Even when your customer service team is giving their best effort, you'll still likely encounter a fair share of unhappy or frustrated customers. To improve your customer service, you need to dig deep and discover why they were dissatisfied with their experience.
Post-call surveys -- whether conducted online or over the phone -- can (and should) be an opportunity to discover why an individual gave low marks regarding your customer service. When you leverage this information to make necessary improvements, you'll be better positioned to offer superior service in the future so you can retain more customers.
Perfecting your customer service offerings may require a bit of effort, but it's an investment that always pays off. As you implement these customer service secrets, you'll be able to build a loyal base of satisfied customers and grow your company like never before.