What is the most important thing you can do to improve relationships with your customers? The answer is as obvious as it is overlooked: improve customer service. No matter how great your product is or how talented your staff is, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company.
Bottom line, your customer service team is often the face of your company, and customers’ experiences will be defined by the skill and quality of the support they receive.
A strong company will already have great customer relationships. But a smart company will always be asking “What is good customer service?” Good customer service centers around carefully listening and attending to your customers’ needs and desires. If you are not constantly on the lookout for opportunities to improve your customer service, then your relationships will stagnate.
Want to measure the quality of your service throughout the customer journey? Learn how with our “Ultimate guide to collecting customer feedback using surveys.”
Here are a few customer service tips for identifying ways to better serve customers:
First, it’s important to make sure that your customer service team has the right skills for your managing customers’ needs. No amount of CRM software can compensate for shortcomings in this area. But what skills should you be looking for in a customer service rep?
Not sure if your reps have the right customer service skills? Survey or interview your customers to understand whether your service team is showing each of these traits. Running a customer feedback survey through your CRM program, at the point of sale, or when you send customers an invoice is a great way to see where your team’s skills do and don’t measure up.
A bad customer experience at any point in the customer lifecycle can ruin your relationship. In addition to making sure the right skills are demonstrated, you need to be sure they’re being demonstrated consistently. Pay the most attention to key touchpoints, but make sure you have a full view of the customer experience, or you risk lapses in service that can really hurt business.
If your staff has the necessary skill set, that’s a good start. But they still need to relate to your customers. Here are some tips for making sure customer service is both thorough and well received:
Your staff may have the skills and know-how to interact with your customers. But what organizational strategies can you employ to please customers? Practice proactive customer service by making your customers happy before they come to you with problems. Here’s how:
You can have the best customer service skills and the best training in the world, but if your reps are checked out, it won’t matter at all. Improving employee engagement is another way to make sure customers have a great experience. Dissatisfied employees are unlikely to come forward with their problems, so consider an anonymous suggestion box or an employee engagement survey to see what makes your employees tick.
You’ll want to know how your customer service team feels about working conditions and compensation, opportunities for career advancement, training and their peers. Our employee engagement template offers a good overview. We’ve also compiled benchmark engagement data to help you understand how your employees’ engagement compares to other companies.
Since engagement can vary from industry to industry, you may also want to look at more specific data through a service like SurveyMonkey Benchmarks.
No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. To make sure you learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly experience your customers have, create an easily accessible way for customers to give feedback.
Whether it’s a phone survey at the end of a service call, an email survey sent directly from your CRM tool, or a form on the “Contact Us” page of your website, creating a means for customers to give feedback makes it easier for you to learn what needs improvement. It also helps keep unhappy customers from voicing their displeasure on highly visible places like your social media pages.
Whatever steps you choose to take, remember feedback’s importance to customer satisfaction. Unsure what your strengths and weaknesses are? Don’t know why the numbers are dipping? Make an effort to get closer both to your customers and your reps.
Not only will you discover touchpoints and skills that need improvement, but your customers will see that are dedicated to providing top-notch, proactive customer service.