When it comes to running a successful business, good customer service is everything. No matter how great your products or services are, if your customers do not feel heard, valued, and respected, they are likely going to look elsewhere.
Customer service is the backbone of any successful business. To attract new customers, retain your existing customers, and enjoy excellent reviews and recommendations of your brand, it is important to fully understand just how important your customers are and demonstrate this to them.
Providing excellent customer service is something that can set your brand apart from the competition and give customers a reason to purchase your products and services rather than going elsewhere.
We’ve put together some ideal ways to boost your customer service and improve customer satisfaction.
1. Provide a Toll-Free Number
There are plenty of customer service benefits to getting a toll-free number for your brand. Toll-free numbers will not cost your customers a penny to call from anywhere in the country, and they are also easier to remember.
Also, if your company has different offices and departments stationed in various areas of the country, then a toll-free number provides a centralized contact that customers can use rather than having to use other numbers for contacting different departments or employees.
Follow this link to find out more about getting a toll-free number and how it can benefit your business.
2. Offer Self-Service Options
Often, customers who have a question about something will want to get an answer as quickly as possible. But not all businesses can afford to have customer service representatives available around the clock to answer customer questions outside of business hours.
The best way to get around this is by providing customers with easy access to the information that they might need. An extensive FAQ section on your website is one of the best ways to do this. Customers can use it to get answers to common and even some not-so-common questions depending on the content you include.
It is worth tracking the questions that you tend to get from your customers more often, to get an idea of what’s best to offer.
3. Build a Customer Community
Customer communities are places where all your customers can come together to ask questions, get ideas, and help each other out. They are becoming increasingly popular today, especially thanks to social media, which makes it easier than ever for customers to connect and communities to form.
You can easily create a community for your customers using Facebook or LinkedIn groups or by starting a subreddit on Reddit. Consider the social networks that your customers use the most when deciding where to start the community.
Along with providing customers with more options when they need advice or answer to their questions outside of business hours, a community can be a great place to gather data, ask questions, get to know your customers through engagement, and advertise your products and services.
4. Get to Know Your Customers
Customer service might look different for various types of customers, so it is important to get a solid understanding of your customer base to determine what is going to work best for them.
Getting to know your customers and what they prefer will help you tailor your customer service strategies to ensure that they are satisfied.
For example, certain customers may prefer to have a contact number to call when they have a problem while others might find it easier to get in touch on social media or through a chatbot. Knowing what works best for your customers will help avoid misunderstandings and build your customer relationships.
5. Say Thanks
Customers want to know that they are appreciated and that you are thankful to them for their business.
There are tons of great ways to show your appreciation to your customers, and it doesn’t always have to be a massive gesture. Sometimes, a small thank you note in a package when a customer buys a parcel can make the whole experience so much nicer for them and encourage them to shop with your business again.
Thanking your customers for choosing your business over the other options that they have will make sure that they feel special and are noticed.
6. Be Transparent
Today’s customers are not looking for ambiguity when it comes to the brands that they choose to shop with. Transparency is key to building a solid relationship with your customers, and most customers will value honesty above anything else.
Whether you are changing something about the way that you do business or problems have come up that might affect some customers, letting them know in advance and being transparent about the situation will help you earn more customer trust.
7. Create a Loyalty Program
One of the best ways to reward your return customers and keep them coming back for more is to offer a loyalty program. This gives your customers an additional reason to continue using your brand rather than just because they like what you offer.
A loyalty program shows that you notice that a customer is returning to your business and will reward them for it.
There are various ways to reward customer loyalty including money-off vouchers after a certain number of purchases, or giving customers the option to collect points every time they spend, which can be converted into vouchers after a certain amount of time.
8. Engage with Customers
Many small businesses make the mistake of only communicating with customers when there is a problem or when they have something to advertise. But today’s customers are not all about being sold over and over.
Customers want to develop relationships with the brands that they shop with, and they want to shop with brands that they can relate to. This is hard to do when all your brand content is heavily focused on selling and advertising.
Instead, utilize social media as much as possible to get to know and engage with your customers. Ask questions, post polls, and make an effort to reply to comments and private messages. The more of a human side your brand can show, the better.
9. Showcase Your Customers
One of the best ways to make your customers feel special is to give them an even more important role in your business. User-generated content is one of the best ways to do this.
For example, if you run an online fashion store, you can use customer photographs for advertising the items that you sell rather than staged product photographs.
Not only is this a creative and often cheaper option for your brand, but you get to make sure that your customers take center stage, allowing them to relate to your business even more.
10. Streamline the Onboarding Process
Treating every new customer exceptionally well during the onboarding process is key to making a great first impression and converting new customers into loyal customers in the future.
During the onboarding process is when your new customers will be forming their opinions of your brand, and the experience they have here can make or break your relationships with them.
Offering thank you gifts for signing up, communicating often, and following through with all your promises are key to impressing customers during the onboarding process and encouraging loyalty to your brand.
11. Use a Good CRM to Improve Customer Service Experience
When it comes to improving customer service, there are plenty of tools and software that you can use to enhance the customer experience and build lasting customer relationships.
A good customer relationship management (CRM) system is key to providing a streamlined, hassle-free experience for your customers and reducing frustrations.
A good CRM will track data on each customer so that when they call, agents already have all the information that they need, allowing customers to get answers and solutions much faster – no more repeating themselves to several different customer service representatives each time they call.
Also, you can use the data gathered by your CRM to improve the customer experience overall.
12. Listen to Customer Opinions
Running a successful business is all about putting the customers first, so make sure that your customers have a platform where they feel comfortable to voice their opinions honestly and give suggestions.
It can be a good idea to create a social media post every so often where you ask customers to leave their suggestions for improving your services or products and act on as many as you can.
Provide customers with updates as to how you are taking their suggestions on board so that they know you’re listening to and value what they have to say.
13. Respond to Reviews
Customer reviews are an important part of the customer service experience. Along with providing customers with a platform to leave unbiased reviews, it’s important to track them.
You can use customer reviews to determine what your business does well and what can be improved. And how you respond to both good and bad reviews can be the deciding factor between a customer giving your brand a second chance or looking elsewhere.
Every successful brand knows that customer service is crucial to business growth. Putting customers first and responding to their feedback is key to building strong customer relationships and achieving business success.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.