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68% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer experiences, according to HubSpot.
Statistics like this prove that delivering great customer service pays off in spades. The happier you keep the customer, the more likely they are to keep coming back.
“Being polite” and “service with a smile” are universal truths in customer service, Things all customer service agents should try to deliver every day.
But how else can companies keep their customers delighted beyond the obvious?
11 Ways to Delight Your Customers Every Time
1. Being accessible
Customers don’t want to feel limited when getting in contact with your company.
The fewer ways they have to get in touch, the less likely they are to reach out if they prefer one method of communication over the other.
For example, if your company answers customer phone calls but doesn’t offer live chat, you’re closing off a huge audience segment.
73% of customers prefer to reach out to companies via live chat, according to Invesp.
Giving customers as many ways to reach out as possible will help ensure they don’t go elsewhere due to limited contact options.
Phone, Email and Live Chat are the three key players. Have all three of these ready and waiting for your customers, if you can.
2. Responding quickly
90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as essential or very important, according to HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick.
If your customer is looking for an answer to a problem, the last thing they want is to be kept in limbo, especially if the problem is stopping them from doing or achieving something.
Quick responses are better for businesses too.
Take a sales call, for example. The longer you wait to return a call to a prospect is just giving the more time you have to change their mind or find a different provider.
So it’s in a business’s best interest that responses are sent quickly.
A call answering service can be effective at either dealing with customer enquiries directly or passing on accurate messages to be returned as soon as possible.
3. Actually listen
American novelist Chuck Palahniuk once said, ‘People don’t listen; they just wait for their turn to talk’.
Doing this in a customer service setting will kill your reputation.
If a customer calls, the last thing they want is to feel like they’re talking to the wall or that their question isn’t being dealt with seriously.
The customer service staff need to be trained in active listening, ensuring they’re taking in the information being given and understanding further questions to ask to clarify issues they’re not sure about.
This not only ensures you have all the information you need to deal with the enquiry, but it’s also reassuring for the customer.
This works especially well if customers have long, complicated queries that may take some time and investigation to solve.
4. Be calm and respectful
Most customer service agents have dealt with an upset customer at some point.
If you feel attacked, it can be instinctive to answer back – but that’s never going to work in customer service.
The best thing to do is to let the customer get out what they need to and let them vent.
Another reason being calm is useful is because it’s harder for customers to continue being angry at someone who’s being reasonable, so you’ll more than likely diffuse the situation quicker.
5. Don’t argue
Everyone has heard the phrase “the customer is always right.”
It’s not always true. Sometimes the customer has made a mistake (sometimes without realising it) and has called to complain.
It can be easy to get on the high horse here and feel a bit superior by pointing out that it is, in fact, the customer who’s wrong, not you.
But that isn’t going to end well.
The best thing to do is simply to guide the customer through the process of fixing the problem they’re having.
6. Follow through on promises
Trust is hard won and easily lost in business.
And a big part of earning a customer’s trust is doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it.
Following through on promises not only fulfils your duty to the customer, but it’s also a great way to show the customer they’re valued.
For example, if you promise to call the customer back at a specific time on a specific date, the customer will appreciate the timing and effort taken to do this.
It also presents your company as a smooth and reliable operation. Failing to stick to promises presents it as the opposite – incompetent and lacklustre.
7. Admit mistakes
We all make mistakes. But in customer service, trying to cover up your mistakes and save face is a cardinal sin.
Customers aren’t stupid. They can smell deception a mile away. They’ll let you know if they feel like you’re being deceptive or intentionally avoiding painting a full picture.
This will probably cost you their custom in the future, too, which is why it always pays to be honest with customers when you, or someone else in your organisation, slip up.
A mistake is far easier to forgive than a lie. According to customer retention specialists Tada:
“There’s only one rule for rebuilding credibility: admit, apologize, and make corrections for the mistakes. Be authentic, actively listen to your customers, understand the lousy impact on them and take steps to ensure the problem won’t happen again.”
8. Create a good culture of customer service
Offering great customer service should be a pillar of your business.
If you’re a business owner, the importance of delivering exceptional service should be relayed to your employees throughout the recruitment process and well beyond into their careers.
When agents understand the power of excellent service, they’re able to offer a far improved service versus those who see customer service as merely a job.
But great customer service usually delivers financial results for a business, too. Over 80% of customers are willing to pay more to receive exceptional service, according to experience management firm Walker.
In other words, if you deliver excellent service time and again, customers will be willing to spend more with you than the competition, even if they’re cheaper.
9. Have a clear process
Clarity is important in all aspects of business. But there should be crystal-clear clarity when it comes to dealing with customers.
It should be precisely defined which departments or agents deal with specific issues, like:
- General questions
- Complaints (and complaint escalations)
There should also be a structured flow in place for each of these. Laying things out in a step-by-step process makes them easy for everyone to understand.
Knowing exactly what to do when customers with specific needs call and knowing exactly where to transfer them (if necessary) should be the default mode for all businesses that experience even moderate customer calls or messages.
When these processes are not clearly defined, this is when mistakes begin to happen, which could cost the customer a lot of time if not fixed quickly.
Ultimately, that’ll give off a terrible image of your business. So have your processes laid out as clearly as you can.
10. Help customers self-solve
If a customer’s query isn’t overly complicated, or they feel as though it’s not worth speaking with a customer service agent, they may try and solve the issue themselves.
That’s great – it saves agents a lot of time that could be spent on more pressing calls or messages. But not all businesses offer customers viable options to self-solve their problems.
If this is something you’d like to give your customers, you should have an easily accessible page on your website where customers can find the answers to questions. This is often called a “knowledge base.”
Alternatively, some companies opt to host forums where customers can ask questions. In this format, fellow customers or other agents can answer these questions, giving the customer as much info as possible, so they can hopefully solve their issue themselves.
Giving customers the option for this independence also presents you as a forward-thinking and caring company.
11. Be proactive
It’s not enough to have good customer service standards in place. You need to ensure you’re keeping up with the demands of customers and make any necessary changes to maintain that standard.
Regular reviews of your customer service practices are a great way to do this. Look at figures like the number of satisfied and dissatisfied customers, successfully answered and failed queries.
Look for patterns in the successes and failures and see if there’s anything you could build on, or cut out, to offer the best possible continuing service.
Also, it’s wise to use strategies like NPS tools and customer surveys, so you can have a more direct response from the customer to gauge what they like or dislike and where improvements can be made.
There are plenty of ways companies try to boost customer satisfaction. But the most important thing to remember is that every customer is human, like you and me, and they expect to be treated with honesty and respect.
If you can make your customers feel like their needs are important, and their custom is valued, you’re already halfway there.