In a recent survey compiled by Zendesk, over 1,000 individuals were asked about their experiences with the customer service of a mid-sized company. Before I give away the statistics, think about when you had a bad customer experience...
Did you share it with someone? Maybe even vent about it on social media?
How about a good customer experience? Did you continue your business there? Share it with a friend or family member?
It should come as no surprise that just like you, consumers are highly likely to share their experiences, especially negative ones.
Overall, 95% of those surveyed who had a negative experience told someone about it, while 87% shared about a positive experience.
You may think to yourself, “well...those numbers really aren’t that outstandingly different…”
While this may be true, the fact is that whether it’s a stellar experience or a terrible one, people are talking. There are no statistics on people sharing about mediocre customer service, so you’ve got to choose a side if you want to benefit (not tank) from word of mouth!
To go above and beyond, take these 5 ways to deliver excellent customer service into consideration.
1. Rapid Response
One of the key analytics you should be tracking for your business is your response time. If I go to a company website that has a contact page for inquiries, I expect a response in less than 24 hours. Otherwise, I will take my business elsewhere.
This isn’t just me being impatient (okay, maybe a little). But it’s being aware of a standard that great companies abide by. Your customers will be expecting close to immediate responses.
This doesn’t mean immediate solutions, but a quick reply to a comment or concern. If a potential customer emails you with a question that you yourself are still waiting on an answer for, don’t be afraid to reach out and let them know that they are heard and you are working on a solution.
Another question to consider: Is it easy for your customers to reach you to register complaints or ask questions? Can they do this through your website? Or on social media? Make sure to make places to ask you for help clear and accessible.
Pro Tip: If you do not have real-time online help for customers, make sure you have online FAQs addressing common queries!
2. Deliver What They Are Looking For
It’s not uncommon for businesses to get distracted from their primary goal. Their websites are cluttered with design and copy that may be fun and attractive but is not relevant to what the customer is looking for.
You’ve got to find the balance between knowing that consumers will judge a book (or website) by its cover, but also ensuring that you use design trends on your website to your advantage.
Again, remember the basics: identify your customer and what they need. Then give it to them.
If they are looking for a recipe for applesauce, don't explain how to plant an apple orchard.
Make it easy for the customer. If your goal is to sell a product, your site needs to point the customer towards the fastest and easiest way to purchase that product.
3. Admit Mistakes
I have never met a single person who is interested in watching someone play the blame game.
Whether it’s failing to deliver on time, dropping the ball, or delivering bad information: own up to your mistakes. Keep these truths published by Entrepreneur in mind next time things go sideways:
- Be accountable, it shows that you’re responsible.
- Be honest, it shows you have integrity.
- Be up front, it shows your relatable.
Being accountable, honest, and relatable are all qualities that your customers will seek out in who they do business with. Don’t miss an opportunity to portray yourself as such, even if it is because you made a mistake.
4. Ask for Feedback
Want to make your customers feel heard? Give them a platform to speak by asking questions. Setting someone up to share their thoughts and opinions is a great way to make deposits in your trust bank with potential customers.
Incorporating things like surveys in email sequences, your website, or social media allows you to engage with your customers.
Even if you don’t act upon all of the feedback you receive, customers like to be asked. By requesting feedback from customers, you demonstrate that you are listening to them. It also proves that you're committed to delivering the results they want.
5. Create a Community
Your customers will be your biggest advocates, and allowing them to feel like they are a part of something will stoke the advocacy fire. Not just your customers, but all customers, want to feel like they are a part of something.
Witness the cult of Apple. Apple’s brand strategy ensures direction, portrays excellence, and is something its employees want to stand behind. The evidence is alluring to new and existing customers alike.
Always keep social media in mind while building a community around your product or service. You can bring together people who share a common interest, with similar needs, language, and opinions.
You social media platforms will join this common audience, giving them a place to share testimonials and feedback. It offers you an intimate, customized way to share updates and news with your customers directly.
Excellent Customer Service: Converting Interest into Commitment
When you respond quickly, communicate clearly, and listen to your customers, you are nurturing the soil your business needs to grow. Both the tree and its roots both benefit equally from good soil, just as your customers and your internal team will benefit from providing excellent customer service.
To sum it all up, look to the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done to you.
Or, “do unto your customers as you would like to be treated as a customer.”
With respect, promptness, and honesty. It’s that simple.
Providing excellent customer service is something we take pride in here at Lone Fir. Contact us today to begin developing a game-winning customer service strategy!