As a business owner, the most important thing is to increase word-of-mouth referrals and reduce churn rate. But how? The most effective way to do so is to improve your customer service to your existing customers.
Don’t think so? Read on the customer serve tips you should know as a successful entrepreneur.
No matter how well your products are, or how talented you think your team is, what your customers are most likely to remember is the experience they gain when they’re in contact with your company.
Grey Roth found that the most powerful competitive differentiator among competitors is customer service.
Your customer relationships will deteriorate and growth will slow down if you are not constantly looking for opportunities to improve your customer service.
One of the methods we use to keep our support team on their toes and our company culture on track is a customer service tip-of-the-day.
In this post, we’d like to share 30 best tips with you, so you can use them to give your own support team a crash course to offer amazing customer service.
#1 Always Practise Empathy, Patience and Consistency
Some of your customers will be full of the questions, some are just talkative and others are mad at you when they start the conversation. You must be ready and well-prepared to empathize with customers and handle all their enquiries with the same level of service every time.
Learn more: Getting Started to Empathy in Customer Support
#2 Understand that Good Customer Service is a Continuous Learning Process
Each customer is unique and thus it will be different in every support situation. You have to be willing to keep learning so that you can handle surprises, your customers’ mood and address new challenges accordingly.
It is important to have a deep understanding of your customers’ challenges and continue to search for better ways to address them.
#3 Ask Your Customers if They Understand
Always check with your customers to make sure that they know exactly what you mean. You will not want your customers to think they’re getting 25% off when they’re actually getting 25% more products.
Ask them if they understand what you’re saying. Stay cheerful no matter what. Use positive language and never end the conversation without confirming that the customer understands and is satisfied whether on Live Chat or helpdesk.
#4 Don’t Be Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”
Your customers rely on you to know about your products inside out. You should always stay informed enough to respond to their questions or at least get the idea if the questions become too technical for you to answer.
It is okay to say to your customers “I don’t know” when you are not familiar or not sure of the answers. As long as you follow up with “but I’ll find out” to your customer, customers will appreciate your honesty and efforts to find the right answer or solutions for them.
#5 Show Your Customers Your Work Ethic
Customers prefer a support agent who doesn’t pass the buck/sticks until their problem has been solved. However, you can’t spend too much time handling only one customer while others are waiting. Stay focused on your goals to achieve the right balance.
#6 A Thick Skin is Needed
Many people would say “the customer’s always right.” There is truth to that. The best customer service agent should have the ability to swallow their pride and accept all the blame or negative feedback…or handle certain unreasonable customers in an emphatic way.
No matter what, your primary goal is to increase customer satisfaction regarding your service. If a customer is completely unreasonable, just be human and level with them. Let them know you’re doing your best.
#7 Show Your Customers You’re Human
Try your best to identify the common ground and mutual interest with customers you help. By humanizing your relationship, you can easily resolve all the conflicts. As a result, your customers will like you and your business more.
#8 Pay Attention to Your Customer Experience
A bad customer experience at any point in the customer lifecycle can really destroy your relationship with them. Pay critical attention to key touchpoints: customer trial periods, customer sign-ups, customer on-boarding etc.
You can build a knowledge base for your customers to find the answer to the solutions. Maybe you can try out Exabytes Helpdesk Software (with easy to understand guidelines) to build a knowledge base.
Learn more: An Ultimate Guide to Building an Awesome Knowledge Base
Make sure you have a full view of your customer experience, or you risk service breakdowns that will hurt business. If you discover a lapse in service, make sure to bring it up with your management team so it can be fixed.
#9 Be an Active listener
When you use active listening, your customers feel heard. Let your customers know you understand them by clarifying and rephrasing what they say.
The main purpose is to empathize with them and reflect their feelings by saying things like, “I’m sorry, I can see why that is upsetting” or “That is a problem and I understand what you’re saying”.
#10 Admit Your Mistakes
Admit your mistakes if you mess up or even discover your mistakes before your customers do. Admitting you messed up builds trust and restores your customer confidence in your service.
It also allows you to control the situation, re-focus on customer’s attention, and fix the problem.
#11 Follow Up After a Problem is Solved
Always follow up with your customers, make sure their issues were resolved properly and customers are satisfied with the overall service. Give them a call, send them a good support email, or ask them to fill out a feedback survey form so that your customers know you care and you’re still on their side.
Learn more: 6 Simple Tips to Write a Good Support Email
#12 Be Real by Getting Personal
Your customers want help from real people, not just FAQs and automated emails. Take advantage of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and review sites) and respond when your customers post on your page.
Display support team pictures and bios on your website. Show your customers that your company has real people working on their behalf.
#13 Be Accessible
Always be accessible for your customers so that they can reach you when they need it. No matter how your business is largely online, try to arrange a meet up with your local customers or offer video calls (such as Skype) if face-to-face isn’t possible.
The more ways you are accessible (via phone, chat, text, email etc.) the more trust you’ll build.
#14 Rollout the White Glove Treatment
You should make sure that your products or services meet your customers’ needs.
Offering a VIP treatment to your best and loyal customers to make them feel appreciated. You can assign support agents to specific customers so they can build personal relationships. Make each of your customers feel like they have a friend in the business.
As a Loyalty Exabytes Customer, I believe you had received our appreciation gift before.
#15 Create a Customer Community
Creating a sense of community around your products is a great way to make your customers feel valued.
You can do this by bringing your customers together for webinars, interactive websites, social media such as Facebook Group, blog comments, trade shows and conventions. When your customers come to these forums to learn from you, it’s a great opportunity for you to learn from them.
#16 Make Sure Your Support Team is Happy
Your customers’ happiness isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. You should know how your customer service team feels about their working environment, opportunities for career advancement, training, available tools and resources, and their peers.
Collect feedback from your employees and respond to their feedback. Set benchmarks and goals, and track performance. Your support team’s happiness will affect the overall customer service performance of your business.
#17 Always Collect Your Customer Feedback
To improve your customer service and grow your business, you should learn from your customers (the good and the bad), and the unpleasant experience your customers have.
You can create multiple touchpoints that are easily accessible so that your customers can give you their feedback. Your customers can tell you regarding the issues they face, and this can be a good point to improve your business. You can also find out what is stopping your business from growing.
#18 Know Your Customers
Try to understand what customers are actually looking for, why they bought your product, and what they love or hate about your company.
Use a helpdesk tool like Exabytes Helpdesk Software that makes tracking customer conversations and information easy, so when customers contact your support team, they have a meaningful interaction.
#19 Practice Clear Communication
How you communicate with your customers is important in customer service. The way you speak affects communication. Tone affects communication. Watch out for passive-aggressive language (“Actually…”).
This will turn your customers off. Moreover, avoid confusing your customers with slang, colloquialism, or technical jargon.
#20 Dealing with Customers using their Style
It is important to be friendly, personable and casual when you speak or write to your customers. There are many companies that offer customer service that sound as if they are robots programmed to speak like a 16th century nobleman.
Don’t be a robot nobleman. Have a real conversation with your customers.
#21 Use Positive Language
Here’s an example of positive language in a customer support setting: “The upgrade will be available next month. I can put in an order for you right now and make sure your account is upgraded as soon as it’s released!” Next we’ll give you an example of negative language.
#22 Don’t Use Negative Language
Here’s an example of negative language in a customer support setting: “I can’t get you an upgrade until next month. Our service is backordered and unavailable right now.” See the difference?
#23 Use the CARP Method
It’s important for customer service teams to stay consistent in the tone they use and the processes they practise. The best way to do both is to use the CARP method:
- Control the situation.
- Acknowledge the dilemma.
- Refocus the conversation.
- Solve problems so the customer leaves happily.
#24 Solve Problems on the First Call
Practising first-contact resolutions is One of the best ways to keep customers happy and be seen as a company that provides outstanding services. In other words, solve your customers’ problems the first time they call in.
There’s nothing your customers will appreciate more than getting their issues addressed the first time around.
#25 Always Close Conversations Correctly
Every conversation you close with a customer should end with you saying “Is there anything else I can do for you today? I’m happy to help!” and your customer saying “Yes, I’m all set!” loud and clear.
Close a conversations correctly shows the customer three vital things:
- You care about getting things right.
- You’re willing to keep going until you get things right.
- The customer is the one who decides what “right” is.
#26 Use Customer Service Templates
It’s important to keep your standards high and your response time low. Stop wasting your time to answer every basic and common question. Build scalable templates so you can respond to these types of enquiries with ease and professionalism.
#27 Help Your Customers Help Themselves
You should always be available, even if you aren’t. Make sure you are offering a self-service help desk with top-tier support material for all to see and benefit from. Use screenshots, videos, and clear styling and make sure your how-to’s and FAQs get great reviews.
#28 Stay Informed with Customer Data
Did you know that you will not need to spend a lot of time addressing the issues when the customer data can easily eliminate the guesswork?
Tracking the frequency of issues as well as the average handle time will give you the reporting you need to make better decisions on how to improve your business.
Use a helpdesk like Exabytes Helpdesk Software that is able to track your customer activities including the issues they have faced before, the product that has been purchased, etc.
#29 Surprise your Customers with an Offline Thank You
Nothing says thank you like a handwritten note. Taking the time to send a personal thank you letter via snail mail is the kind of unexpected thing that builds rock-solid customer relationships.
You can see how Oxwhite do this to their customers.
For VIP customers, throwing in a batch of fresh baked cookies or even a Starbucks gift card is a nice touch. Customer appreciation, therefore, goes a long way in building a healthy customer relationship.
#30 Remember that Customer Service is Everyone’s Job
Everyone should be feeling the customers’ pain points. When your whole company is encouraged to be involved in customer service, potential problems, bugs and features become illuminated for the entire team.
There’s no faster way to make improvements and drive your business forward. It’s so simple, yet often overlooked: just talk to the customer!