9 Simple Ways to Deliver Extraordinary Customer Service (without breaking a sweat)
in Business by Joe Martin
The best companies don’t stop at customer acquisition.
Superstar brands want their customers to become true brand ambassadors who stay with them for life. Retaining a customer is much cheaper than acquiring new ones. In fact, the estimated cost of customers switching providers due to poor service is $1.6 trillion dollars. Even more reason to “love the one you’re with” and not get obsessed with customer acquisition only.
Not only are engaged customers more cost-effective to keep, but far more profitable. Engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, and spend 60% more per transaction. These factors (and others) lead to engaged customers delivering 3X the value to the brand just over the course of a year.
So how does a company go above and beyond and keep their customers happy for years to come? It’s a lot easier than one might think!
1. Act Quickly
Time is always of the essence. And even more so for the customers you want to retain.
Even if it’s in the form of an auto-responder, have an immediate answer set up for your customers so they know someone is on the issue and feel supported. According to SuperOffice’s 2017 Customer Service Benchmark report, 90% of companies don’t inform a customer when their email has been received, an ironic figure considering that response times are accelerating, especially with Millennial consumers.
With the average email response time coming in at around two minutes, if your company is one of the 90% that take up to 15 hours to reply - you’ve already lost.
2. Personalization is No Longer Optional
At one point, personalized customer service was optional, an added bonus that fell under the category of “above and beyond”.
Now, customers expect personalization just as much as they expect a quick response time and extraordinary customer care.
While it’s already a given, to listen well and always call the customer by their name, make sure to go off the script and ask personal (but relevant) questions and take notes on what they learn. This helps to deliver a seamless, more personalized customer experience the next time around.
Think this touch goes unnoticed? We dare you to try it. They’ll be so impressed you remembered the name of their hometown or how their last issue was resolved.
3. Talk Straight
Leave the analogies and flowery prose for the poets and literature majors.
People who communicate directly get the job done more quickly than those who are passive talkers. At the end of the day, how fast the job gets done is way more important to the customer than a polite answer that dances around the issue.
Obviously, direct communication doesn’t mean rude, instead, it means being clear and concise with sparkling clear expectations. Direct communicators always let their customers know what they can expect and when - and they deliver on those words.
Customers trust a direct and authoritative tone. It’s an easy way for them to feel at ease, knowing they’re in the right hands. And you want them to feel that way, since a totally satisfied Customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue as a somewhat satisfied customer.
4. Walk The Extra Mile
It’s the little things that matter. Follow up with an automated check-in message to make sure everything is still running smoothly 24-48 hours after the issue has been “resolved.” Schedule automated birthday emails to celebrate customers. Create an email funnel that helps onboard customers to your service/program/product over the course of a few weeks, so they don’t feel lost after the sale is complete. Automation makes it easy-as-pie to ensure that new customers feel welcomed, get acquainted and never fall through the cracks.
5. Use Complaints as an Opportunity
Legendary sales trainer and New York Times BestSelling author of The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone makes it a point to teach his team to use every complaint and every disgruntled customer as an opportunity to create a new fan. While this won’t be possible 100% of the time, sometimes the extra attention and the fact that someone cares that much will be such a shock, it’s enough to transform a once-unhappy customer or critic into a loyal-company fan for life.
6. Know What They Want (Before They Do)
As customer success reps, we know better than anyone what our customers' FAQs are. But when was the last time you really examined your answers to these questions? Take a close look at your most common Q's. Can some of these be answered during customer onboarding? Marketing? What are the customer questions that always go hand in hand?
Beef up your standard replies to include any additional details and info that your customers may want to know and answer their questions before they even have to ask. And be sure to replace all jargon or confusing terminology with friendly, human language to make them feel like you truly have their back.
7. Make it as Painless as Possible
With 70% of customers now expecting a company’s website to include a self-service app, it's safe to say proactive customer success is steadily becoming mandatory. And that is a beautiful thing for customer service pros. Instead of spending all your time answering the same questions over and over again, one excellent explanation posted in the right place can easily do the job for you.
Update your FAQs using screenshots, GIFs, and video to explain step-by-step how to solve the most common customer questions. And whatever you do: Keep it simple. If you really want to wean your customers off your phone line, you need to make sure they feel capable of solving the problem themselves. This means keeping each answer as clear and actionable as possible.
8. Get Out in the Community
In this day and age, great customer service goes way beyond FAQ pages. For many customers, social media and community forums are the first places they go to for help — and they're the perfect places to help customers solve their problems quickly.
Set aside 30 minutes to an hour each day to check your social media, and community forums and see what questions need answers. If you've just updated a section of your website with a helpful How-To, why not go ahead and share it, letting your customers know that "this one's been coming up a lot, so we thought we'd break it down for you here." It might feel a little counterintuitive to start a thread when things are quiet, but this will actually help prevent future inquiries.
9. Stay One Step Ahead
Today's customers are more informed — and more skeptical — than ever before.
They can tell in a blink which companies truly care, and which view customer service as a mere afterthought. Going the extra mile to take care of your customers will always help keep them around (even if you don't hear from them as often!).
At the end of the day, we’re all customers. Sometimes the best advice when it comes to retaining customers and keeping them happy for their entire customer life span, simply means putting yourself in their shoes and treating them the way we all would want to be treated.