Did you know that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you, but will tell their 15 other friends and 91% of the unhappy customers will never willingly do business with you again.
What’s more shocking is that, it can be 7 times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep a loyal customer and repeat customers spend 33% more than a new customer.
Gone are the days when excellent product quality and brilliant marketing were enough for successful business. Today many companies are competing in the same market with similar products and similar marketing strategies. More than ever, customers all over the world are starting to prioritize customer service over the products itself. Customer Service has started to become a key for successful business.
It has been known that companies which make customer service a priority make 60% more profits than usual and 70% of successful sales are based on the way the customers feels how they are being treated.
According to Get Feedback, 78% of customers have canceled a transaction due to poor customer service, while 59 percent would switch to a new company if it meant they received better service there.
While doing business, customers don’t just appreciate positive experience, but they expect them. So providing a streamlined, enjoyable experience for your customers is essential for the success of your company.
Walkerinfo says that by the year 2020, customer experience will be the top differentiator among brands, surpassing the actual quality of the product being provided.
Meeting customer expectations and providing a positive experience means shifting from being “customer focused” to “customer committed.” Becoming customer committed in your customer service requires you to follow specific Laws which govern the customer service industry. These laws are immutable in nature, and one has to strictly follow these laws if he/she wants to provide the best customer experience in their business.
1) Know Your Customers
Before you can make your customers happy, you need to know who they are, why they would choose your product and what makes them tick. Trying to sell products without understanding your ideal customers is like driving with your eyes closed.
Companies have started to create “customer personas” by which they can group customers in various categories. Data is collected from the ideal buyers, data such as search terms that they searched and websites they frequently visit, which is used to put them in their ideal group which helps in identifying the types of content which works best for each customer. This method allows you to create meaningful content that resonates with your potential customers. It could even help in identifying and handling some vulnerable customers.
While categorizing potential buyers based on customer personas, it is crucial that your database contains up-to-date and accurate customer details. For this purpose use a proper system for customer data and only allow qualified personnel directly access the data and contact the customer.
For example, Vodafone has created an Omni Channel Support system which restricts access to customer data and allows only a few qualified personnel to access the data. This system has proven to be very effective and increased their profits up to 30% in a year.
Once you understand the potential customers, you can use what you have learned to improve your marketing and create or modify products and services for each customer persona, and you can upsell to them.
2) Customer Service is Everyone’s Business
It is not just customer-facing employees who contribute to the customer experience. Every employee shapes the customer journey, either directly or indirectly. Customer expectations should be taken as a responsibility by all the departments involved in the product, not just the support team or the sales team. A customer service oriented culture should be maintained throughout the company, ultimately the customer is the Boss.
From the product development team to the sales and marketing team, everyone must be dedicated to contributing to building an excellent customer experience. Right people are to be recruited and trained, people not just good with technical skills but people who understand and work in a customer service culture.
This includes keeping the customer in mind for every decision that is taken and doing what’s right for the customer. For example, Not ignoring things that are broken or not working correctly even when it is not your responsibility to fix it or to report it.
3) Make Clients Not Just Sales
Traditional sales people will always deliver a strong sales pitch while talking to a potential customer. It means that you are trying to push the customer into buying your product. This strong sales pitch does not work well with the modern business where customer experience is a priority. It would be wise not to oversell or to be pushy.
Avoid making a mini-presentation about what you have to offer. Begin a conversation. Start with an opening phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product solves. Let go of trying to close the sale, and you will discover that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward.
Stop providing more and more information about your product. The more information you offer to people, the more likely they’ll be confused or get bored, and they will not become customers. Tell them only what they need and want to know.
It costs 7 times more to get a new customer than to keep a loyal customer. So it is essential to see a bigger picture than to focus just on increasing the number of sales. Happy customers are the best and most effective way to find new customers, as word-of-mouth recommendations will bring you more business!
4) Keep Your Promise
Salesperson’s job is not finished once a deal is closed. Once you sign the deal with a customer, it becomes even more important to make sure that they are being delivered what was promised in your deal. This is how you make loyal customers.
Reliability is the foundation of good customer service and nothing will disappoint your customers more than a trail of broken promises, missed deadlines and delays.
Make a promise only if you know for 100% that you can deliver to the required standard, within budget and on time. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It is far better to add a few extra days or weeks onto a schedule and increase the budget to give you some wriggle room.
Things often take longer and cost more than you think. Sometimes you might be pressurized by the customer to commit. Learn to manage these situations. If you fail to honor your commitments, you’ll lose both credibility and customers.
Work hard to deliver on the promises you make. If you say you will respond within 24 hours, then do so. If you say you will deliver the product within Friday, then make sure it reaches within Friday.
If you are unable to meet the promise fully, apologize to the customer and offer some compensation, such as a discount or free delivery. Don’t make the customer pay for the companies mistakes.
Don’t over promise and under deliver. Under promise and over deliver. This is ideal for any business, especially in customer service where tiny errors can have big consequences.
5) Every Screw-Up is an Opportunity for a Great Service
As Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways has said, ”Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” Research shows that 7 out of 10 customers will do business again with a company if it resolves the complaint to their satisfaction.
It is easy to let go of angry customers after a mistake or a screw-up. Sometimes, they’re going to leave no matter what you do to try and keep them. But successful business people know that customer service recovery is very important in customer retention.
When something goes wrong, cherish your opportunity to fix it. By doing so, you can turn your upset customer into a loyal customer. Follow these simple steps:
- Hear the customer without interruption.
- Convey that you understand how the customer feels
- Apologize sincerely (even if mistake is not on your side)
- Quickly resolve the issue
- Explain why the mistake occurred and give assurance that it will not happen again
By doing these things, you can learn from your mistakes and could build a loyal customer.
6) Encourage Client Feedback
Building a customer friendly business mainly involves asking for customer feedback. Getting feedback is the primary way to know about customer satisfaction. Always ask ‘How we are doing?’ and ‘what can we do better?’. You may even be surprised what you learn about your customers and their needs.
Excellent customer service comes down to consistently checking with your customers and making sure they are happy with not only the products and services but also the process of purchasing, ordering and working with you. You can use customer surveys, feedback forms, and questionnaires, and also ask the customers first-hand for feedback when an order is completed.
Customer feedback can also help you to create customer profiles by which you can innovate and turn your potential customers into loyal customers. You could even approach customers who have left you, to know why they have left your company. Make time and review these feedbacks to identify areas for improvement, and make specific changes in your business.
Many companies have even formed feedback forums in which customers can interact and help each other. By building these communities, customers are kept engaged with the brand, and they feel valued. An engaged customer could provide more insights and even tend to buy more.
7) Track Your Metrics
In a report by Bain & Company, it is found that 80 percent of companies believe they provide a “superior customer experience,” only 8 percent of customers agreed. To ensure that your company gives superior customer support, it is important to setup some metrics to measure the feedback provided by the customers.
Based on these metrics you can fix concrete goals for your customer support teams. This provides your team with tangible ways to measure their efforts in meeting the customer’s needs. By setting up these metrics, you could transform closed conversations into measurable targets.
There are various customer service metrics used. Some of these scores are calculated based on time spent on the issue such as
- First Response Time
- Average Response Time
- Total Handle Time
Other metrics that measure customer satisfaction:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Awarding your team based on their brilliance is also a good strategy to encourage your customer service team to give their best support.
8) Have Tolerance and Say “Thank You” More
How many times have you heard stories of customers being treated rudely? Bad news travels 2 times faster than good news. Just one bad experience could go viral spreading bad news about your brand worldwide.
According to Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
We all know that customer isn’t always right. Our focus is not to win an argument but to provide good service and maintain customer loyalty. Rather than arguing with the customer you could say sorry and focus on fixing the problem. Research shows that it takes 12 good experiences to make up for 1 bad experience. So having more tolerance will help save the esteem of your brand.
Be grateful for the customer. They have a choice. They could have gone to any other company, but they chose to come to you. While talking to the customer don’t forget to use phrases like “Sorry to keep you waiting,” and “It’s been a pleasure helping you.”
Keep your smile on even when you are on the phone. If needed, even fake a smile. After all, you want to do is leave the customer feeling good after talking to you!
Gratitude is very much memorable. It will remind your customers why they shopped at your store or hired your company. Regardless of the type of business, saying thank you after every transaction is one of the easiest ways to start a habit of good customer service.
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