“Know what your customers want most and what your business does best. Focus on where those two meet.”Kevin Stirtz
Personally as a consumer, one of my major deciding factors when it comes to choosing a business is what their customer service is like. Whether it be from personal experience, experiences my friends or family have had, or reviews online or from social media; how a business treats their consumers is the foundation of their company and therefore shows you as a consumer what their company is all about.
Customer service like most things has it’s do’s and don’ts. According to Julia Lewis in her article, “10 Do’s and Don’ts of Excellent Customer Service”, https://www.providesupport.com/blog/customer-service-dos-and-donts/, there are five fundamental do’s and five essential don’ts when it comes to providing quality customer service. Starting off with the five fundamental do’s:
- Respect your customer
- Be honest
- Take responsibility
- Always put yourself in your customers shoes
- Express your gratitude
Starting off with respecting your customer; everyone want’s to feel respected, especially when doing business with someone. That’s why making sure your customer feels respected and heard can make that meaningful and lasting relationship, ensuring not only that your customer will come back but that they’ll bring others with them. Second is being honest; consumers want to work with a business that doesn’t lie to them, even when those businesses make mistakes. It’s better to do what your business promised and when you make mistakes, to own up to them and proceed to fix them instead of covering it up. An honest company is more appealing than one that constantly backdoors their customers. This goes hand in hand with the third do; take responsibility. When it comes to fixing mistakes, whether it be the customers or business’s fault, taking responsibility and fixing the issue is a great way of showing your customers that you care and want to provide the best service for them. My favorite do is always put yourself in your customers shoes. To me this is the backbone of customer service. Everyone is a consumer, therefore we all know what it’s like to deal with businesses; both good and bad. We’ve all dealt with a customer service representative who just brushed us off and didn’t help us with our issue and we’ve also had the customer service representative who went above and beyond to help us. When a business steps back and puts themselves in a customers position, they are presented with a whole new perspective on how to provide services tailored to consumer needs. Lastly expressing gratitude; simply showing appreciation to customers can show that as a business you do care about them and it creates a loyalty between customer and business.
Then theres the five essential don’ts.
- Don’t make things overly complicated
- Don’t be indifferent
- Don’t treat customers as transactions
- Don’t ignore customer feedback
- Don’t be afraid of complaints
The five don’ts of customer service starts off with don’t make things overly complicated. When conducting customer service you want to make sure that you’re not only getting to the root of the problem, but both you and your customer understand where things went wrong and how to prevent them from going wrong again. As someone who works within your business, you understand how your company works, so simplifying and explaining it to your customers can make customer service much smoother. Next is don’t be indifferent; when a customer comes to you with complaints or any feedback, brushing them off and making them feel like you don’t care not only makes the problem worse but can also cause the customer to lose loyalty to the company. The third rule is don’t treat customers as transactions; customers are people too, they want to feel heard and seen especially when dealing with a problem with a service/product. The last two rules don’t ignore customer feedback/don’t be afraid of complaints go hand-in-hand. When a customer gives you feedback on products, services, etc, a business need to listen to that feedback and turn it into action. Feedback is not alway negative, even if it is a complaint. Hearing and understanding customers views on your business can allow you to better your company and therefore make your customers happy. Happy customers means more business!
While the customer service do’s and don’ts are universal, social media is a different ballpark. According to Christina Newberry’s Hootsuite article, “Social Media Customer Service: Tips and Tools to do it Right” https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-customer-service/, there are some extra steps businesses need to take to provide quality customer service on their social media pages. Starting with making sure your social media sites has a dedicated area for customer service. This allows your customers to get the help they need as soon as possible. 1 billion messages are exchanged between customers and business each month on Facebook alone. On top of that 64% of people would rather message than call a business, proving that in order to have quality customer service with your consumers, you must have a reliable form of communication, especially as preferred forms of communication change. Another major tip is making sure you reply and that you reply quickly. 45% of brands took more than five days to respond to messages through their Facebook Pages. 9% of brands don’t reply to comments on Instagram, and 16% don’t respond to comments on Facebook. When there is a lack of communication, then there is a lack of business and you lose the relationship you’ve built with your customers.
In conclusion, customer service is an essential to all business, both physical and online and there are many factors that contribute to providing quality service. Your business wants to connect with your customers, provide quality products/service and build that lasting relationship which leads not only to customer loyalty, but brings in more business. Therefore customer service is the foundation of business.