Customer satisfaction is vital to the success of any business regardless of industry, vertical or focus. Happy customers mean repeat business and research shows that it's less expensive and more profitable to retain existing customers. Happy customers also mean new business because we all know how effective word of mouth is. Basically without happy customers, there ultimately is no business to run.
So how do you provide great customer service? Here are eight ways you can keep your customers happy and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Offer Live Chat
Live chat has proven to be a versatile and effective platform for customer service agents to assist customers. Customers want their questions answered quickly and live chat allows for this immediacy in service. In the case of e-commerce, live chat offers assistance literally exactly where the customer needs it - online. Click here to read more statistics on the importance and effectiveness of live chat.
2. Use Social Media
Social media has become an increasingly important customer service channel. According to a report by Forbes, 62 percent of Millennials confirmed that they are more likely to become loyal customers if a brand engages them on the social network. It's important for businesses to use their social media channels not as just a platform to sell, but also to engage their audience by asking for opinions, comments and feedback. And just as important, businesses need to monitor their social media channels closely to respond to any feedback, complaints or questions they receive and treat their customers on social media just like how they would treat them through any other customer service channel.
3. Reward Loyalty
Retaining existing customers is less expensive and more profitable for a business, so it's important to keep customers happy to keep them coming back. A little unexpected token of appreciation can go a long way. Depending upon the business this could mean anything from a loyalty or rewards program, a freebie, a contest or drawing for prizes, or a discount. Rewarding customers for their loyalty will make them feel valued and paint a positive picture in their mind of your business.
4. Incorporate Self Service Options
Self-service or an automated system is a win-win for both the customer and the business. Customers prefer the option of servicing themselves because it saves them a great deal of time and it's much better than being placed on hold. At the same time, self-service reduces call center costs for the business. Customers can provide certain information before even reaching an agent, allowing the agent to service the customer quicker and provide a better and more informed solution.
5. Be Proactive
Businesses don't have to wait for customers to have a problem or complaint in order to provide great customer service. Reaching out to customers can help improve the overall experience and can sometimes even reveal and solve problems before they become a larger issue. Asking for feedback and following up with customers is a great way to make sure they are happy and everything is going smoothly. Also, use social mediums like Twitter to announce impending outages or disruptions in service; this will reassure customers that you are on it and dramatically reduce the number of tickets in your queue.
6. Embrace New Technology (like prioritized call back services)
Each day, new technology helps improve the way people live and work by solving problems and frustrations. Waiting on hold is a common frustration when it comes to customer service. Using a prioritized call back service solves this problem by eliminating much of the hold time. It basically holds for the customer and calls them back once they get to the front of the holding "queue."
7. Use Videos
Videos are a dynamic medium that helps support and inform customers in a highly visual and engaging way. Businesses can use videos to provide answers to FAQs or tutorials that offer solutions with details visuals. Videos are similar to a self-service option that helps save customers time and allow them to problem solve on their own. Producing videos doesn't only help with improving the customer experience, they can also be used as a powerful marketing tool.
8. Personalize the experience
The trend for 2016 is highly personalized customer service. One of the best ways to really make an impact is to make customers feel like the experience is custom to them. Today, data is so simple to gather and readily available, it would be a waste not to take this information to better the customer experience. Also, encourage your agents to go off the script - make it personal!