15 Customer Service Strategies To Help You Deliver A 5-Star Experience
Customer service can make or break a business, especially if you’ve had a hard time gaining and retaining customers. Poor or unresponsive service can turn away even the most loyal shoppers, which significantly affects your company’s bottom line. Conversely, a great experience can turn dissatisfied customers into strong advocates of your brand.
If your company is struggling, transforming your customer support into a 5-star experience can inject new life into your business. Not sure where to start? Try these 15 tips from the members of Forbes Coaches Council.
1. Engage Customers In Your Improvement Efforts
There is little point in improving customer service at the boardroom table without the input of your customers. As consumers of your product or service, they are the ones best placed to help you shape and test new approaches. Engage them in your improvement efforts and reward them for helping you become better at helping them. – Lisa Schmidt, Worksphere
2. Shift Your Mindset About Customer Service
Customer service can be tough as you are often dealing with the angry and upset. A daily reminder that “We help our customers solve problems and make their day” can help those on the front line diffuse the tension and create a lifelong ambassador. – Bruce Merrell, Vistage Worldwide, Inc.
3. Lead By Example
Outstanding leadership creates outstanding performance! Lead by example. Have an excellent attitude, self-awareness and respect. Create pride for the business through clear communication, instruction and boundaries. Implement consistent training, fair pay and treatment, and focused processes for all staff members, thereby streamlining operational success. – Sharesz T. Wilkinson, The Speech Improvement Company
4. Focus On Good Communication
Effective communication is your secret weapon for developing and strengthening the relationship between an organization and its customers. Every experience, every conversation and every interaction that the people in your organization have with your customers contributes to the overall feeling your customers will have about the company itself. So treat every customer with courtesy and respect. – G. Riley Mills, Pinnacle Performance Company
5. Aim For Speed In Resolving Problems
In today’s global world, contacting customer service to solve an issue can feel like traveling into a big black hole. Will I get a reply? Will it be a person, an answering machine or a bot? Will they be able to resolve my problem? By far the best 5-star experiences I’ve had have been via live chat with a real person on the company’s website. That’s because I get the problem solved—fast! – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy
6. Learn From Other Industries
An easy and powerful way to completely transform your customer experience is to learn from other industries. Where have you had a 5-star experience lately? What specifically made you feel that way? Sometimes it’s as simple as taking the time to really hear the customer, and other times it’s simplifying the process. By looking to other industries, we step out of old patterns and set new standards. – Elise Montgomery, Coach Elise Montgomery
7. Measure And Reward The Right Things
Customer service levels are strongly influenced by metrics and measures. When a business is struggling with service levels, it is critical to review how employees are evaluated, incentivized and measured. As an example, if your business is focused on speed of customer resolution or time on the phone, this may be a disincentive for a qualitative conversation and robust troubleshooting. – Faith Fuqua-Purvis, Synergetic Solutions LLC
8. Create A Community, Not Transactions
Too many businesses focus on sales and credit card transactions. Business growth comes from identifying the core group of customers who are or could be buying repeatedly and creating a community with a shared purpose driven by the brand. – Jane Anderson, Jane Anderson
9. Surprise And Delight Your Customers
It’s one thing to give great service, just as you promise and as your customer expects. The next level of service is giving thought to those things that your customer is not expecting and that would truly delight. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Focus on personal attention. For example, add a handwritten note to deliveries. Send a follow-up, personalized message or call after your interaction. – Daphna Horowitz, Daphna Horowitz Leadership
10. Start With Small, Manageable Initiatives
I know it seems counterintuitive, but sometimes companies get overzealous with customer service initiatives. The goal should be to get a team aligned around one to three initiatives that are manageable. Instead of fighting complaints, take the time to understand the concerns of customers. You might have team members in the wrong roles or a process problem. A complaint is an opportunity to make it right – Maresa Friedman, Executive Cat Herder
11. Use Artificial Intelligence
12. Build Customer-Specific Profiles
Each customer is not a number, but a human—and a voluntary member of a brand. Although collective data is appropriate for trends, a customer profile (e.g., CRM system) is also useful in helping us understand the unique experience that particular customer has received. From products purchased to activity and customer complaints, this visibility can maximize a customer’s loyalty and ROI. – Corey Castillo, Truth & Spears
13. Increase Touch Points For Deeper Client Engagement
By increasing client “touch points” for employees across the length and breadth of the organization, customer service is enhanced. Often when clients only engage with the sales and support staff, there is a disconnect with the rest of the value chain. Regular client interactions with manufacturing, logistics, technology and R&D teams can help with insights and create initiatives for improving service. – Krishna Kumar, Intrad School of Executive Coaching
14. Prioritize Employee Well-Being And Organizational Fit
Customer service is critical in the business world. One way a struggling business can transform their customer support or service into a 5-star experience is to find out if their employees are working in areas where they’re the best fit. Employee psychological well-being and organizational fit are important components of employee job satisfaction and organizational growth. – J. Ibeh Agbanyim, Focused Vision Consulting, LLC
15. Interview Your Biggest Fans
Years ago, on faith, I asked a few of my senior-level clients to say something about my company. I really had no idea what they would say. They started talking and we recorded it. They said nice, unique things that at one point made a tear come to my eye. If you find out what your top clients love about you, you can share it, capture it and use it to inform your customer initiatives. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
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