Customer care is an essential part of any business. And the better you manage it, the happier your customers will be. In this article, we’ll show you which 15 steps lead to perfect customer service.
Before you start, you need to understand customer care
Before we reveal the secrets to perfect customer care, we first need to explain what customer service even means. Because in the eyes of many salespeople, it’s just a situation where a customer calls a phone line with a question. In a broader sense, however, customer service is any communication with a customer. It takes place in three phases:
Pre-sales customer service
In this phase, for example, you advise customers on product selection, answer comments on social media, reply to messages… in short, you are available to all potential customers.
Sales customer service
Sales customer service includes communication during the buying process – whether the customer contacts you or you contact them.
After-sales customer service
This category contains most of the activities you’re likely to associate with the term customer service: inquiries, complaints, returns, satisfaction surveys, repairs, and more.
Why bother with customer care at all?
Quality customer care will make customers feel positive about their purchase, so they’re much more likely to buy again. And vice versa: if you’re obnoxious and don’t accommodate them in any way, they’d rather buy from a competitor next time, even if it’s a few pennies more expensive.
Customer service specialist Dominik gives a concrete situation: ‘I’ll give you an example with a hairdresser. He doesn’t have to cut my hair perfectly, but because he has fast and good communication, meets me with deadlines and can possibly suggest a good alternative, I will book again. If he cuts my hair perfectly but then communicates with me in an unpleasant or slow manner, I will book elsewhere.”
In addition, a satisfied customer will write a testimonial and recommend you to friends. Great customer care is your added value and can be a significant competitive advantage.
Perfect customer service in 15 steps
Now let’s get to the main part! We have 15 tips for great customer care.
1. Be easily accessible
Customers want to contact you. Make it easy for them. Post your contact details in a visible place, give customers the option to send you a message via social media or create a contact form. The easier and faster the contact option is, the better.
2. Respond in a timely manner
Customers expect you to respond to an email within an hour and to a chat message within 45 seconds. Don’t keep them waiting. If you can’t keep up with answering the phone, you’d better hire new employees quickly. And if you don’t want to hire, or if your disruption is only short-term, you can outsource customer service. Anything is better than not getting a call from a customer.
3. Be interested in customer feedback
Ask customers for their opinion and let them know you care. They’ll see that you’re open to communication, and they’ll readily tell you their wants, needs and ideas. Plus, most customers prefer to buy from brands they feel interested in.
4. Set an appropriate tone of communication
Determine who your target audience is and set your customer communication style accordingly. It may seem like a small thing, but in the end, it contributes significantly to the overall impression of your brand. What questions should you ask yourself?
- How old are your customers?
- Are you going to tickle them or shout at them?
- Will you use technical terms?
- Will you use slang?
- Will you use emoticons in written communication?
- Do you want to sound more friendly or professional?
- Will you be more likely to explain your position or ask for the customer’s opinion?
It’s proven that you have a better psychological impact on customers when you personalize your communication with them. Therefore, find out as much information as possible about their situation before you contact them, and address them by name.
6. Correct your mistakes
No one is infallible – not even the best company in the world. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it and try to correct it. There are ways to do this that benefit both parties. For example, Dominic advises, “A great trick is discount coupons. I give the customer a discount coupon as an apology. The customer will be happy, they will buy with the coupon and the company will make a profit because even with the discount they are still in profit.”
7. Keep customers in the loop
The purchase doesn’t end when the payment is made. The customer is interested in what is happening with their order and when it will arrive. Have you packed the goods yet? Have you handed it over to the post office? Keep the customer informed about the status of the order via transactional emails.
8. Evaluate customer service
In order to improve customer care, you need to measure and evaluate it in some way. Some of the metrics you can track include:
- average call length
- average speed of answer
- number of inquiries answered per day
- number of complaints handled per month
9. Measure customer satisfaction
Evaluating customer satisfaction is often very difficult, even impossible in many cases. But you can measure satisfaction, at least partially, with simple smileys and stars in chat or on the product page. For a more extensive evaluation, you can send out a questionnaire by email.
Tip: If you want as many customers as possible to complete the survey, try to motivate them and offer them something for completing it – like a discount on their next purchase.
10. Prepare answers to the most common questions and objections
Monitor your communication with customers and identify which questions or objections are repeated most often. Then prepare responses to them. That way, you can respond promptly and with insight in every subsequent communication.
11. Be an expert
Customer support should be the last to know about the services or products you offer. Therefore, keep your employees who are responsible for customer care constantly educated and informed of any new developments. They should be able to answer most questions that customers ask them – not just about the product and its ingredients or uses, but about the industry.
12. If you don’t know the answer, admit it
Despite the previous point, if you don’t know something, you should admit it. In any case, do not make up an answer or make unsubstantiated assumptions. Rather, tell customers honestly that you don’t know and that you will find out the answer from a colleague within 15 minutes.
13. Keep all relevant information on the website
One way to have great customer service is to prevent customer service. How? Put everything important that customers are interested in and ask about frequently on the web. This will minimize the number of messages in your inbox and customers on the wire.
14. When you make a promise, keep it
Avoid making false promises, and if you tell a customer, you will do something, follow through. Otherwise, you risk disappointment and a very bad customer experience that will discourage that person from making further purchases.
15. Handle cross-sell and up-sell
When cross-selling and up-selling, don’t try to force and up-sell your customers at all costs. Only offer goods if the people in question might be interested in them. Similarly, try to pick the right moment when you are most likely to interest the customer.
Professional customer service increases customer satisfaction by up to 40 %
Dedicate yourself to the core of your business and leave customer support to us. We’ll answer the phone, respond to emails and handle orders. Customers will keep coming back to you, referring you to friends and writing positive reviews. Sound like something you’d like – look at what our service is all about.