Companies that sell products and services generally have two basic components to the value delivered to people. The first is the product or service itself. A more intangible component is an element of customer service that consumers expect when there is an issue that needs to be resolved.
When a product or service breaks, your customer service department receives calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts regarding the issue. Even if your product fails, make sure your customers are taken care of because doing so can lead to revenue growth from month to month if customers spread the word of wonderful experiences dealing with staffers.
Your employees must show customers that they care about the outcome of the customer service interaction, even if the situation seems dismal. First, reassure your clientele that the situation is important and you are sorry for the product breakdown. During the interaction, respond quickly to customer questions in the most sincere way possible. In an email, add personalized postscripts commenting on important details of the transaction.
Create more ways for customers to interact with customer service specialists, such as forums that increase dialogue between staff and clients. Take the feedback in open forums to heart, and pay attention to how customers interact with each other. Some suggestions for solving problems could be useful, and an open forum might give you clues as to how your competition operates and how your company should respond accordingly.
Social media represents a powerful tool for quick responses in the public view. When a customer has a complaint, tweet back to him quickly. If your interaction with the customer is public, that customer's Twitter followers and Facebook friends can see it. Word-of-mouth advertising, which is free, then spreads through social media by praising your company's efficient response to a problem. Social media lets your customer service team's personality show through to the outside world.
Surprise your customers occasionally by going above and beyond. Zappos does this by upgrading a customer's ground shipping to next-day air for free so that its customers sometimes receive their shoes faster than they expect. When you add pleasant surprises to your customer interactions, you earn repeat business over and over.
Be proactive and not defensive. When you see a problem, admit there is a problem in shipping or a misplaced order rather than waiting to hear a customer complaint. Consumers appreciate a company that notices a problem and tries to fix it rather than a business that sits back and refuses to do anything about it.
Even the most seasoned professionals in the business can use more hands-on training. Show examples of good work within your company to everyone. Send employees and new hires to specialized training sessions that expound on new techniques for dealing with customers.
All of these principles can be repeated over and over to promote viable customer service for customers. Repeatable success means repeat customers, who are the lifeblood of a business. The more repeat customers you have, the greater your revenue growth is likely to be due to word-of-mouth and increased sales.
Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net