Quality customer service is at the center of many successful businesses. Companies providing the best customer service have high customer loyalty and easily win customers away from firms with lower service standards. Learn how to provide better customer service with lessons from companies with top customer service records.
The 2014 results from the Temkin Group's annual customer-service survey ranked 268 companies on the quality of their customer service. Airlines, health insurance companies, hotels and telecommunication companies consistently scored lower in the survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers than fast-food chains, grocery stores and financial institutions. Bruce Temkin, the managing partner of the Temkin Group, credits that difference to the steady stream of face-to-face customer interactions involved in the daily business of those companies that scored high in the survey. Here are a few customer service tips from the companies with the best customer service.
Focus on the Customer
Companies with the best customer service records give each individual customer their full attention during every customer interaction. Multitasking gives customers the feeling that they do not matter. Remember that customers represent all of their friends and family. A quality interaction that leaves the customer feeling special leads to good reviews to all the potential customers he knows. A bad interaction is even more likely to lead to bad reviews that reduce your client base.
Solve Problems Quickly
When there is a problem, listen to the customer to fully understand his concerns, and then solve the problem as quickly as possible. When necessary, provide restitution. Companies with the best customer service records empower all employees who have direct customer interactions to make the decisions necessary to solve customer issues. Whenever possible, avoid deferring customer complaints to a manager or a later time. A quick resolution leads to happy customers who know you care.
Be Responsive to Feedback
Bring your customer service up to the next level by creating change in response to customer feedback. The best customer service goes an extra step by looking at company policies that cause problems and working to fix them so the customer's needs are better met. For example, Amazon, one of the top-rated companies in the Temkin survey, gives customers automatic refunds when they experience customer service issues. Trader Joe's, another top-rated company, stocks items in local stores in response to local customer requests. Changing company policy for a better customer experience increases customer loyalty and trust. When problems occur in the future, customers are more likely to forgive the company instead of getting angry and taking their business elsewhere.
Customer service tips from firms with top-rated customer service records include maintaining a customer focus, fast problem resolution and an overall responsiveness to consumer needs. Satisfied customers are loyal customers who will promote your business to all of their contacts. Focus on providing the best customer service for contented customers and future business growth.
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