3 Steps to Quality Customer Service
How you interact with your customers has a direct impact on the vitality of your business. So it’s wise to decide upfront what your standards will be for customer service and then stick with them as you move forward. Here are three steps to quality relationships with your customers:
Listening to other people always requires a posture of wanting to learn and grow. It’s far too easy to become defensive because the tendency is to hold onto what you’re used to and defend how you do things. Start by trying to see the matter from your customers’ perspective. You can increase communication with your clients by conducting regular surveys (add them to your website, offer them in paper form at your place of business or reach out through phone or email). Even better, you can initiate conversations with customers when they come to your business. Carefully consider the type of information you want to gain – asking good questions is an art in itself. All of this will show that you care about their thoughts.
Once you have obtained your customers’ feedback, make sure to follow up in a timely manner over the phone or in person when possible. Whether you receive positive or negative feedback this will make for better communication than if you only use online avenues, and it will help maintain or even grow the connection between you and your customers. Your extra effort to personally connect will encourage your customers to continue returning and consequently help your business thrive. Also, ask followup questions, including clarifying questions to make sure you heard them right and understood what they were trying to communicate. Propose ideas for improvement and get their feedback so they know you’re taking their opinions to heart.
Finally, match your actions with your words by initiating the necessary changes to offer your customers a more satisfactory experience. You may need to talk with your staff members about how they can refine their customer service skills, add to or adjust your current products and services, or make practical tasks like billing easier for your customers. But remember: There are also times when a customer may refuse to be satisfied no matter what you do, so be discerning with what you change and how you respond to negative feedback that isn’t constructive criticism. Essentially, do the best you can and always remember to give yourself grace.
Customer service is an active, ongoing job – but it will pay off in the end.