Customer service is a differentiator that has the power to set you apart from the competition. In the long-run, the way you treat and interact with customers can make or break your company. It’s hard to remain successful without thoughtful, responsive, and effective customer service. In fact, it’s nearly impossible unless you’re monopolizing the market.
The entire customer experience is a dynamic process that requires continual refinement and evaluation. You can’t just set it and forget it. It should be an ongoing priority. No matter how great a product is, if your customers feel they’re not important to you, they’ll take their business elsewhere. A customer might love your product, but if you don’t value them in return, don’t be surprised if they don’t stick around.
A lot of companies make it way too easy for customers to leave. They set up barriers to avoid bombarding customer service reps with repetitive questions. They drag out the contact process and direct people to online help centers that only answer general questions. In reality, most companies create customer service processes around internal needs, not what customers need. It should be the other way around.
Providing great customer service will probably inconvenience you at one point or another. It will require you to work a bit harder and put in a little extra effort, but when you watch first-time customers become repeat customers, it’s worth it. Long-term loyalty starts here.
4 Ways to Improve Customer Service & Loyalty
Be accessible. Eliminate the barriers that prevent your customers from receiving the help they deserve. Barriers can include long lists of phone menu options, AI-powered chatbots, and extensive ticketing processes, among others. Provide easy-to-access contact information on your website so customers know you’re willing and eager to help. If you make it too difficult for people to reach you, they’re going to turn to a company that does it better.
Be responsive. Don’t let emails, help tickets, and voicemails pile up. Respond quickly and be attuned to customer needs so they aren’t left waiting. Usually, when a customer needs help they need it right away—not hours later.
Be available when your customers need you. Think about when your customers are using your product and when you need to be available. If you sell a software product, your customers are probably going to need the most help during the work day. If you sell kitchen gadgets, your customers are probably more likely to use the products in the evening when cooking dinner. Standard business hours might be convenient for you, but your customer might need support at other times, too.
Respect your customers’ time. Customers spend so much time with chatbots, waiting on hold, dealing with tiered support processes, and sifting through phone menu options. When customers need help, they want to get straight to the point. Don’t send them running through a maze. An extensive support process might be easier for your company, but it’s not easy for the ones who use it. In the long run, it’s a recipe for lost customers.