The most important thing you can do to improve relationships with your customers is to improve customer service. No matter how great your product is or how talented your staff is, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company. Your customer service team is often the face of your company, and customers’ experiences will be defined by the skill and quality of the support they receive. A strong company will already have great customer relationships. But a smart company will always be asking “What is quality customer service?” If you are not constantly on the lookout for opportunities to improve your customer service, then your relationships will stagnate. Here are some ways you can improve customer service:
- Strengthen your customer service skills
Customer service is a skill that every employee must master if they are forward-facing with customers. Without them, you run the risk of finding your business in an embarrassing customer service train-wreck, or you’ll simply lose customers as your service continues to let people down. It’s important to make sure that your customer service team has the right skills for your managing customers’ needs. No amount of CRM software can compensate for shortcomings in this area.
- Look at every touch point
A bad customer experience at any point in the customer life cycle can ruin your relationship. In addition to making sure the right skills are demonstrated, you need to be sure they’re being demonstrated consistently. Pay the most attention to key touch points, but make sure you have a full view of the customer experience, or you risk lapses in service that can really hurt business.
- Improve your customer interactions
If your staff has the necessary skill set, that’s a good start. But they still need to relate to your customers. Here are some tips for making customer interaction is both thorough and well received:
- Appropriate – both the context of the interaction and cultural tone of the interaction meet the needs of the customer.
- Relevant – the function performed by the interaction meets the requirements of the customer.
- Meaningful – the interaction was perceived as important or purposeful by the customer.
- Endearing – the interaction created some form of bond with the customer.
- Make sure your representatives are engaged
You can have the best customer service skills and the best training in the world, but if your reps are checked out, it won’t matter at all. Improving employee engagement is another way to make sure customers have a great experience. Dissatisfied employees are unlikely to come forward with their problems, so consider an anonymous suggestion box or an employee engagement survey to see what makes your employees tick.
- Give customers a way to provide feedback
No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. To make sure you learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly experience your customers have, create an easily accessible way for customers to give feedback. Whether it’s a phone survey at the end of a service call, an email survey sent directly from your CRM tool, or a form on the “Contact Us” page of your website, creating a means for customers to give feedback makes it easier for you to learn what needs improvement. It also helps keep unhappy customers from voicing their displeasure on highly visible places like your social media pages.