In the society of today, the quality of customer service can have a huge impact on a brand's image, positively or negatively, and many young entrepreneurs are failing to understand this on their way to becoming a leading global brand.
From my studies and relationship with companies, it is quite clear that many entrepreneurs think they are leading the charge when it comes to quality delivery in products and services, and creating innovative user experience. However, it is quite glaring that most SMEs are falling flat in the eyes of the customers.
In fact, according to a statistic on customerthink.com, it was revealed that 93% of customer experience initiatives are failing and this is having a great deal in companies success.
Below are a few uncommon ways by which entrepreneurs can improve the quality of their customer service.
1. Start With Your Staff
Many young entrepreneurs today make the mistake of catering more for the product and/or service than the producers of the product. They are particularly product-driven than they are people-driven. By this, the 'producers' lose motivation which is delivery.
On this, Richard Branson hits the nail on the head with his famous quote: "The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers." You won't have happy customers if you don't have happy staff. It is quite unfair to expect your team to work diligently on their toes if you have not provided them with the right tools and motivation.
Tools like CRM now allow companies to provide a good support system, which in turn helps to provide better service. This also increases their urge to work effectively and gives them job satisfaction.
2. Build and Enhance Your Customer Service Strategy
According to Hubspot, "If customer experience (CX) refers to the sum of every interaction a customer has with a business, both pre- and post-sale, the customer experience strategy defines the actionable plans in place to deliver a positive, meaningful experience across those interactions."
Your staff may have the necessary skill set, but that's not all; it's just a good start. They still need to relate to the customers. What organizational strategies can you employ to satisfy your customers? You may need to practice proactive customer service by working towards making your customers happy even before they come to you for their needs. Here are a few ways to achieve that:
Dare to know your customers: Every customer wants to feel important when relating to service providers. So they'd rather want to feel like they are relating with real people, not FAQs or chat bots. You can also take advantage of social media and respond to mentions, comments and posts on your page. This shows the customers how much you care about their inputs.
Create Communities: Undoubtedly, customers will feel more valuable when you treat them as important members of an active community. This is possible through Social media, webinars, contests, trade fairs, and conventions.
Be Readily Available: According to Chatbots Magazine, 67% of people expect to see/use messaging apps when talking to a business, and Oracle, from a recent study, speculated that nearly eight out of 10 businesses have already implemented or are planning to adopt AI as a customer service solution by 2020 (REF). Are you prepared?
Be Responsive: For some customers, responsiveness is paramount to their satisfaction. When not satisfied, many customers downgrade companies online for late or poor feedbacks. Jeff Bezos once said, "If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends."
3. Offer Educational and Appropriate Knowledge to Your Customers
Customer service shouldn't only be about being responsive, you can also be creative in offering customers adequate knowledge related to your brand. For instance, if you offer health services, you can use your Twitter account to easily connect with your patients, while using your Instagram or Facebook account to share health-related tips. By this, you would have also created an easily accessible way for customers means to give feedback.
When you share knowledge with your customers, the results and feedbacks you get will help you stay proactive in the needs of your customer. It doesn't matter what medium you have used, whether it's an educational blog, the company website or social media, what is more important is the information you get which makes it easier for you to learn what needs improvement.
More so, you will not only discover services that needs improvement, but even the customers will notice your dedication to providing quality proactive customer service.
4. Take Advantage of Negative Feedback
Of course, nobody likes to be criticized even though it's sometimes unavoidable. In same manner, nobody wants to receive the negative comments and feedbacks about themselves or their business, but whatever criticism is to success, so also is negative feedbacks to business.
Therefore, instead of getting demotivated, why not take it as an opportunity to turn your customer's experience around? Receiving all sorts of feedbacks ultimately helps your company to learn and grow. In fact, when you address a negative feedback or complaint with care, it shows customers that their voices are heard and that no customer is without value. That will in turn, increase engagement and customer loyalty.
5. Set Measurable Customer Service Goals
You may wonder, how does this affect the customer service of your company? Well, you're about to see that.
You may begin by analyzing your vision and mission, are you still in tune with your approaches? Once this is done, it's now time to consider your annual goals. Have you broken them down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly measurable goals? Research has shown that more than 60% employees had wasted time doing less important work because they were unaware of the more prioritized work.
A team leader should set smart customer-related goals to fulfill company's objectives and these should be designed in such a way that every employee feels motivated to hit the target. Once you start working towards achieving the goal, take feedbacks and measure results at regular time. Below are few things that should be kept in mind while setting such goals:
- Goals should be specific and relatable enough and not too vague.
- Goals should be clearly measurable.
- Goals should be set in a realistic time frame in which they can be achieved.