We've already mentioned that it's now more important than ever for your business to be highly engaging with your customers and provide the best service you can. How you treat your customers holds a lot of weight on the perception of your brand! So...how can you start?
Many businesses today are more customer-centric than they’ve ever been before, and for good reasons. The numbers don’t lie: 84% of customers judge a company on its customer service. 76% say it’s easy to take their business elsewhere if you fall short, which means they won’t be sticking around if you’re taking two months to respond to their emails.
Unless you’ve invented glasses that can shoot lasers, chances are you’ve got quite a few competitors nowadays, even if people are raving over your prices and quality. One notable way to stand out from the crowd is through providing stellar customer experiences, particularly if it’s Yelp review or even screenshot-worthy. This starts from the sales process and should be infused across every channel. To get into the right mentality, start by truly understanding and empathizing with your customers and figure out how to best support them. According to Oracle, 74% of senior executives believe that customer experience is linked to their loyalty.
If you’re thinking “okay, sounds great, but I need money now! Is being nice going to pay my bills? Eh...” Yes, they will! 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, so making them happy also rewards you with a fatter bank account.
So where should you start? Depending on what your business is equipped for, here’s some initiatives to consider:
Make live customer support easier to access.
Have you ever felt the frustration of listening to several automated phone menus before reaching a live human being, only for the call to drop halfway through your first sentence? A lot of us have. It’s not surprising that something like that won’t reflect well on your brand.
Most social media platforms allow your customers to message you with the click of a button. If you can reliably respond to the messages, enable this. On your website, make sure your contact page is easy to navigate to, or just place your email address and phone number in the footer of every page. Be inclusive of your audience’s demographics, such as languages spoken.
Listen to what your customers are saying on social media, particularly in your social media comments.
It’s no secret that a lot of people really lose their inhibitions online. This applies to businesses as well, as some customers won’t hesitate to openly comment on how bland or offensive your new releases look on Instagram. As badly roasted as you may feel, pay attention if there’s a striking pattern going on or any notable comments.
An easy way to integrate social listening is through the right CRM, such as Salesforce Service Cloud. You can configure it to automatically detect the right phrases so you can solve the most pressing issues ASAP.
Remain friendly, honest, and professional even in the face of adversity.
It’s possible that your anticipated new releases could totally flop or a customer could receive a defective product. If a customer has a legitimate complaint, keep your cool no matter how incendiary they get. It’s possible they may calm down and understand your perspective -- just don’t actually say “calm down” verbatim because we all know that backfires. Even if you strongly disagree with their words, respond in a considerate, professional, friendly way. But maintain transparency: do not promise anything you can’t live up to.
Be proactive rather than just reactive.
Don’t want to deal with customers dishing out their frustrations online where everyone can see their pain? Make sure it doesn’t happen before it even happens. To do so, learn from your mistakes and thoroughly understand your customer journey. Take a walk in some of their shoes to see what their pain points, questions, and other needs are at different points in their journey.
Gaining enough knowledge and insights into your customer behavior and feedback can help you move forward in ways that won’t instigate the same problems you’ve already experienced. For example, a deep dive into your Instagram comments might reveal a pattern of customers not receiving their refunds in time or being yelled at by customer service. Brace yourself for some tough words and figure out how you can prevent these issues in the future.
Don’t hesitate to reroute issues to the right person.
If you don’t think you’re the most well-versed in tacitly responding to complaints of “I never got the product and now I want a refund even though it’s been six months” when you have a 30-day refund window, pass it off to someone who might be better than you. It’s important to make your customer feel heard and seen by the company...and not everyone will immediately know how to do that in every situation. You don’t want to risk an unseasoned team member making your business come off as insensitive, incompetent, or downright ignorant.
To seamlessly pass on a customer, it’s important that your service team has all the customer data in one place. If you’re working remotely and don’t know exactly when your coworker might be out at Starbucks, pick a customer relationship management system that has a mobile version like Salesforce.
Here at SM Innovations, we’re happy to be partners with Salesforce -- the world’s #1 CRM for 8 years in a row. We’ve been helping our clients implement it enough to watch their customer satisfaction improve, since every point listed above becomes noticeably easier to knock out when you’ve got a modern platform that consolidates your important customer data and educational articles to support the success of your team members. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you could use some help delighting your customers!