Everybody remembers an outstanding customer service experience. We don’t just remember it, we talk about it. We tell family, friends, and people we work with about how someone working for a business made us feel special, and did their job so well. It could have been a smile, a kind word, a discount, a free delivery, or something totally unexpected. Whatever it was, it made us want to buy again from the business and talk the business up.
Research has consistently shown that the businesses that thrive and prosper are the businesses that succeed in giving their customers a consistently superior experience. Satisfied customers are likely to relate their positive experience with a company to an average of nine other people.
But here’s the rub: customers who have had a negative experience are likely to tell 16 people about it.
Given the impact that customer service will have on business reputation — and therefore also the bottom line — what should you be doing to ensure your customers are truly impressed by their experiences with your business?
First, Focus on Your Employees
The fact is that the customer experience depends on the employee experience. Valued, trusted employees who are fairly compensated and satisfied with their jobs will make the business work to your customers’ favor (and yours!). Conversely, unhappy, poorly motivated, or resentful employees will break a business. Employees who feel empowered and valued will take the extra steps to ensure that customers get what they want — and then some.
Think about what procedures or systems you can create that can help you identify your customer-focused employees early on and what measures you need to take to keep them motivated and enthusiastic. Pay and benefits matter, of course, but many people are equally motivated by respect, trust, encouragement, and increasing on-the-job responsibilities. Workers who endure a culture of negativity and criticism will pass the suffering on to each other, and outward to the customers they’re meant to serve.
Look closely at how your business operates. Review your delivery, billing, and dispute-resolution processes to determine if they give your customers a seamless, trouble-free experience. Customers want convenience and will do business with companies that are easy to work with.
Provide a Customized Experience
How well do you know your customers? There are numerous tools available that can help you analyze the buying patterns of your customers and use that data to craft special offers and special pricing for them. You can segment customers into groups so that you can provide a highly personalized experience to each of them. Doing so makes your business stand out from the crowd and leaves your customers feeling special.
Make Your Business Accessible Through All Channels
If you are not using every communications channel available, you are probably not being as effective as you could be in reaching your customer base. Social channels, messaging apps, and online chat rooms all encourage customers to connect to your business. Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for customers to find what they need, get prompt and helpful answers to questions they have, and to buy what they want. Making your business accessible through every channel is just one other way of delivering memorable customer service.
Also make sure that post-sales service is just as accessible, easy, and rewarding in the customer experience. Errors are inevitable, but do not have to persist. Make sure your company’s error correction is seamless and painless to customers, both before and after point of sale. Then also have tracking mechanisms and process improvement procedures in place to prevent the same errors from recurring. It really makes a positive impression when a customer finds that not only did your business fix their complaint, but fixed it so they have no reason to make that same complaint again!
Emphasize the Human Connection
Let your staff know that personal interaction is still critically important even in the digital age. Customers should be greeted as soon as they show up in person or contact the business through any channel — whether by phone, email, or text chat. Follow-up calls to ensure that customers are satisfied with their purchase and their overall experience can help identify issues before they escalate into problems. They also serve to reinforce your business’s commitment to outstanding customer service for the long haul.
Delivering superior customer service consistently is just one of the many challenges that businesses face. Other challenges — financial, strategic, and logistical — are always present. But the customers are always ultimately the source of the financial top line — the sales revenue.
Cater to the source of the top line — the customers — and the bottom line has better odds of staying healthy.
The input of an experienced financial professional can help business owners navigate all of these business challenges. The expert accountants at Baum CPA are ready and eager to help you! If own a business (or just thinking about starting or acquiring your own business entity) and want to address the financial, strategic, and logistical challenges with a knowledgeable and reliable professional, make an appointment for a FREE consultation today. Just click this link. There is no charge for our first session.