We know businesses want their customers to be satisfied, but what we may not know is how both the businesses and customers define satisfaction.
At the highest level, I’d define it as solving customer problems, answering their questions in an expedient manner and tailoring responses to each customer’s needs.
That doesn’t sound too complicated, but we know it’s not as easy as it seems. Here are my top five tips on how to provide excellent customer service:
Providing Excellent Customer Service
- Hire the right people: As hard as you may try, you probably can’t train someone who doesn’t “get” good customer service.
- Show empathy: First and foremost, most people just want to be heard.
- Offer speedy responses: Put some “pep in your step” when you address issues that are important to your customers.
- Provide easy accessibility: Customers should be able to access their support team easily and quickly, without their call going into an endless queue. Far too often, the person who finally answers after the automated service can’t even resolve the issue. The lesson to learn is to have live people answering phones that are empowered to resolve problems. But this goes for responses on your website, as well. I’ve been amazed to see company websites that say they will respond to questions within one week! The point of electronic communication is rapid response.
- Ask your customers and then listen to them: Survey your clients about their needs and pay heed to what they tell you.
Surveying Your Clients
Speaking of asking your customers, their survey responses should be part of the metrics you collect as you measure your customer service. Ask them what you could have done better and whether they were satisfied with the timeliness and completeness of the response. To that, we have added:
1) Weekly management team meetings to review client responses
2) A system of client “touch points.” For example, our client reps contact new clients within seven days. They also contact every client at least quarterly to ask how they are and what they need.
Achieving High Customer Satisfaction
In our industry, self-help portals and platforms are important to customers who want easy access to resources. However, these tools must be supported by live, well-trained staff that is not outsourced, so they can provide the personal touch that some of your customers want and need.
I’ve heard people say that today’s customers are more demanding and harder to please. We focus more on the fact that all customers have different expectations. So, regardless of when they were born, how computer literate they are or how they like to communicate, they all want good customer service.
And, if we ask the right questions, listen to their answers and respond quickly and effectively, that’s exactly what we should be able to provide.