If you caught my recent Marketer Monday video, you know just how important it is to listen and respect your customers. Respecting customers and treating them well should be Great Customer Service 101. It doesn’t even take much to ensure that you’re treating your customers like they deserve.
Still, many businesses are overlooking the huge payoff that comes with a base of satisfied customers! Great customer service pays off big time; happy customers buy more and bring in valuable referrals.
Treating your customers with respect and listening to their feedback is the cornerstone of some of the most successful, loyalty-inducing companies. If you follow these practices for great customer service, you too can expect your business to succeed and grow.
Respect Your Customers
As many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Source
Happy customers love sharing their experiences with friends (especially all over social media), but customers also share the bad experiences. So it’s easy to see how word-of-mouth can work against your company’s brand and reputation for years.
- Never place blame, instead show immediate action and solutions when things get messed up.
- Never refer to your customers as customers, use ‘guests’ or ‘students’ instead.
- Deliver on what you promised.
- Give them a choice to opt-out or control how
- “The Customer is Always Right,” create a customer service policy that proves that to your customers.
Keep Your Ears Open
According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. Source
Your customers are the backbone of your company or business. Not dealing with their reasonable requests or feedback will put you in a world of hurt (one that’s very hard to come back from). When listening to their feedback, take into account what changes your business can make and then follow through!
Here are some easy quick methods to listening to feedback from customers:
- Focus groups
- Social media
- Email/web forms
- Communities, groups, and forums
Finally, take a moment to speak with unhappy customers and do everything possible to fix the situation. Not only will you be avoiding any negative word-of-mouth coverage, but you might be able to keep their business.
Be Honest and Transparent
In 2016, 56% of those surveyed said they would be loyal to a company for life if it provided complete transparency. Source
Trust is so important between a business and its customers that it will take 12 positive service experiences to make up for just one negative experience.
Be transparent by keeping your customers in the know and you’ll quickly build their trust. No matter how small your company is, when there are positive or negatives changes that will impact them let them know beforehand.
Looking for an example of a great, transparent company? Check out the letter Zappos’ CEO wrote for his employees after their Amazon buyout. The letter was additionally publicly posted to their website.
Be Kind and Gracious
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Source
Just like your mother taught you, saying your ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ will take you very far. You should never hold back from showing your gratitude and graciousness for your customers’ business or engagement. Humbly expressing to them how thankful and appreciative you are is a surefire way to build a long-term relationship with your customers.
Long gone are the days when competitive pricing was the most effective way to build a business that lasts. As buyer empowerment and competition merge, the experience and service that the customer receives is quickly becoming one of the top competitive advantages for marketers.
With effective customer service practices in place, you and your business are ready to hit the path towards better customer loyalty, more word-of-mouth referrals, and increased profits!