Make Your Customers Happy By Enhancing Your Communication Strategy
Every business wants to offer good customer service, but most don’t have a solid customer service strategy. Most companies have a general idea of what not to do – be disrespectful, lose your temper, lie, etcetera. However, when it comes to an actual policy, most small businesses rarely have an organized service strategy. This lack of a cohesive approach is a missed opportunity for such a vital component of your business. Fortunately, crafting a customer service communication strategy doesn’t need to cost you anything more than time.
At AccessDirect, we pride ourselves on our customer service, which sets our small business apart from our larger corporate competitors. Over the last 25 years, we’ve developed a secret sauce for our customer service strategy that works well for our company and clients. Here are a few tips from our game plan you can use to enhance (or start building) your business’s customer service approach.
- Tone Matters. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, how reasonable your prices are, or how convenient your location is. If you don’t address your customers in a friendly and professional manner, you won’t keep their business. No matter how you answer your customers – in person, over the phone, through social media, or by text – your tone conveys your attitude, interest, and identity towards your clientele. Because every interaction is different, it’s essential to remember that a universal approach won’t work.Listen to how your customer is addressing you, and respond in kind. If your customer is being formal, be formal yourself. Matching your customer’s tone is especially important if they are frustrated or English is not their primary language. However, if they’re being more casual (and there isn’t a serious issue being discussed), that’s an opportunity to lighten up a bit. Match and tailor your tone to each interaction. Doing this keeps your customer service appropriate to each situation while ensuring your service team sounds like people and not automatons.
- Throw Out The Script. Managers love to have their customer service employees use scripts when speaking to customers. They believe it gives them control over their agents’ responses and ensures uniform responses to every client. That’s precisely why these scripts frustrate callers and employees.Every caller is an individual and has a unique situation. Applying a one-size-fits-all approach does everyone involved a disservice. Pushing employees to read scripts rather than use their knowledge of your product and business reflects poorly on them and your company. When speaking with callers, making a personal connection is key to keeping them happy and potentially creating word-of-mouth referrals. You can’t do that from a standardized script.
- Actively Listen. Too often, performance metrics and pressure from management can force customer service agents to burn through calls as quickly as possible rather than focus on providing exemplary service. This style of service is a big problem for your employees and customers. Instead of focusing on the number of calls answered, focus on the quality of the service delivered. A key to doing so is to encourage active listening between your staff and your callers.Active listening means engaging with your customers in a real conversation, making an effort to comprehend what they’re saying. Interject with points of your own or make affirmative sounds to demonstrate you’re paying attention during the conversation and repeating what they’ve said during the resolution phase of the call for their confirmation. More simply, it means paying attention, having empathy, and making an effort. It takes time, but it also pays dividends.
- Manage Expectations. Overpromising when trying to close a sale or resolve an issue can be easy. Ultimately, however, when you cannot meet the unrealistic level you’ve set, it can lead to significant problems for your team and your customers. Realistically managing expectations is not only the right thing to do but also ensures your customers can make informed purchase decisions in the future.Ultimately managing expectations comes down to telling the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unpleasant it may be. Letting your customers know your actual deliverables and timeframe in a situation builds trust and creates an attainable level set. Even better, it gives you a chance to overdeliver, which is always better than the alternative.
- Follow Up. It seems simple. A customer reports an issue that requires time to solve. You promise to contact them with updates or to let them know when you’ve resolved their problem. Easy. However, a quick scan of online reviews for any business shows that this part of the customer experience can quickly fall apart. Tracking customer service issues and providing prompt follow-ups keeps your customers in the loop and indicates that you are paying attention to their specific needs.However, following up with customers shouldn’t be limited to when they have problems. Thoughtful check-ins with customers to ensure they’re happy with your product or service are a powerful tool to keep your business front of mind. You can also use these opportunities to inform your customers about new features. Remember, however, that these follow-ups are best used as customer service contacts, not sales calls.
These are all tips we at AccessDirect have used to great success since 1997 to serve our customers. We understand how frustrating it can be to deal with your phone system. That’s why we endeavor to make it as easy as possible and make it as hands-off (or hands-on, if you prefer) as you would like. Plus, we can get a fully featured week-long demo, customized for your business, set up within a business day. Call or chat with us today to experience our customer service difference for yourself!