Competition for customers and clients is fierce in the modern economy, where both consumers and businesses expect ever more from each other.
However, there is one aspect that has remained steadfast from the origins of contemporary consumerism up until today; customer service.
Delivering a great customer experience is crucial for companies looking to acquire and retain an army of loyal patrons. Nevertheless, even knowing this, too many organizations fail to capitalize on this simple factor and suffer as a result.
This post will explore a few actionable insights that can help these companies elevate the customer experience and boost satisfaction, hopefully resulting in a boost to sales.
Pay Attention To Shifting Trends
Those who fail to stay current with the latest trends are destined to fail. This might sound harsh, but if you want to see it in action, you need not look further than the car crash that was the demise of Blackberry.
Paying close attention to the waxing and waning of consumer trends and preferences can help you choose which travel direction is best suited for your organization. However, trends do not always manifest in the most blatant ways and may occasionally include other things.
For example, over the past decade, there have been moves by consumers to demand more privacy and protection for their data. This has been characterized as layers of legislation that preclude businesses from harvesting too much data.
While this has undoubtedly been a boon for the end user, it has created an array of problems for companies that want to market their products successfully.
Fortunately, a few enterprising businesses have turned this issue to their advantage and developed platforms that enable firms to continue marketing with a twist. One particularly innovative solution, SafeOpt by AddShoppers, has developed a system combining a consumer-facing product with a B2B option.
The B2C section convinces users to sign up and agree to receive marketing materials based on their preferences. It allows B2B customers to use them as long as they adhere to their requirements surrounding usage.
This results in a win-win situation whereby businesses can continue marketing to highly targeted people who have agreed to receive information, and consumers get access to lots of offers and deals based on the sorts of things they will buy anyway.
Respond Promptly To Customer Inquiries
There is nothing worse than losing business because you failed to respond to an inquiry in time. It’s both frustrating in that you lost a sale and also because you failed to create systems to ensure this never happens.
Delayed (or non-existent) responses give the impression that you don’t value your customers’ time or concerns. Even just a few hours of waiting can negatively impact brand perception.
The good part is that there are numerous tools to avoid these delays, including setting up automated responses that let people know that you have received their questions and will answer ASAP.
Nonetheless, you should aim to answer immediately, which can engender a considerable amount of trust and loyalty. Additionally, with digital channels such as live chat and social media, most consumers expect real-time interactions.
You should utilize these technologies and staff them appropriately to minimize what is basically an avoidable issue. Essentially, In the digital age, providing 24/7 support coverage with fast response times should be the norm, not the exception.
Tech-savvy customers will flock to companies that prioritize their needs with urgency. For modern businesses, super-responsive customer service is simply the cost of doing business.
Ensure That Your Team Has Adequate Training
Following on from the previous point about manning your communication channels correctly, you should ensure that your staff is fully trained in how to deliver exceptional customer service.
Although the time of teaching employees that “the customer is always right” is well and truly behind us (especially in the eyes of younger employees), a bit of training will go a seriously long way.
Conversely, without the porer training, staff will struggle to handle issues effectively or provide a smooth experience. Investing in ongoing service training ensures they have the skills available to address problems, calm frustrations regarding a product or service, and represent your brand the way you want it to be perceived.
Offer Frictionless Returns And Exchanges
If you want to get on the good side of your customers, it’s vital to offer a seamless returns or exchange procedure. Sure, no business wants to have to return a product or lose money, but enabling genuine cytometers to return or exchange something they didn’t want or was faulty will garner a tremendous amount of respect.
Accepting returns and exchanges without question demonstrates a retailer cares about the customer’s experience first and foremost. This builds immense goodwill and loyalty.
On the other hand, imposing restrictive policies and cumbersome processes frustrates shoppers. As long as you make it abundantly clear what your policies are on your website, you will find that most customers are honest and simply need help.
Listen To Customer Feedback Regularly
As is the case with life in general, if you spend some time simply listening rather than talking, you will gain exclusive insights into a wide range of topics. Actively soliciting and listening to customer feedback provides retailers with invaluable insights to improve satisfaction and, ultimately, increase sales. You can achieve this by monitoring review sites, social media commentary, or even teaming up with survey companies that will send out properly designed questionnaires. These surveys will provide you with quantitative data that you can use to improve the experience. Leading retailers have dedicated customer experience teams that synthesize feedback enterprise-wide. They turn the customer’s voice into action plans that raise satisfaction scores.
Respond To Customer Complaints Promptly
In the same vein as the section on getting back to people quickly regarding inquiries, you should try to resolve complaints as soon as possible. There is a truism that states you can have ten happy customers, and perhaps only one will offer a good review. However, ten unhappy customers will produce ten negative reviews. This is unfair, but nothing is given when in business, and you need to roll with the punches to succeed. Slow complaint resolution risks losing patronage at a time when consumers have ample choice. A customer with a bad experience will turn to a competitor if their issue goes unaddressed. On the flip side, turning critics into advocates is possible with rapid response. In retail, customer complaints are an opportunity to showcase top-notch service recovery. Resolving matters swiftly and fairly reinforces trust in the brand.
Making your customers happy is easy; all it takes is a step back and double-checking your processes. By implementing the tips laid out here, you will stand out among your peers and foster an image of trustworthiness and reliability.