In the age of a huge online competition, it might be difficult to stand out from the crowd. The companies that win customers’ hearts have a couple of things in common: great quality of their products, their own brand identity, and exceptional customer service. In this post, I’ll show you what the most important customer service traits for your customers, for your business and for your revenue are.
#1. Exceed your customer’s expectationsThere is a huge difference between being customer-focused and customer-centric. The difference is, while customer-focused thinking is about what customers want now and being customer-centric is about what customers might need in the future. A simple example: a customer contacts you asking if you’re going to offer any special deals for Black Friday. You think it over and you decide to send a discount code to your customer base. Of course, it’s good that you’re customer-focused. But if your organization was customer-centric, you’d know that your clients expect Black Friday discounts before they have to ever ask you about it. How do I anticipate my customers’ needs, you might ask. Well, the response is one: big data. Once you start to gather information about your customers, you will be able to find some patterns that will help you to predict your customer’s behavior. There are some basic metrics that you will surely see in your Google Analytics like unique visitors, page views or average time spend on your website. These metrics are important, but you should rather focus on:
- Traffic sources: it will let you understand where your customers are coming from, what the channels they like the most are and where you can reach them.
- New/unique visitor conversion: learn how many of your website visitors turn into your customers.
- Return visitor conversion: how many of them have already bought from you? How many of them made their first purchase? What made them come back to you?
#2. Make real relationshipsCustomer experience is not limited to direct contact with customers or purchases. Every time people visit your website, your marketing materials (like social media posts, advertisements, or blog posts), even when they talk about you with their friends, it’s all a part of customer experience. Here are a couple of strategies you might want to implement to be closer to your clients:
- Communication is the key, do it often. Starting with “nice to have you on board” emails through your newsletters and promotions to social media channels. Make this communication more personal (greet your customers by name, write relevant information, send emails as a person, e.g. Mike from Shop, not Shop No Reply).
- Learn about customer preferences and needs. I already wrote about big data, but you can also talk to your customers in person, discuss with them on social media, learn what they like and dislike, what are their problems and how to solve it. It’s a great source of knowledge that will help you to build trust!
- Reward your loyal customers. Nothing boosts customer satisfaction the way rewards do. A nice email with information “We’re happy that you’re our customers for a year now. As a token of thanks, please accept a promo code for your next purchase!”
#3. Give as much as you canA great challenge in customer service is you to try to give as much as you can without worrying that your customers will want to get more and more. Look at it this way: if your customer asks you for something and you say “I’m sorry, this is not what we offer,” you’re drawing a line and create a negative experience. You can tell yourself: this is a small thing, we could give it to them and could make them happy.” Every time you get a request or a complaint from your customer, think about it strategically. You might not agree to do what they were are asking for, but would you win anything? Maybe in long-term, it will be more beneficial for you to bend your rules and agree on what your customer asks to create the extraordinary experience? Here’s how Adam Toporek described this problem in one of the Business Sidekick episodes:
If you’ve ever had your drink messed up in Starbucks, what do they do? You say: hey, this is wrong and they don’t question you, they don’t push back, they immediately make you another drink and hand it to you. They don’t blink. Why? Because the customer lifetime value of the average customer at Starbucks, at least in US dollars, is somewhere like 12.000-14.000 dollars. Why would they make you mad over a cup of coffee that costs them 50 cents? And that’s the way you should look at it, you should understand the value of that customer and are you really gonna tick somebody off or you’re gonna make a 5 dollar problem into a 500 or 5000 dollar problem.It really makes you think, right?
What does exceptional customer service meanExceptional customer service means giving everything you can to your customers. And it’s not only about products that you ship to them. It’s also not only about seamless buying experience and nice service; but it’s also about building relationships with your customers, building trust and certain emotions that will be linked to your brand in the future. Marketing and PR are based on human emotions. If someone had a bad experience while trying to do business with you, regardless if it was a simple return or a shipping issue, they will think badly about your brand. From another side, if you show them that you can be trusted, that you care about your relationship, they will not only want to buy from you again, they will also become your brand ambassadors. Cover photo by Chris Goldberg via Creative Commons.
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