By Elizabeth Lee
September 12, 2016 - Customer service has changed, and it’s no longer good enough to be reactive. You now need to ensure that your support system is proactive and out in front of your customers' needs before they become needs. You must go out and engage with your customers before your competitors get the opportunity. Here’s a look at some of the top strategies that you can employ to match (if not eclipse) your competition.
Be Available. One of the biggest mistakes that companies can make is to hide their customer support information. A customer should be able to visit your website and find a phone number, an email address, and vibrant social media channels. It may seem incredible, but 41% of companies still don’t have that information visible on their websites. Make yourself available digitally or you risk losing half your customer base before they even have the opportunity to talk to you.
Help Them Help You. A satisfied customer is more likely to return for your business or recommend you to their network (which is vital in the social economy). Being proactive means giving your customers the option to find the answers to their customer inquiry(s) themselves. Not everyone likes having to call or email to ask a question. This extra effort mayhey may actually deter them from making a purchase – unless that information is made already available. An FAQ page or help database on your website is essential. You may also choose to provide troubleshooting guides.
Find Them Elsewhere. One member of your customer service team at minimum should be seeking out customer complaints and queries from indirect sources. A customer may post on social media using your company name or a hashtag rather than tagging your corporate account directly. They may post on other websites or forums with questions about how something works. Consider designating a customer service representative to track down and answer these particular kinds of inquiries. Not only does this help that particular customer, but also it helps countless others who may search for answers online rather than getting in touch.
Ask for Feedback. The only way to know for sure what is and is not working within your business is to survey what customers think. Therefore, you need to ask them. Consider having a feedback form or requesting reviews in a purchase confirmation email. Make that same feedback form also available on your website. Use surveys to ask your mailing list for opinions from time to time, and make sure to check social media and other review websites for feedback as well. It's important to not only source that feedback, but to also ultimately act on it.
Own Up. When things go wrong, the immediate response may be to bury your head in the sand and hope no one notices. But they will notice, and they will be angry. The best way to deal with any complain is to own it. Head them off from the start by sending out an apology email as soon as you spot the problem. Let the customer know that you genuinely care about solving the issue. Consider offering a discount or other compensation if appropriate. You should also outline how you are taking action to resolve the situation and prevent it from happening in the future. The emphasis is on building brand loyalty. Taking the proactive step of owning up to your mistakes will gain you respect in the eyes of your customer.
Never assume that the customer is going to come to you with their comments. It’s important that you go to them and make customer service as easy for them as possible.
About the Guest Author
Elizabeth Lee is a self-taught blogger and content marketer working at Pack & Send transport and logistics specialists. Elizabeth often shares her tips pertaining to establishing and sustaining a business through her writings.