Don’t let shiny pennies or fancy trends distract you from what you know to be true.
It seems as if there’s a new customer service trend almost every day; one day, it’s all about automation, and the next, it’s about a fancy CRM. But customer service so often comes back to the same basic principles that have been helping companies get ahead for years. Here are three ways to return to those customer service basics to ensure that your company doesn’t get caught up in the rat race but instead creates a legacy that lasts.
Listen to Your Customers
The customer may not always be right, but the customer always has something valuable to share. When you first interact with a customer, you should ask how you can help him or her solve a problem. If a customer calls in with an issue, listen to see what bumps in the road he or she has encountered. After an interaction with a customer ends, send out a survey to get helpful feedback on how well your business served him or her. By constantly listening to your customers, you’ll be able to truly understand what they need and formulate better ways to help them in the future.
Practice Radical Transparency
Your refund policy, terms and conditions, and any disclaimers should be prominently featured on your website. Don’t be one of those companies that puts things in small fonts or raises prices without telling its customers. Basically, imagine someone complaining about his or her cable company and what he or she would say, and avoid those common complaints: rate jacking, sneaky business practices, or a lack of solid service. Radical transparency is always the right thing to do, and it will never go out of style.
Think of an old-fashioned general store where the sales clerk knows every customer who comes in. If a customer forgets his or her wallet when buying milk one day, the clerk will likely cut the person some slack, as the clerk knows he or she will see the customer around town. Of course, our communities rarely function like this anymore, and most of us aren’t running general stores. But rewarding customers who have returned to your shop again and again will pay off in the long run. Consider creating a loyalty program or simply giving longtime clients a discount to show your appreciation. If a customer has demonstrated loyalty to you, it’s easy to thank him or her for keeping your shop in business by cutting him or her a little metaphorical slack now and then.