According to American Express Survey in 2011, 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Alarmingly, US businesses alone annually lose an estimated $83 billion due to poor customer service.
It’s a known fact that it is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Today I want to focus on an extremely important part of your business that can help you boost your revenue almost instantly – customer service.
Here are the 5 no cost strategies to improve customer service in your company.
1. Look at every touch point
Bad customer service can cause you to lose your customer at any stage of the relationship. It’s not enough to wow new people with the value, you need to continue taking a good care of them to win their relationship. Reward the customers that have been with you for some time now with special services and deals to seal their commitment to your brand. Understand frustrations they face and hoops they need to jump through, then try to improve their experience.
2. Strengthen your customer service skills
Here are some of the key skills your customer service will need to develop in order to improve their contact with customers:
- Patience – People don’t usually call customer service because they have a wonderful day and want to share it with your people. People call because they have a problem, some of them have been trying to fix it themselves, but all of them will be frustrated and looking for help. Your people at all customer touch points will need to practice patience to move conversations forward.
- Listening – Clarify and rephrase what customer says to ensure you understand them.
- Ability to use “positive language” – You can say exact same thing differently. Train your people to use positive way of explaining recommended solutions. (E.g. You can’t order this product because it hasn’t come out yet. Vs. Let me add you to our waiting list for this product. It will be launching next month and you’ll be the first one we’ll inform.)
- Time management skills – Stop trying to persuade customer where you clearly can’t win. Focus on what needs to be said and done and leave the rest.
3. Give your customers (and employees) a way to provide feedback
The two incredibly valuable sources of information you can tap into immediately are your existing customers and your employees.
Your customers experience the frustrations, they know the hassles associated with the use of your products or services. Ask them to give you feedback, fill out short customer satisfaction surveys, to help you improve customer experience.
On the other hand, your employees hear about customer complaints. If you provide a way for them to report on these complaints, and create a way to act on them, you’ll tap into a goldmine that will significantly improve your business bottom line.
4. Give employees and customers choices
Nobody likes to be treated like an “average Joe”. We all want to feel special and important. Make your customers feel like they matter by giving them options to choose from. Add special custom bonuses to pre-packaged solutions and let them choose what they like the most. Empower your employees by giving them options in resolving customer problems. Reciting scripts can only get them so far. Teach them true communication skills to keep customer feel heard and supported. This will make conversations more engaging and your customer will feel like company cares about them.
5. Change how you hire people
It’s about time to stop obsessing about hiring the superstars. Best hires for your company are the ones who are willing to learn. Where you should focus your effort is not at the front end – yes, you still need to make sure that they have appropriate people skills, they’re motivated to get the work done and they’re a good fit for a team. But when it comes to customer service skills, these are teachable. Your focus should shift more toward proper on-boarding processes to ensure that people who join your team will understand your company’s processes and procedures and become a great fit for your company culture.
There you have it. 5 transformational ways to significantly improve your customer service. For more information download our latest case study on how we helped one organization to improve their customer service.
Click here to access the Customer Service Improvement Case Study.