10 Tips for Improving the Customer Experience
Your customer experience represents the primary touchpoint between your revenue and customers, so the experience you offer can make all the difference between short-lived success and true market longevity.
1. Understand that good customer service is a continuous learning process. Pay attention to your customers' experience by asking where you can improve. Collect the feedback and create a monthly training and development course for your team. Include some basic customer service tips on active listening and conflict resolution to drive home the comprehensive customer experience.
2. Roll out the white-glove treatment. Think about this statistic—seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they've spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service. There is no better way to make a customer feel like a priority than old-fashioned hospitality. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, for example, empowers its employees to spend up to $2,000 to solve customer problems without any manager approval. This no-questions-asked mentality makes the customer a priority and keeps employees focused on their goal: delight the customer.
3. Use technology to your advantage. When it comes to using technology to enhance the customer experience, the sky is the limit. Think about how technology can simplify your customers' day-to-day transactions and give them peace of mind. A great example is a customer portal—a centralized location for your customers to see pricing and order status, and pay invoices in real time. This transparency helps create a true partnership by building trust between you and your customers.
4. Help your customers help themselves. Create content and resources for your customers. Set yourself up as the subject matter expert to give your customers the confidence to always come to you for answers. The end goal of creating this content is to educate the reader on how your work benefits their day-to-day life.
5. Be accessible to customers. The best ability is availability. If your customer contacts you, it's usually because they have a problem and think you're the person to fix it. If they can't find you, they'll find someone else to solve their problem.
6. Arguing never leads to anything good. The last thing you want to do is argue with an already frustrated customer. Instead, try to get a clear understanding of why your customer is frustrated and work together to find the right solution.
7. Be adaptable in new situations. "Customer service is like a box of chocolates; you never know what situation you're going to get." In customer service, your days are never the same because people and their personalities aren't the same. Always be prepared for new situations to pop up and adapt quickly.
8. Admit you don't always have answers. While it may be embarrassing when a customer knows more than your service representative, getting flustered while trying to hide a lack of knowledge could cause you to lose business. Instead, encourage your reps to admit when they don't know something and offer to find the answer.
9. Remember that customer service is everyone's job. "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning," according to Bill Gates. Every company must put their best efforts at each level to achieve a higher customer satisfaction. Support should always be cross-departmental.
10. Stick to your word. It's OK to take a short-term loss in hopes that you can win the customer's trust for the long-term gain. With trust, customers will view your transactions as a partnership and will see you as an essential extension of their business.
Source: Tim Griffin, Director of Marketing & Media, C.L. Services, Inc.