What is good customer service?
Good customer service relates to the service you and your employees provide before, during and after a purchase. For example, it's how you interact with your customers. Improving your customer service skills can lead to greater customer satisfaction and a more enjoyable experience for them.
No matter the size of your business good customer service, needs be at the heart of your business model if you wish to be successful. It is important to provide good customer service; to all types of customers, including potential, new and existing customers.
Although it can take extra resources, time and money, good customer service leads to customer satisfaction which can generate positive word-of-mouth for your business, keep your customers happy and encourage them to purchase from your business again. Good customer service can help your business grow and prosper.
Why is customer service important?
It can help you:
- increase customer loyalty
- increase the amount of money each customer spends with your business
- increase how often a customer buys from you
- generate positive word-of-mouth and reputation
- decrease barriers to buying (for example, if your business has an excellent reputation of customer service for refunds, you're more likely to entice a hesitant buyer to purchase from you).
What good customer service skills look like?
Examples of excellent customer service skills include:
- treating your customers respectfully
- following up on feedback
- handling complaints and returns gracefully
- understanding your customers' needs and wants
- exceeding customer expectations
- going out of your way to help them.
Tips on good face-to-face customer service
It's a good idea to provide customer service training to new and existing staff training. Here are some simple things your staff can do to encourage customer satisfaction. If you have a physical, bricks and mortar business, here are some tips for developing good customer relationships:
- Greet your customers as they walk through the door. You can ask them how they are, or how you can help them.
- If your customers have to wait to be served (e.g. waiting for a table at a café, waiting to be seen in a doctors' office) it can be helpful to have someone, like a receptionist, greeting your customers and letting them know how long the wait is expected to be.
- Checking in on your customers while they're in your shop can also be helpful. Examples include asking them if they enjoyed their meal, or if they'd like you to help them find a different product. This can also give them a chance to ask any questions they might have.
- Knowing your product inside out is invaluable, particularly in a face-to-face business setting. Being able to immediately answer any tricky questions from your customers can help build trust and credibility.
What to do...
Working with entrepreneurs has given me opportunities to speak to and lead others who are either trying to start their own business or trying to improve what they already have. I have a unique position to speak from. Yes, I have been successful, but at the same time, I have made plenty of mistakes. Over the years, I have learned that customer service is absolutely the most important part of any business. Recently, when I spoke with a Forbes contributor, I found myself coming back to the same words over and over again:
“To over-deliver in service to a customer is by far the most valuable thing to a business. Because there are only two ways to improve the operations of a business: increase sales or decrease costs.”
And I still stand by what I said. You will find it very hard to decrease costs, but you can offer better customer service and that allows you to increase sales. If that’s not enough to convince you, though, here are five reasons why I firmly believe customer service is more important than anything else in your business.
1. THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE BUILDS TRUST
These days, people will only stay loyal to a company if they have very good reason to. Otherwise, there is plenty of competition available they could choose to move to. As a result, you have to work even harder to keep customers and build their trust in your brand. By providing the best in customer service, you will increase trust, and that could mean the difference between customer loyalty and customers who jump ship.
Related:How to Build a Relationship with Your Customer
2. CUSTOMER SERVICE MATTERS MORE THAN PRICE
When studies and surveys have been completed, they continue to find that a large group of consumers say that customer service is much more important than price. To get the right experience, they are willing to pay more.[Tweet “Customer service is more important than price.”]
3. IT WILL BUILD BRAND AWARENESS
If you don’t already know this, then it is time to learn. Word of mouth is the most powerful ally you have on your side. What your customers say to others could make or break your business. When you provide the best in customer service, guess what happens? People will talk about you. They will remember your brand. If they hear someone else talking that they need a specific kind of company, they are much more likely to say, “Oh, go to this place. They are great!”
Related:3 Ways to Get Customers to Give Your Brand Better Reviews
4. GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE REDUCES PROBLEMS
Problems are always going to arise for any business no matter how hard you try to avoid them. While you can’t run a perfect business with all the perfect customers, you can ensure friction doesn’t become an issue. If customers know that they can voice complaints and those issues will be handled properly, they will feel more comfortable doing business with you.[Tweet “Problems are always going to arise for any business no matter how hard you try to avoid them.”]
5. IT APPEALS TO THE CUSTOMER
Once upon a time, business was all about closing the sale. It didn’t matter how you got to that point. These days, you will need to cater to the New Customer. This is someone who expects to be treated as a person, who wants more from the experience, and who does not want to be just a number. Better customer service will ensure you are providing them what they want.
When it comes to a business, nothing matters if you offer poor customer service. Keep these five things in mind so that you can understand just how important it really is for your own success. So, make sure you are offering the best in customer service, and enjoy the positive results.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 25, 2015 and has since been updated with new images and information.