For those of you thinking of opening your own company, learning how to make the most of your customers is crucial to your success. Every business needs to prioritise this but many have not yet realised the value of such, in which case this article is also going to be hugely helpful for those already running a company, who struggle to retain their customers. Your customers are your income source, and no matter how much time you put into creating great products, if you don’t take the time to develop a fluid and pleasing interface, they will be overshadowed by the irritation felt by your customers. This, in turn, dissuades them from making repeat purchases and increases the likelihood of them damaging your reputation by word of mouth.

So, how can you avoid this common pitfall and provide a quality of customer service that ensures your company and your products have the popularity they deserve?

Quality of Service

The first step to improving your customer service is to ensure that when a customer does reach one of your representatives, they have a pleasing experience. 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. In order to achieve this, you need to ensure that you not only have the right staff for the job (those who enjoy speaking to customers and helping them solve their problems) but that you also invest in their training. This, in turn, gives them the tools they need to create a great customer experience.

An alternative to a lengthy and thorough hiring process and the complications and cost that come with new staff training, is to simply outsource your customer service to a company like Cymphony. Cymphony provide a ready-made body of skilled and experienced staff who can take the reigns when your customers get in touch. They integrate seamlessly into your company whilst having all the benefits of third-party, remote workers. For example, the HR responsibilities belong to their provider, along with the need to provide a physical premises for them.

Convenience  

A big bug bear of many customers is the inconvenience they experience when trying to get in touch with a company. In order to stand out from the crowd of your competitors, creating a convenient customer interface is key. You can start by improving your accessibility, by increasing the hours during which your customer service team are available to speak to.

Most of your customers’ working schedules are going to follow a 9am-5pm Monday to Friday structure, so matching this is going to be a huge barrier when it comes to them being able to contact you. Instead, consider having phone lines that are open outside of typical office hours. One way to do this without sacrificing your and your staff’s work/life balance is to outsource between 5pm and 9am. This option also allows you to make the most of a third-party’s larger body of staff which, in turn ensures that your customers’ calls are answered far more quickly, therefore eradicating the issue of frustrating hold times.

Furthermore, live chat is a much preferred method of communication for customers, thanks to its convenience factor. Live chat is a feature than can be integrated into your website and allows your customers to send written enquiries that your live chat agents can respond to quickly and efficiently. Experienced and skilled live chat agents can also be sourced from Cymphony if you don’t fancy the hassle of hiring and training new in-house employees. Website integration can also be simplified with the help of Cymphony, who provide step by step instructions to make the process as easy as possible.

Taking Time with Your Customers

An important tip when it comes to providing great customer service, is to dedicate plenty of time to each call. Trying to rush the conversation is more obvious to your customers than you realise, and is a sure fire way of irritating them and making them feel that you have no interest in their problem or in helping to solve it. Instead, make sure your staff are not under time pressure to make it through a long list of callers, as quality is far more effective than quantity when it comes to customer service. 33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship last year did so because personalisation was lacking, which just goes to show how important a dedicated approach is.

Be Understanding not Combative

This leads me next point. As well as taking time with your customers, it is important to listen carefully and show true interest in their complaint or enquiry. Many customer service representatives take a defensive approach to conversations, which is understandable considering that customers will often be in a frustrated state of mind that can border on unpleasant. However, trying to put yourself in their shoes is a far more effective way of defusing the situation, as they will feel heard, understood and validated, whilst knowing that finding a solution is your priority.

Find Solutions

No matter how frustrated customers can be with the problem at hand, at the core of every customers complaint is the desire to find a solution. There may be times when you feel that a customer might actually be in the wrong, or that the solutions you are able to offer go far beyond what is necessary, however, it is worth the expense in order to appease and retain customers. They will then go on to invest more in your company than you have had to spend on a solution.

So, when talking to customers, assure them that a solution can be found and ask them what they feel would be fair compensation. This not only gives you the opportunity to meet their expectations, but also makes sure they feel that their negative experience has been recognised and their frustration validated.

Going the Extra Mile

Going the extra mile is another way in which you can show customers that you care. This, in turn, gives them confidence to return and continue to invest in your product, safe in the knowledge that every effort will be made to provide a positive experience for them. There are many different ways in which you can go the extra mile, from offering compensation that goes above and beyond what might be expected, or spotting potential problems and offering solutions before the customer has recognised them themselves.

For example, if you feel that a customer has ordered a product that might not be the answer to their needs, you can suggest a more suitable alternative. This way, you are providing additional help and also avoiding the inevitable complaint which would lead to further strain on your customer service department. Offering a range of different lines of communication, such as email, telephone and live chat, as well as increased business hours, are more ways in which you can go the extra mile for your customers, in a way that they will appreciate and, in turn, reward by word of mouth.

Careful Investment  

While it might seem that some of these solutions require financial investment and could put a strain on your cashflow, the return on this investment into customer service is second to none. Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers. Additionally, outsourcing in the ways we have suggested can really help to minimise additional expense whilst maximising positive impact, as companies like Cymphony work on a pay per minute basis, meaning that you only pay for the help you need; a far more sensible option than hiring full-time staff regardless of demand.

Hopefully we’ve given you some helpful tips that you can put into practice, in order to improve the customer service you provide. This, in turn, will have a huge impact on your customer service ratings and your reputation, both of which will ensure that you not only retain but also grow your customer base, which is always the key to success for any business.

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