We’ve all been there: that infuriating, stressful, annoying moment when customer service lets you down.
Whether you’re trying to get a problem solved or a product returned, being belittled, silenced, or simply ignored by the business on the other end is beyond aggravating. As the owner of a business or call center professional, you likely make it a goal to ensure none of your customers have to encounter these emotions or feelings in relation to your brand. You try to provide excellent customer service.
Some may say that customer service is just another one of those necessary parts of a business that doesn’t actually matter. While it may not be the biggest money making department of your business, having truly excellent customer service means you can discover the vast and various ways you, your company, and your customer base can benefit. In this article, you’ll learn more about what, exactly, defines excellent customer service, how your company can benefit, and simple tips for excellent customer service that can be implemented to ensure your customers have and benefit from an exceptional experience with each and every encounter.
Defining Excellent Customer Service
Thanks to the vastness of the business industry, the term “excellent customer service” likely means something different to everyone. However, in order to set and achieve superior customer service goals, it’s critical for you to develop a professional idea of what excellent customer service means to your business.
What does excellent customer service mean to you? Does it mean going above and beyond to ensure all customer complaints are resolved as quickly and carefully as possible? Does it mean having 24/7 availability and superior transparency? Does it mean developing products and services strictly based on customer feedback? If you’re having trouble coming to an inclusive definition of what excellent customer service means to you, take a minute to write down what it is that you appreciate about businesses with excellent service. Review your company’s mission statement, values, and goals, and brainstorm various, creative ways on how to improve customer service initiatives that help fulfill these critical pillars of your business.
To help you develop a clear idea of how you define excellent customer service, consider implementing the following features known to make companies stand out as leaders of guest services.
Around the clock services:
Being available 24/7 doesn’t just allow customers to connect with your business whenever they want or need, but it also sets your company apart as a business that genuinely cares about customers. Outsourcing your customer service initiatives to a call center gives your customers around the clock access to real people who can provide immediate and friendly assistance – having that human interaction is key. In fact, nearly 70% of customers will hang up the phone if they are unable to talk to a real person, resulting in a negative experience, and news of this negative customer experience is twice as likely to reach the ears of others than positive experiences. When it comes to defining your brand’s idea of excellent customer service, be sure to keep accessibility at the forefront of your mission.
Though English is the dominant language in the United States, 21% of the population, or around 61 million people, speak a primary language other than English. While Spanish remains at the top of the list of prevalent non-English languages, other common languages include:
- Chinese: 4.8%
- Tagalog: 2.6%
- Vietnamese: 2.3%
- French: 2.1%
- Korean: 1.9%
- German: 1.8%
- Arabic: 2.3%
- Russian: 1.5%
- African languages: 1.5%
- Other Asian languages: 1.4%
- Italian: 1.2%
- French Creole: 1.2%
- Portuguese: 1.1%
- Hindi: 1.1%
Statistics this substantial highlight the importance of offering bilingual customer service. By being able to communicate across a wide variety of cultures and languages, you’ll be able to provide a positive experience to all customers regardless of where they are from or what language they speak. While having bilingual services is a must for large companies and corporations who provide products and services across the world, it’s also important for small businesses because it eliminates any language barriers that could potentially hinder growth and future success. To aid in accessibility and creating an exceptional customer experience, make bilingual services a must.
In an increasingly connected world via digital technology and social media, having an online customer service presence is vital. Not only do today’s consumers expect for business to be reachable across multiple digital platforms, but they also rely on it as a means of communication, transparency, and information; it allows consumers to connect with and explore brands in ways that visiting a store or reaping services doesn’t. More than 45% of online customers expect businesses to offer services via Facebook and over 83% of customers like or love when a complaint receives a reply on social media. Alternatively, if a social media complaint goes unanswered, companies run an 88% risk of losing the customer’s future business.
Along with acting as an additional means of communication with your consumers, having an online presence lets you monitor what’s being said about your company. Customer comments, likes, and dislikes regarding your business is a highly effective, virtually cost-free way to adhere to industry trends, understand where your company is succeeding, and which areas of customer service need improvement. Implementing a social media presence into your customer service initiative doesn’t just ensure that you’ll maintain a competitive edge, but it also gives customers an alternative means of connecting and associating with your brand.
After you’ve developed a clear definition of what excellent customer service means to you, it’s helpful to learn about real-life examples of companies who have gone above and beyond to provide their customers with outstanding services.
Companies With Great Customer Service
It’s not uncommon to hear horror stories about customer service. From those who have spent hours on the phone with a representative only to get frustrated and finish the conversation with the issue unresolved, to not receiving “guaranteed” refunds for unsatisfactory or faulty products and service, word of negative customer experiences seems to spread like wildfire.
However, by learning more about companies who do customer service right, you can understand just how powerful and positive excellent customer services can be. Below are three of the top businesses in customer-facing industries who’ve benefited from making customer service a priority.
As one of the biggest brands in technology, Apple has been a longtime leader in providing excellent customer service. Not only does this world-renowned company offer friendly, reliable in-store support with the Genius Bar and easily-accessible website and telephone support channels, but they also exemplify the importance of a multi-platform presence by addressing comments, complaints, and queries on social media, documentation, and live online chats and calls.
As far as this powerhouse fast-food chain is concerned, providing good customer service is “a pleasure.” Along with highly-rated food, Chick-fil-A consistently ranks high in cleanliness, quick and convenient service, and hardworking, friendly employees – all of which aid in creating a memorable, positive customer experience. According to the business, they’re able to maintain such high service standards because of the time and resources they invest in training their employees and helping them reach their personal career goals. Generally speaking, Chick-fil-A fuels their outstanding customer service initiative by following the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.
Not only is Amazon a leader in customer support, but they have also been a pioneer in shaping the customer service industry over the last 20 years. Along with the development and implementation of innovations like cross-selling, displayed customer reviews, and a real-time product recommendation engine, Amazon boasts strategic, reliable shipping support and deep brand-customer relationships. While the company values appropriate automation, they also know the importance of having real-life representatives available 24/7. Moreover, Amazon continues to fulfill its definition of exceptional customers service by providing a shopping experience that promotes trust and transparency.
As these and other top customer service brands know, providing superior customer service doesn’t just benefit guests and clients, but it also boasts an array of advantages for your company, too.
Benefits of having excellent service
The primary benefit of excellent customer service is that it helps your company succeed, for without it you have no chance of maintaining competitive in a cutthroat business industry. The advantages, however, hardly stop there. Below you’ll find a detailed list of the vast and various benefits that can be gained by implementing a superior customer service campaign.
- Maintaining a loyal customer base: Customer loyalty is imperative to the success of a business. To put things in perspective, the average loyal customer is worth more than 10 times as much as their first purchase. Similarly, it costs your business six- to seven-time as much to obtain a new customer than it does to keep a loyal one. So, along with saving you money, implementing exceptional customer services allows you to connect with consumers on a more intimate level so that you may gain their trust and loyalty.
- Less stress, more ROI: While having an in-house customer service call center has its perks, outsourcing your customer service initiatives have proven to be more effective when it comes to maintaining transparency, accessibility, and reliability. Instead of burdening your team with the demands of providing exceptional customer services across all critical platforms, outsourced call centers are already equipped with trained, talented customer service specialists who can represent your brand in a manner that increases your ROI and ultimately boosts your bottom line.
- Free your time: In addition to decreasing the stress and pressure of your team, outsourcing your customer service needs to trained professionals enables you to focus on other aspects of running a company that also ensure lasting success. Instead of spending your time staying up-to-speed with evolving customer service trends, monitoring social media platforms, collecting data and feedback, and quickly resolving customer issues, you can focus on other aspects of running a successful company like employee satisfaction, sales goals, marketing campaigns and more. So while outsourcing customer service does come with a price, it’s an investment that can ultimately put money back in your pocket.
- Peace of mind: Perhaps one of the most attractive advantages of exceptional customer service is knowing your customers are having consistent, positive experiences. No longer do you have to worry if your customers have the transparency and trust they need to remain loyal to your brand. Instead, you can count on the fact that you have professionally trained specialists taking good care of your valued customer base and representing your brand in the best possible way.
With an understanding of just how beneficial good consumer services can be for both your brand and your customers, it’s helpful to review five key tips for how to improve customer service.
5 tips for excellent customer service
To ensure your customers are receiving the best services and experiences possible, make sure you’re adhering to these five essential tips.
1. Believe in your customers: No matter if your customer’s beliefs are supported by facts or not, to them their thoughts are correct and telling them otherwise will only create a disconnect and distrust. Be sure to acknowledge their feelings, thoughts, or beliefs, and make an effort to find a solution that fits both their wants and your needs.
2. Quick responses are key: Today’s consumers demand instant gratification, especially when it comes to having consumer-related issues solved. Even if you can’t be present 24/7, outsourced call centers can ensure your brand maintains reliable accessibility no matter the time of day. Not only does a quick response help build customer trust in your brand, but it also helps you attract new customers through care and consideration.
3. Follow Up: Just as reaching out helps to attract customers, following up helps retain customers. After communicating, connecting, and resolving issues with your customers, be sure to generously thank them for their loyalty and make a point of following up with them afterward. Following up is a strategic way to show your customers you care and also acts as an opportunity to gain valuable feedback on areas of business you can improve on.
4. Put feedback into action: While asking for feedback is one thing, actually putting customer feedback into action is priceless. After identifying areas of business that can be improved upon, make an effort to thank your customers – again- for their continued support and comments and inform them that, because of their feedback, your company is continuing to improve, grow, and succeed.
5. Be respectful: As exemplified by Chick-fil-A, showing a little bit of respect can result in big benefits. Though it may seem like a no-brainer in the world of customer service, being respectful can be difficult at times, especially when dealing with angry, hostile, and unhappy customers. Remember that the goal of providing exceptional customer service is to keep people happy and coming back, and by eliminating your emotions from the equation and focusing on the care and respect of your clients, you can do just that.
Thousands of businesses have good customer service. Make your business outshine the competition and reach new levels of success by going above and beyond to deliver excellent customer service. By defining what excellent customer service means to you, following the examples set forth by the greatest customer-service icons in the industry, and taking the necessary measures to ensure your company is delivering a superior customer experience, you can make a lasting, positive impact on how customers are treated in the world of business.