No matter what business you’re in, satisfied customers are the one common denominator all successful ones share. These days, we live our lives with mobile devices at the ready, and technology at our fingertips – and so do our customers. Technology should never be viewed as a replacement for customer service – but as a means to an end; a tool to deliver that customer service.
Indeed, technology may sometimes be a double edged sword; it empowers us, it makes our lives instantaneous, but if it diminishes the human factor in your relationships with your customers, you could be shooting your business in the proverbial foot.
Because technology makes everything instantaneous, that means good, and bad, is immediately available for all to see. The plethora of online venues that exist, ranging from Twitter to blogs, gives people free rein for expression, quickly, and globally.
Creating a plan to deliver great customer service, using a combination of technology and the human touch, should be a key objective for any organization, and one that’s revisited and adjusted, often.
1. Put Autoresponder Emails to work for you
An automatically generated email, sent to customers following the placement of their order, is something we’ve come to expect. Yet, not everyone does it.
Here, you’ll want to include the usual suspects: thank the customer for his order, invite them to opt-in to your email and/or newsletter distribution list, send them a confirmation email. But go the extra mile: how about including a discount for a future purchase, or a link that gives them more information about the product or service they’ve just purchased?
Some view technology as cold; warm it up by personalizing wherever possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add the customer’s name in the email; in the subject line, and in the greeting. Follow up with emails on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Reach out to them on a regular basis.
2. Put together a thorough Frequently Asked Questions FAQ section at your website
Not only does this give you a ready resource that customers can tap into 24/7, and that you can direct them to, it will allow you to devote more of your time to the customers who need personalized attention, as well as make you look professional, and knowledgeable. Tracking the questions, comments and complaints customers have will also help you to build your base of knowledge and expertise, thereby allowing you to provide even better customer service.
3. Don’t bury your phone number at your website.
Ever spent time clicking and searching a website for a customer service phone number, especially when you have a problem? Grrrrr. That’s the last thing any business should do!
Adding your phone number to your website, prominently, is the cheapest, easiest way for you to show you care. It’s human. It’s warm and fuzzy. By not providing your customers with your phone number, you’re giving them the opportunity to walk away. In fact, you’re actually telling them to go away! Make it easy for your customers to reach you, and they’ll love you forever.
4. Be ready when your customers call you
Make sure you have trained qualified people to assist your customers when they call – and they will call – with problems, questions, complaints or praise. All of the technology, emails, and FAQ pages are worthless if the person on the phone can’t answer their questions quickly, expertly, and cheerfully. Remember, at that one moment in time, your customer service representative IS the company to them. Relish the opportunity!
5. Communicate with your customers on a regular basis
Talk to your customers. Ask them how you can do better. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone wants to be heard. Show your customers you’re listening by asking for their input with a short online survey. Not only will you learn more about how you can do better, you’ll be fostering your relationships with your customers, and that’s what great customer service is all about.