Providing excellent customer service can help you to excel in many jobs and careers, especially in sales, customer service, consulting, retail, food and beverage, advertising and marketing. Good customer service relies on building strong relationships with people. In this article, we will share 11 ways to deliver great customer service.
What is good customer service?
Good customer service is the quality and timely assistance provided by a business and its employees to the people who use or buy its products and services. Customer service can range from aiding customers with purchases to solving their problems online. Customer service professionals are responsible for ensuring customers have a good experience by fulfilling their needs. They may work with customers in person, over the phone or online through email or chat services. Because this is a skill set employers value, developing your customer service skills can help you to advance in your career.
11 ways to provide great customer service
Here are eleven ways to become an excellent customer service professional:
1. Be friendly
The most important rule in providing excellent customer service is to be friendly. Try to greet customers with a smile and always be courteous and respectful. Be proactive by paying attention to the customer’s needs and offering help or recommendations before they ask. It is important to always remain kind and empathetic to your customer, even through stressful or contentious situations when customers appear disappointed or angry.
2. Respond promptly
Another factor in good customer service involves the timeliness of your responses. Customers appreciate a speedy response to their inquiries, especially when they have a time-sensitive request. For good customer service, try to return all phone calls and emails within 24 hours. Let customers know how long it will take you to assist them.
3. Know your product or service
To offer your customers excellent service, you should know every aspect of the product or service you are selling. Ideally, you will be able to discuss its features and uses, show your customers the advantages they get from using your product or service and troubleshoot anything that is not working correctly.
4. Listen to your customers
Listening is one of the simplest ways to provide excellent customer service. Sometimes customers just need to be heard, so be sure to actively listen to what they have to say. They might have a valid point that you can use to make your product or service even better. By listening attentively, you can understand exactly what your customer needs from you.
5. Say thank you
A simple “thank you” can go a long way when providing customer service. Customers often remember sincere gratitude, and it reminds them why they hired your company or shopped at your store. Saying thank you after every transaction is an easy way to provide excellent customer service. Here are a few other ways you can thank customers for their business:
- Send a handwritten thank you note. Sending a handwritten thank you note is a personalized way to show your customers how much you appreciate them. Plus, in today’s digital world, sending a card through the mail adds a special touch.
- Provide free samples. Giving your customers free samples is a great way to say thank you because it has two benefits. First, customers often feel appreciated when they receive something for free. Second, if you are looking to promote a new product, a free sample is a great way to get it in the hands of the customers most likely to buy it.
- Include something extra. Adding something extra to your customer’s bag or package is a nice way to say thank you. Options can include small bags of candy, stickers or promotional materials.
- Offer a special discount. If you are interested in thanking loyal customers, consider giving them a special discount. One way to do this is to offer them a discount immediately after they make a purchase. Not only does this thank them for their business, but it can also encourage another sale.
Related: Guide to Thank You Notes
6. Get to know your customers
Providing great customer service means knowing who your customers are and what they want. When you have a better understanding of your customers and what drives them, you’ll find it easier to offer them the personalized customer service they need.
Here are a few tips on how you can get to know your customers better:
- Ask questions. Asking your customers a few simple questions is the easiest way to get to know them. This is also a great way for you to find areas where you can stand out from your competition.
- Use social media. Many social media platforms provide insights into what your customers like, their habits and what they are buying. You can also use posts on your own social media pages to get to know your customers better and to find out what they like and do not like about your products or services.
- Conduct a survey. Surveys are a good way to get honest feedback from your customers and gain specific information about their wants and needs.
7. Ask for feedback
Asking your customers for feedback shows them you care about their opinion and want to be helpful. Allowing them to provide feedback can make them feel appreciated. You can use feedback forms, customer surveys, questionnaires or first-hand feedback when customers are completing their orders to find out what they need and what they think of your business, products or service.
8. Use the feedback you receive
Once you have feedback from your customers, you should make use of it to improve your customer service process. You can take time regularly to review the feedback you are getting so you can identify areas where you can improve and note any specific changes you can make.
9. Focus on relationships
A positive relationship with your customers will help you to ensure their return business. Showing that you care about them may inspire their loyalty and appreciation. You could offer personalized service, greet them by name and make notes of previous conversations so you can reference that information the next time you meet.
10. Keep your promises
Keeping promises to your customers will help you build a strong relationship with them to show you respect them and that you’re worthy of their trust. It’s important to remember that any commitment is a promise, whether it’s written on the company website, mentioned in an online customer service ticket or remarked upon in a service call over the phone.
Customers remember when a company or representative commits to something, and they trust that whatever is committed will be delivered. If a mistake happens and a promise is broken, make sure to offer something to make up for the broken promise and to rebuild the trust between you and the customer.
11. Follow up with customers at a later date
If you want to go above expectations with your customer service, follow up with customers at a later date to check up on how their experience has been with your product and service. Taking the time to connect with customers who have been silent or out-of-touch can make them feel appreciated and special.
Reaching out to customers after a long absence can also remind them that your product or service exists and how excellent the customer service is. Following up could even trigger an old customer to make another purchase or provide a word-of-mouth reference to someone else.