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The Golden Rules of Customer Service
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10 Golden Rules of Customer Service

Customer Experience (CX) is an indispensable pillar of any business strategy. Its quality matters in any size business, and yours is no exception. “Treat others as you would want to be treated,” isn’t a novel concept. It’s The Golden Rule. And just as it applies to most things in life, it applies to customer service. Following the golden rules of customer service can give your business an edge over the competition. After all, when your customer service shines, customers take notice. That means increased customer satisfaction and loyalty and, in turn, growing profits.

1. Provide Quick Responses and Solid Answers

Customers don’t want to wait for answers, and your first answer should be the right one.

Statistics show that speed and accuracy are the two things that customers covet most.

66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do. @forrester Click To Tweet

According to a report from Forrester, 66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do. Additionally, 69% of customers shop more with retailers that offer consistent customer service.

Pro Tip:

Implement self-service options on your website, like an FAQ knowledge base, a 24/7 live chat service, or a chatbot. These are all great ways to ensure your customers have access to answers and support around the clock. A 24/7 online support option will also put your availability on par with that of larger companies. In fact, 51% of consumers say a business needs to be available 24/7 (Inc.com).

51% of consumers say a business needs to be available 24/7. @Inc #customerservice #customerjourney Click To Tweet

A comprehensive knowledge base centralizes product information and company data. An effective customer support portal – both internal and external – serves as another tool for both customers and agents. It helps them quickly locate the information they need.

2. Listen Well

Just like in any relationship, customers want to know that they are heard and understood.

According to a study conducted by Apptentive, 55% of consumers say they won’t buy from a company that ignores their feedback.

55% of consumers won't buy from a company that ignores their feedback. @Apptentive #customerservice #customerexperience Click To Tweet

Thus, acknowledge their pain points and make an effort to relate to their struggles.  The simple act of listening can result in a satisfied customer and a positive brand impression.

Pro Tip:

Make sure your staff is up to snuff on their communication skills.

According to leadership experts Jack Zenger and Joeseph Folkman, good listening comes down to three key points:

  1. Not talking when others are speaking
  2. Letting others know you’re listening through facial expressions and verbal sounds
  3. Being able to repeat what others have said, practically word-for-word.

3. Acknowledge That All Cases Are Not Equal

There will be times when established policies don’t fit the situation.

It’s inevitable. At some point, complicated customer issues will arise.

Encourage your staff to empathize and reason like a person, not a corporation. Your customers will appreciate that you’ve acknowledged a special case and offered a fair solution.

Pro Tip:

Be able to adapt, and give your staff the power to do so as well (more on this at #10).

When a family emergency, natural disaster, serious illness, or other unforeseen circumstance impacts a customer’s interaction with you, consider making an exception.

Customers that have an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value. They tend to recommend the company at a rate of 71%, rather than the average rate of 45% (Motista).

Customers that have an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value. They recommend the company at a rate of 71%. @Motista Click To Tweet

Your flexibility could win you a customer for life.

4. Learn How to Apologize Well

No one can be right 100% of the time. You know it, and so do your customers.

One thing is guaranteed, mistakes will happen. The important thing is how you handle those mistakes.

Studies show that  37% of customers are satisfied with service recovery when they are offered something of monetary value (e.g., a refund or credit). But when the business adds an apology on top of the compensation, satisfaction doubles to 74%.

So, don’t just teach your support team to apologize, teach them to apologize like rock stars.

Pro Tip:

When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong.

Recognize when circumstances have turned for the worst, graciously accept the blame, and issue a great apology.

But, don’t just stop at “sorry.”

Go the extra mile to make the situation right, and make it a point to exceed the customer’s expectations.


Related Post: 6 things service reps should do when an angry customer calls


5. Appreciate Your Customers and Show Respect

Everyone loves to be thanked.

Unsurprisingly, 77% of consumers like it when brands demonstrate their appreciation (TD Bank).

Customer Service: Show Appreciation

However, limiting gratitude to a closed sale or a compliment is not enough. Expressing gratitude for whatever a customer brings to your company is key. Take the topic of negative reviews, for example. . An outside perspective (be it positive or negative) is gold for a brand. It provides a unique opportunity to create and give the customers exactly what they want, thus growing your business.

Keep in mind: 70% of companies that deliver a best-in-class customer experience use customer feedback to provide a better customer experience (Huffington Post).

70% of companies that deliver a best-in-class customer experience use customer feedback to provide a better customer experience. @HuffPost #customerexperience #customerservice Click To Tweet

Pro tip:

Always say thank you. No matter what.

Never let your customers walk away from an interaction without thanking them for their time and their business.

In addition, consider launching a customer loyalty program to reward them for their support.

Here 7 tips from Forbes on building a successful customer loyalty program:

 

6. Remember Your Customers

Customer service personalization is one of the most important golden rules of customer service. It serves as an important factor when it comes to customer loyalty. Be your customers’ good friend and they are more likely to patronize your business and spread the word.

In order to remember your customers, you have to get to know them. So, ask questions and pay attention to their habits. Make it clear that you’re utilizing collected information to their benefit. Then, most customers will provide key details about themselves.

Store and organize any identifying information you receive from the customers. Keep a log of each customer’s purchases, returns, exchanges, and methods of contact. Big or small, record every aspect of an interaction. Then, your support team can use the gathered data to provide each customer with a personalized experience.

customer service personalization

Pro Tip:

Data unification software like CRMs and email ticket systems are both great ways to centralize and manage customer data.

For instance, ticket systems allow businesses to manage customer emails and form submissions. They archive shoppers’ data for easy retrieval and updating.

Tools like these will allow you to build in-depth customer profiles and give your support team the ability to treat customers like family.


Related Post: A Tool that Makes a Difference: Ticket Management System


7. Say Yes, Whenever Possible

If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes! Then, learn how to do it later! – Richard Branson

As mentioned earlier, every customer inquiry should be viewed as an opportunity. So, oblige your customers whenever possible.

When someone calls on your support staff for help, he or she seeks affirmation that a positive resolution is possible.

So, first, assure them that you’ll find a way to solve their problem. Then, get to work solving it.

Pro Tip:

Create a “yes” culture.

Of course, you can’t say “yes” to your customers 100% of the time. That would just be unrealistic. But, that doesn’t mean you have to say “no.”

Actually, you don’t have to use the word “no” at all. Instead, you can explain the reasons why you can’t give them exactly what they’re asking for.

Then, list a few alternative resolutions to which you can say “yes”.

8. Invite Feedback and Accept Criticism

Your customers have great ideas right at the tips of their tongues. All you have to do is ask them to share their thoughts.

Not only will their feedback help you grow your business, but your company’s receptiveness will also have a positive impact on your brand’s reputation.

Brands are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback. @Microsoft #customerservice #customerexperience Click To Tweet

Brands are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback. (Microsoft)

Pro Tip:

Make it easy for customers to provide you with their feedback by setting up post-call and post-chat surveys.

Just keep in mind that the amount of effort you put into creating the surveys will determine the value of the information you receive. If you run a bring-and-mortar retail store, an office, or a restaurant, feedback surveys serve as a great way to collect feedback.

Customer experience expert, Annette Franz, recommends structuring customer surveys so that the feedback you receive is both “meaningful and actionable.”

Her article below will point you in the right direction:

There are other ways to collect feedback as well. Hubspot outlines 16 strategies to obtain customer feedback.

9. Revise Tactics Based on Feedback

If you collect feedback and then do nothing with it, then why even bother? Collecting feedback is a great start. But using that feedback to improve customer experience is another one of the golden rules of customer service.

52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers. @Microsoft #customerfeedback #customerservice Click To Tweet

As the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Making actual changes will let customers know you’re listening.

Pro Tip:

Start by organizing and prioritizing the responses you receive.

Helpdesk auto-tagging is a great way to collect customer feedback, identify important trends, and pinpoint potential issues. This helpdesk feature categorizes customer interactions across multiple channels including, live chat, email, and voice calls.

Group actionable issues in order of frequency and severity. Then make a plan to alter your product and your customer roadmap accordingly.

Here’s a great video from Hunter Business Group that outlines the process of acting on customer feedback.

 

10. Value and Empower Your Customer Service Employees

Ahhh, number 10. Some would argue that this is the most important of the golden rules of customer service.

None of the above strategies will do you any good if don’t have an engaged staff.

In order for your employees to engage, they have to feel valued and empowered. Also, consider Outsourcing Live Chat Support with established processes for agent empowerment.

70% of employees rank the empowerment to take action at work when a problem or opportunity arises as an essential element of their engagement (SHRM).

Pro Tip:

Give your employees the power to think on their feet and trust them to make the right calls. Achieve this through informing and training your staff.

Here are the most popular methods to actively manage and drive employee engagement:

  • drafting employee engagement surveys (55%),
  • creating culture committees and events (29%)
  • offering employee resource groups (20%).

When this statistical data is broken down to its simplest form, it translates to 3 points:

  1. Surveys = Listen to your employees
  2. Committees and Events = Have a way to make them feel appreciated and rewarded
  3. Employee Resource Groups = Provide support and proper training
10 Golden Rules of Customer Services
10 Golden Rules of Customer Services

 

10 Golden Rules of Customer Service

Your current business strategy might revolve around the retention of existing customers. Or. perhaps. or the acquisition of new ones. Either way, focusing on the golden rules of customer service above can help improve overall customer experience. Exceptional customer service leads to happier customers, increased customer loyalty, and, of course, better business.

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