Customer service is more than a department; it’s the foundation for success. The experience and service received by your customers are pivotal to generating sales, repeating business and building brand loyalty among your existing customers.
We spoke with two members of TechTown Detroit’s Professional Services Network, Claudette Harris and Jennifer Ashman, who shared three crucial steps to achieving better customer service and why they’re vital to your business.
Customer retention is the first priority
A study by American Express found that American customers are willing to spend 17% more with companies that provide excellent customer service. Positive experiences not only lead to repeated business but also encourage customers to spread positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
“An increase of customer retention of 5% can lead to a 25% increase in profits,” says Claudette Harris, owner of At Your Service Consulting. “Repeat customers spend more with your brand upwards of 300%.”
Creating loyalty programs and brand ambassador opportunities for repeat customers are strategies to increase customer retention. Your customers will feel engaged with exclusive offers, special discount codes and VIP shopping hours or days. Keep them in the loop with newsletters or check-in emails informing them of new products or services you are launching.
Understand your customer’s experience
Jennifer Ashman is a principal at CX Amplified, a customer experience consulting firm and a member of TechTown Detroit’s Ask an Expert program, encourages business owners to look at their product or service through the eyes of a new customer. “What does that customer need, how will they find you, how quickly and easily will they understand the experience you provide?” she says.
By empathizing with your customers, you can tailor your service to meet their needs. A journey-centric approach can lead to a 10-15% increase in customer satisfaction, according to a study by McKinsey, a global management consulting firm. Ashman also says customer feedback can provide great insights on improving customer experience and even “reveal opportunities to design new products that address unmet needs, creating a strong competitive advantage and loyalty to the brand.”
Talking directly to your customers, both current and potential, is another important task. Customer interviews are an insightful way to gain knowledge about their experience; you have an opportunity to hear the frustrations and pleasures they encountered during the sales process.
Empowering your employees
An empowered employee can resolve issues promptly, reducing the need for escalations. Implement user-friendly tools and systems that enable your employees to access customer information seamlessly. After all, simplifying processes ensures your employees can focus on solving customer issues rather than navigating complex procedures.
“Employees are the face of the company,” Harris says, adding that empowered employees are more likely to go the extra mile to provide outstanding service. “Make sure staff are given a voice, ask their opinion and get their input. Follow up with them.”
Your employees are a vital resource. Training and personal development programs can equip your staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle tough customers and other scenarios.
Exceptional customer service is not just an option; it’s the only way to do business. By understanding your customers’ journey, empowering your employees, and removing operational barriers, you can create a customer-centric culture that drives your business forward. Remember, in the height of increased competition, exceptional customer service distinguishes your business from others.