When you think about the most important facets of your business, you are probably forgetting an essential aspect of it.
While your products and services are certainly key, they will not be able to thrive in the market without the help of a third factor that is a pillar of lasting success.
Your marketing team may be able to produce incredible campaigns that speak to your customers and create emotions, but you will fail without the last ingredient: strong customer service.
The value of customer service for your business
Customer service is the heart of any healthy organisation. This is the most visible place at the operational level, and often the one that consumers remember when they decide to become loyal customers or abandon for a competitor. This is sometimes the only point of direct contact between your customers and your organisation, hence its crucial importance.
Do you give customer service the attention it deserves, or do you tend to neglect its value to the business?
Seven criteria for excellent customer service
If you want to focus properly on customer service, here are the seven most important things you need to remember:
#1 - Knowledge of your company
The mistake many companies make is to hire employees who are unfamiliar with the subject of their business. Customer service representatives have a document on their desk with repetitive and recycled information that they will use to respond to customers.
You need to make sure that the employees in your customer service know your brand, the company, and its activities. This is the only way that will enable them to effectively answer questions, solve problems and deliver value to their actions.
#2 - Proactivity with your customers
You cannot wait for customers to come to you. Your goal should be to go and find customers and identify everything you can do to improve their experience with your brands, products or services. This can include creating profiles on social networks that will allow you to reach the customer via all channels.
Your choices will, of course, depend on the typology of your customers, but the central idea is to remember that you cannot rely on customers to find you, you have to help them.
#3 - The quality of the product or service to be better customer focussed
A quality product without good customer service may be useless, but if these two factors are present, you can consider the following very serenely.
Good customer service is greatly enhanced by having quality products and services that minimise customer complaints and problems that cause dissatisfaction.
#4 - The ability to learn from your customers
Your customer service needs to transform into a "mini research agency". By listening to customers' opinions, keeping track of their feedback, and using it to change the way you operate, you can extract a lot of value.
Customer service is both the receiver and speaker of the customer's voice.
The most successful companies use the criticism they receive from their customers to improve continuously.
#5 - The flexibility of the organisation around the customer
Flexibility must be at the heart of everything your business does.
From project management to customer service, it's a company's ability to stay agile, enabling them to respond effectively whilst always remaining customer-centric.
#6 - Recognition of your mistakes
While it can sometimes be incredibly difficult to admit your mistakes, this is vital for your business.
In most cases, this builds consumer confidence by showing them that you are ready to accept mistakes and find solutions. In addition, this type of action strengthens customer relationships over the long term.
#7 - Developing the skills of your customer service agent
Instead of hiring employees and letting them learn by trial or error in their jobs, teach them valuable customer service skills.
Focus on such characteristics as adaptability, empathy, clear communication, patience. While some traits come naturally, others can be taught and perfected.
In addition, think of the "symmetry of attentions": your customer service agent will be more attentive if they feel they are being listened to. Setting up an in-house feedback system can be beneficial.
Excellent customer service is not necessarily easy to build and takes time to see a positive ROI.
However, you must remember the value that this represents for your organisation and focus on the long-term development of profitable relationships between consumers and your business.
Keep the above seven elements in mind and you will soon be able to boast of a formidable customer service.