11 Ways to Improve the Customer Service Experience

11 Ways to Improve the Customer Service Experience

I’ve been thinking a lot about customer service lately. I deal with it as an online business owner, issues come up as a volunteer in my membership organization, I deal with it daily as a consumer. Let’s face it, if we want to be successful business owners who serves customers, it’s imperative to find a way to focus on the customers’ experiences and how to make their experiences even better when dealing with your business. There is so much technology today to help smart business owners serve their customers in the way that the customer wants. If you want to be more customer-centric (and if you’re smart you do want to be), these tips will help you achieve that goal.

1. Install a Ticketing System – A help desk is a great way for your customers to not only track issues, make sure the email doesn’t get blocked, and make sure it gets to the right person, but it also provides an easy way to escalate problems. Most ticketing systems will automatically send the customer an email stating that the problem is being looked into, assign a number to it, and give them a time limit of when the problem might be resolved. Two popular programs are Zendesk and Kayako.

2. Offer a Searchable Self-Help FAQ – A great way to offer consumers of today extra help is to provide a searchable help desk that they can look through prior to opening a ticket. Many people prefer to help themselves first and this will make many of your customers happy. I really didn’t think of this until I recently created a sales page and wanted to provide a bunch of FAQ and a self-help section right there on the page! This is super helpful for those who come to your site in ‘research mode.’

3. Make It Easy for Them to Contact You – Some people still prefer dealing with a person so it’s important that you also, if you have a high volume of inquiries, allow them to contact you (or customer service) directly via email or telephone. Many people use a “no reply” email address which makes it hard for people to just hit “reply” so make it easy for them to get in touch. An easy way to do this is have one “Contact” page with the information on there and then link everything else to that one contact page – makes it easier when it comes time to update.

4. Call Them – Nothing will surprise your customers more than if you reach out and call someone who’s having extra problems, or even just your top customer to say thanks. That extra personal touch will make the customer feel valued.

5. Send Them a Thank You Card in the Mail – Today, everyone does everything electronically but you don’t have to only do it that way. You can also send your customers thank you notes or cards in the mail. You can use a service like SendOutCards.com if you do a lot, or something like Postable.com which allows you to personalize any card, add a stamp, and mail it.

6. Ask Your Customers What They Want – If you’re not sure what to do for your customers to make their experiences even better, why not just ask them? You can ask them in various ways in various places. I for one get tired of having to respond to a survey each and every time I have an interaction with a company, but it’s a good way to get a sense of what areas may need extra help. For example, if you are always having to provide help in one area of the business, then you can take steps to remedy it before you start to lose clients and customers because of it. Of course, you can send an email survey or put a survey on your website if that would work for you too.

7. Create Personalized Packaging – If you send any products via the mail, and it’s possible to do so, try to design and create personalized packaging that makes the person who is opening it feel like it’s extra special.

8. Offer Freebies – At many places in the buying cycle and the customer life cycle, it’s important to keep them interested and moving forward. One way to do that is to offer a lot of free information. It might be training on how to use your app, ideas on how to wear the scarf, or how to care for a T-shirt properly to make it last longer. Use your imagination.

9. Answer Quickly – When you get a question, no matter what manner it comes in, it’s imperative that you answer quickly. The rule of thumb is within 24 hours. People expect instantaneous results today and if you take too long to at least tell them you’re researching the situation, they’ll think you don’t care and they’ll be unsatisfied with their experiences. And then they may go on social media to complain – answer quickly so this doesn’t happen.

10. Focus on Solving Customer Problems – When you really focus only on being of value and solving customers’ problems, you will automatically make your customers a lot happier and improve their experiences. After all, it’s truly is all about them, not you. I recently got this email from a subscriber:

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At first, I recoiled at the very thought that someone wasn’t happy. My first instinct was to email her back to point out that I use a highly reputable CRM (Infusionsoft) which doesn’t include sketchy links.  But instead, I realized the best way to serve her was to remove her from my list like she asked. It’s not. about. me.

11. Follow Up – Never miss an opportunity to follow up with customers if you think it’s applicable. After any connection whatsoever, good or bad, follow up to ensure that the consumer is satisfied and considers the experience a good one and finished before you close out an inquiry. I especially do this when people ask for a refund because I don’t want the last interaction they have with me to be a negative one.

Improving your customers’ experiences will go far in encouraging repeat buyers and word-of-mouth marketing, and it’ll also make you feel great. When you’re serving your customers in a way that makes them happy, it’ll make you happy too. It’ll also make you a little bit richer.