Businesses need to go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction as their very survival and future growth hinges on whether they are making their clients happy. Happy clients means return clients, which results in more revenue and business, including referrals to other potential customers. To build better relationships with customers, organizations often have their own secret recipes -- a blend of common sense industry methods and internally-developed strategies to ensure customer service excellence.
These seven entrepreneurs share their own best-kept customer service secrets and explain how these unique approaches can help a business truly connect with its client base.
Be as human as possible.
"Humanity seems to be missing from so many interactions that when people are treated with kindness, compassion and appreciation, it really means something to them," Hostt co-founder Peter Daisyme explains of his approach.
According to Daisyme, being kind and giving is not hard and has the added benefit of making both you and your customer feel good. "It means saying 'thank you,' asking customers how they've been and listening to what they have to say, and also remembering special things about them," he adds.
Remember their birthdays.
One special thing a business should remember about its customers is their birthdays, Alfredo Atanacio, co-founder of Uassist.ME, believes.
"It may seem like simple advice, but it's incredibly powerful to remember one of your client's birthdays and congratulate them on their day -- and most companies don't do it," Atanacio explains. "If your team can prepare a special reward or a birthday email for the client, that is a great way to help achieve customer satisfaction."
Establish personal connections.
Details like these go a long way toward establishing close connections with your customers, which can hopefully evolve into long-term relationships. "My most important customer service tool is making a personal connection," Sharebert board member and partner David Chen says.
According to Chen, personal connections allow a business to find common ground with the customer, which forms the basis of a relationship. "Once that personal connection is made, it's easier to remember each individual customer and give them service based on their needs."
Use the Imago dialogue.
Ensuring good communication is also key to excellent customer service. Rachel Beider, CEO of PRESS Modern Massage, says her company's secret recipe for establishing great relationships with customers is using the Imago technique, a therapeutic dialogue involving reflection, validation and empathy. "It's our secret weapon for de-escalating customer service situations with clients."
In addition, Beider's team employs a clear set of rules to ensure customer happiness. "Do the right thing, do the best you can, let's show others that we care -- As long as we abide by these rules, we make people very happy," she explains.
Get them a promotion.
"Part of our customer success initiative includes the goal of getting our main contact a promotion," says Nick Chasinov, founder and CEO of Teknicks, speaking about his company's best-kept customer service secret.
Chasinov's company achieves this by including a subtle but effective shoutout about its main contact in its customer quarterly review. "We highlight the milestones we've accomplished with our point of contact leading at the helm. We make sure to include our contact in all of our wins and showcase their involvement," he explains.
Leverage personal messaging.
Keeping your messaging tone and techniques personal and friendly is also a great way to maintain strong relationships, according to Alex Blazer, founder of Seedlogic. This method works great, especially given how most entrepreneurs don't have time to build customer relationships in person over lunch or a game of golf.
"I keep in touch with many customers the same way I do with my friends and family -- by texting," Blazer shares. "Sometimes we text about business, but usually it's just fun conversation between friends."
Provide phone services.
Personal messaging aside, companies should adapt their customer service techniques to make clients feel heard and attended to in real time. For instance, many e-commerce businesses forgo phone support and stick to online customer service, which is a mistake, according to Formidable Forms founder Stephanie Wells.
Adding phone support is a great way to solve customer problems and answer leads' questions faster. "Phone support made all the difference in our conversions. We're able to respond to customers immediately, give them access to a real person helping them out and provide a positive experience with our brand," Wells concludes.