By Ben Walker, CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC. Ben has made contributions to Entrepreneur Magazine, The Associated Press and Inc.
Your business has reasonable prices and quality products, and your marketing efforts receive high engagement. This sounds like the perfect recipe for a successful business, right?
A business is nothing without customer service. Customers look beyond good prices and quality -- they want to feel special, like their business matters to you, and they want to have a meaningful experience that gives them a reason to come back.
Treating customers right benefits your business in so many ways. You'll have free brand ambassadors that recommend your company to everyone they know. Word-of-mouth marketing is more effective than paid advertising because people follow recommendations from those they trust.
You'll also have less customer churn. Many new customers don't understand their own needs, so you may spend large amounts of support time and energy as customers try to see where the product fits in with their lives. Returning customers, however, already know the value your product brings to their lives and are past the doubting stage.
The most crucial point is that customers make your business the best it can be. They're your most honest voices and tell you when something's not right. That way, you can adjust issues and grow on strong points.
As a CEO, you have the power to give customers the best customer service experience to ensure your company's success.
Customer service isn't always about pampering your customers. It's often about looking at the big picture as well. In my time as a CEO, I've come across a few things that have helped me achieve good customer service and, in return, bring success to my company.
Here are my thoughts.
1. Make sure you and your customer have the same definition of customer service.
Everyone perceives experiences differently. You might like walking into a hotel to be greeted at the front desk. Someone else might expect a chauffeur, the front door opened for them, their luggage carried, etc.
There's no better way of knowing what makes customers happy than testing the process. You can invite family and friends or even ask your staff to go through the process. After the experience, ask what went well and what could be better, as well as if there's anything extra you could include to make it more memorable.
Personalization is enormous in customer service. Loyal customers want to be called by their names and recognized for their support. Personalization should apply in every interaction with customers. Send emails with their names. Get staff to remember names. Send them thank-you notes, and offer discounts when you can.
On your birthday, it's expected that family and friends congratulate you. Imagine getting an email from your favorite business wishing you a happy birthday and giving you a discount on your next purchase.
Do everything you can to include a wow factor, and that's the first step to making your customers happy.
2. Always own up to your mistakes, whether it was your or your team member's fault.
You've likely heard of the saying "the customer comes first." Everyone makes mistakes, so customers are likely to understand. Where you can differentiate your business's customer service from others is by how you handle your actions after the fact.
In my opinion, the right thing to do is to apologize for the mistake, give the customer a freebie and move on. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the customer will return.
Think about what's more important to you: saving the product's price or keeping a loyal customer who will continue to buy products.
3. Remember that the customer experience begins as soon as the customer hears about your business.
It continues as they search your company, navigate your website, send an email or pick up the phone. At every step of the process, you want to ensure customers can complete their desired actions with no difficulty.
Also, consider where and how much information you have available. Something as simple as business hours shouldn't take a phone call to find out. It also shouldn't take multiple searches to find. Have information available on all main pages, including Facebook, your website's homepage, Google and anywhere else necessary.
How well you treat your customers will speak for itself. Take the necessary steps, and take customer service seriously. You'll see more return customers, new customers saying they came because of a recommendation and brand praise, as well as a more substantial business overall.
Businesses that deliver consistent customer service are the ones that succeed for years and are known on an international level.