Did you know that over 90% of consumers now read reviews before making a purchase? Customer service has never been more important for business owners. In this guide, we’ll explore how to turn average ratings into sensational scores.
Customer engagement goes beyond sharing posts to advertise products and encourage people to buy from you or invest in services. The aim of engagement is to build strong relationships and encourage and facilitate communication between brands and clients. As a business owner, it’s hugely beneficial to take the time to engage with your customers, to communicate with prospective clients and to try and establish relationships. Engagement plays a critical role in boosting client retention rates, which is good for profits and brand reputation, and it can separate your business from competitors. Use social media, your website, your blog and personalized emails to open up channels of communication, respond to comments and questions and gather information about your customers.
Understand your customer
One of the most important elements of improving customer service and building relationships with customers is understanding what they want and need. Whether you provide services or products, it’s beneficial to use market research and customer engagement techniques to learn more about your customers and your target market and find out what makes them tick and what they are hoping to achieve. When companies and customers work together, they can maximize the chances of achieving shared goals. A great example of this is The Beachbody Company, a health and wellness enterprise that is focused on helping clients get the results they want. If you know your customers well and you understand what they are striving for, you can identify solutions and adapt the way you work to provide a better service, enhance your reputation and impress your clients and prospective customers who may be considering buying from or working with you.
Ask for feedback
Sometimes, it can be difficult to gain an accurate insight into how people view your brand when you’re the owner of a business. It can also be challenging to gauge performance in terms of how your customers feel and how you compare to rival businesses. Feedback is invaluable, especially in an age where 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as advice from friends and family. If you’re a start-up owner, you’re still a fledgling business or you don’t currently have many reviews, it’s a brilliant idea to ask for feedback. Encourage customers to leave reviews and comment on social media or blog posts, invite people to share ideas or suggestions and take the time to read comments. Use the feedback you receive to identify areas for improvement and develop your business. You can learn more about your customers through reviews and you can also gather information about changes or updates they would like to see and investigate innovative ideas. Address problems or complaints promptly and try to provide solutions.
There are many ways you can collect feedback. Examples include asking customers to leave reviews on popular consumer review websites, including links to surveys or polls in emails, leaving questionnaires on tables or counters in stores or restaurants and offering incentives on social media. If you receive positive reviews, use them to encourage new customers to want to find out more. Share client testimonials on your website and feature verified reviews on your social feeds.
Customers often have questions about buying products or paying for services and they may encounter difficulties if they’ve placed an order or they are waiting for a delivery, for example. Customer support should provide seamless, responsive assistance for customers who have queries as well as those who are simply looking for more information. You can respond to comments on social media, use instant messaging or live chat to offer immediate replies or provide an email address or an online enquiry form for customers to get in touch. Good customer support can encourage clients to choose your business while poor service can push customers in the direction of competitors. Try to avoid leaving people waiting for a reply to an email or sitting at the end of a phone line on hold for hours on end at all costs.
Monitoring your performance is an effective means to identify issues that could be holding you back and achieve continuous improvement. Collect and analyze sales data, use feedback from employees and customers to inform decision-making and set ambitious but realistic targets. Use data to highlight weaknesses. If you sell online, for example, analytics may show that you are losing customers when they visit your homepage or click on a landing page. If you’re succeeding in driving traffic, but your site is letting you down, consider making changes to your website. Enhancing the aesthetics, improving functionality, providing interesting, engaging content and offering features that supercharge customer experience can all help to keep interested parties in the sales funnel. Tailor performance monitoring to your key objectives. If you’re on a mission to increase client retention rates, for example, keep a close eye on data related to repeat orders and customer churn.
We often get carried away with pricing and discounts when thinking about ways to lure customers in and encourage them to take the all-important final step and buy a product or invest in a service. The truth is that some consumers will look for the lowest price but many look for deals that offer the best value. As a business owner, it’s beneficial to try and increase value for your customers and to upsell value when promoting your products and services. When thinking about ways to add value, cater to your customers’ needs and preferences. Use feedback to get ideas and suggestions. Examples of ways you could enhance value include offering additional services, such as gift-wrapping or personalization, using better quality materials or offering exclusive access to additional features or benefits for subscribers or loyal customers.
Making customers feel special
We all have experience of customer service and we know that, as consumers, the service we receive can influence the decisions we make. Excellent service encourages loyalty while negative experiences can cause us to consider alternative options. If you run a business, it pays to make every customer feel special. Word of mouth has been a powerful marketing tool for decades and today, it plays a crucial role in influencing customer behavior. From traditional marketing to social media and online reviews, people trust what others say. If a friend recommends a roofer, a beauty salon or a restaurant, for example, or you read positive reviews online, you will probably be more inclined to try those businesses over others. Make sure your customers feel valued. Be polite and courteous, offer support and assistance and reward loyalty. If customers subscribe to your emails, they follow you online and share your posts or they buy from you repeatedly, show them that you are grateful. You can do this by running exclusive promotions, offering freebies or money off after multiple purchases, sending greetings and special offers for birthdays and occasions or offering clients the opportunity to earn points to spend online or in-store.
Providing employee training
Customer service takes a prominent role in many jobs across all sectors. While some employees may be proficient in customer service, others may have limited experience. If you meet with clients face-to-face or you run a business that involves serving customers, it’s beneficial to consider offering training for your employees. Courses and workshops can help employees to develop new skills and gain a better understanding of what good customer service constitutes. It’s also advantageous to implement policies and guidelines to help staff improve service and keep customers happy. If you run a restaurant, for example, you want your staff to extend a warm welcome, seat diners promptly, answer questions related to the menu and be polite and courteous when serving food and drinks. If the service is slow or the staff is rude, distant or disinterested, this may put people off coming again even if the food is incredible. Ensure that your employees create a good first impression, provide support for them to fulfil their potential and try to build confidence within your team.
You can also benefit from using professional services, for example, call answering, if you provide services online or you sell products without seeing customers face-to-face.
Customer service has never been more important. Consumers are looking for more than great products at competitive prices. They want to enjoy experiences and actively engage with brands. Good customer service can boost client retention rates and encourage consumers to leave positive reviews and recommend your business to others. If your score is average or you’re not getting many repeat customers, it’s beneficial to make it your mission to provide a better service for your customers. Look after loyal clients, communicate and engage with existing customers, ask for feedback and take suggestions on board. Provide customer service training for your employees, ensure customers can access support and take the time to get to know your customers and understand what they want and need.
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