Every company, regardless of industry, realizes the importance of high quality customer service. This can be the difference between keeping a customer happy and having him or her leave for a competitor.
Despite the importance, some companies continue to neglect this area of their business. Once that becomes your reputation, you’re at risk of losing current customers, as well as gaining new ones.
Most recently, in a study conducted by the Temkin Group, the following companies were rated as providing the best customer experiences:
- Trader Joe’s
Think about those brands and ask yourself this important question: how do you ensure your franchise is thought of as one of those companies people really enjoying buying from or doing business with?
Listed below are three simple, quick, and effective ways to improve your customer service. Forget about industry, company size, and what you have done in the past. You can use these methods to improve your customer service in the future regardless of the type of franchise you run:
1. Focus on Availability
What good is having a customer service team that is never available to provide assistance? Depending on your industry, you may not need to provide customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What you should do, however, is make yourself available during regular business hours.
Here are some additional tips:
- Don’t make customers wait on hold. A little wait is okay, but as you begin to push several minutes or more the customer will become irritated.
- Provide access to many types of customer service. While phone and email support are most common, live chat is gaining traction.
- Strive to address all questions and concerns during the first call. Not only does this benefit the customer, but it ensures that the same problem does not bog the company down again in the future.
2. Provide Knowledge
Just because you provide fast customer service does not mean it is necessarily effective. Customer service professionals must be able to deal with anything that comes their way. They must be able to provide the appropriate knowledge at the appropriate time.
In most cases, this comes down to one word: training. You can’t throw a person into a customer service role and expect them to excel. Instead, a detailed training regimen should be implemented. This will guarantee that the person is in the best position to succeed. And when customer service reps succeed, those they are dealing with will feel better about the company.
Some companies do this, but others consider it a waste of time. If you don’t deal with a large volume of customer service contacts, you may be able to follow up on each call, email or chat. This is particularly true if the person is a current customer and you have his or her contact information.
Sure, it takes time to follow up with someone who contacted your company for support, but in the end this makes them feel wanted. It shows them you care. Even if it is a short email asking if their problem was resolved, it proves that you are doing what you can to make them happy. And there is nothing more important than that.
You could have the greatest product or service in your industry, but if you don’t offer top of the line customer support you will eventually face some trouble. With the three tips above, you can quickly improve in this area.
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.
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