You can have the best plans and intentions for your business, but if you don’t have happy customers, you won’t be able to bring in the profits that you hope for. Happy customers come from treating people like people and not a paycheck. Skills like patience, attentiveness, and communication are key to making your customer’s experience a positive and memorable one. Remember, customers don’t mind if a mistake is made as long as it’s acknowledged and corrected. A customer service study conducted by America Express states that, “U.S. consumers are willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service.” In addition, it is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. You can take these steps immediately to make customers feel as though you provided them with better care than any other service business would have. Go Above and Beyond You must do more than simply satisfy your customers. You need to go above and beyond to provide an outstanding experience. A recent study found that, “after one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again,” while “U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.” Beyond losing a specific customer due to a poor customer experience, there are compounding and lasting impacts to a business. Disgruntled or neutral customers are likely to leave you negative or mediocre reviews online and tell their friends and neighbors damaging things about your business. A recent study states that, “90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business,” and “84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.” Find ways to do a little extra for your customers. Surprise them with a communication they weren’t expecting, greet them by their name and make sure all their questions are answered before leaving. It is usually the little things done well that make all the difference. Make Your Interactions Seamless Customers hire service businesses to make their lives easier. They rely on you for the expertise, and your team is probably extremely knowledgeable about what they do. That doesn’t mean that they’re great customer service providers. Wow your customers by creating seamless service. This may involve recording their problems so that they don’t have to repeat what’s going on every time they talk to a new service agent. It might entail initiating communication and following up on problems. Although you might think that this requires an entirely new level of training, you can streamline the customer service process by using a comprehensive software solution. An all-in-one software platform lets you focus on your expertise while continuing to appease your customers. LiveAgent, for example, gives service companies the ability to seamlessly communicate with customers online who may be experiencing problems. This can be done through live chat, email and phone. If there’s a problem, it’s best to help your customers in real time in an effort to correct any problems immediately. Find Their Information Quickly It’s beyond frustrating when customers have to make their way through a tedious telephone menu just to speak with a representative. When your customer does finally get to speak to a human being, make sure that any information they’ve inputted during the automated process is available to the representative, so they don’t need to provide it again. If you’re a field service business and are traveling to a person’s home, then make sure the field service representative has all the pertinent information about the person and their problem. For example, if you’re an electrician business and your service reps are driving to a customer’s home to service outlets that stopped working, they should have information like who they are meeting at the home, what problems they are having and make sure the required parts are on the truck. This gives your service rep the best chance to provide your customer with a hassle-free experience. To accomplish this, many service businesses rely on technology to create seamless customer experiences. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver Although you may have the best intentions in mind, if you don’t follow through with your promises, you’re going to disappoint your customers. The best way to make sure that this never happens is to set the expectation a little lower than you know you can manage. That way, you’ll impress your customers with service that exceeds their expectations every time. If you’ve received a few negative reviews, inspect them to determine whether you can change the expectation. For example, if a customer states that your technician took too long to do the job, indicate the expected length of service time in your initial consultation. Make sure that it’s longer than what you know your team can achieve. When things get finished more quickly, your customers will be thrilled. BrightLocal found that, “70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked. Take advantage of over delivering by requesting your customer take a short survey or provide them with a link to leave an online review. Be Flexible Just about every service business has standard customer service procedures. However, strict adherence to policy can make your customers feel unheard and unimportant. Following a script can irk an otherwise complacent customer. Make every effort to respond appropriately to your clients’ needs, and be aware of their emotions. Go beyond the basics and find ways to treat your customer like a friend rather than just another customer. Get to know the customer on a more personal level and find ways to personalize their experience or make it memorable as compared to other businesses. Do what you can to help them while staying within the guidelines of your policies and implement an open-door policy that lets you escalate matters to a supervisor when necessary. Remember, you’re having a human-to-human interaction. Treat your customers as you would like to be treated.