One factor that contributes to the success of a business is the kind of customer service it offers to its clients. Businesses who value their customers cultivate a good reputation which can be an advantage over their competitors. A good customer service reputation establishes your brand and attracts and retains customers. There are several ways to practice excellent customer service and here are nine of them: #1. Give discount and freebies to loyal customers Give loyal customers the privilege of getting discounts and freebies from your company. Reward their loyalty by providing them something that other clients don’t have access to. Customers love the feeling of being appreciated. Thank them for staying with you when they have the option to switch to other brands. For instance, in your mailing list, announce that you will be giving a 50% discount on prices exclusively for members of the list, compared to regular customers who will only enjoy 20% off. #2. Reply promptly A long interval between a query and a reply can turn customers off. All inquiries require immediate answers—even if it’s just to acknowledge that you received their message. Failing to deliver within an allotted period is losing the opportunity to offer help, which is what customer service is about. A prompt response suggests that you are interested in what your clients have to say. Try to reply to emails within 24 hours. If your business has a live chat support, make sure that an agent is online to attend to questions, comments, and suggestions. #3. Update them with the latest Never lose the connection with your clients. Make sure to update them with the recent news about your brand and remind them of upcoming sales or the latest collections. Mount posters outside your store or send newsletters to make them aware of what to expect in the coming weeks. Use social media to announce events that need immediate participation so it can reach them anytime, anywhere. #4. Speak with the proper tone Not all customers are easy to handle but you should keep your cool and remain friendly. See to it that even if you are put in a situation wherein customers tell you that you are incompetent or something along the lines that will offend you, you shall never raise your voice. It is normal to defend yourself, but do not say something that you will regret later on when your emotions have cooled down. Never resort to profanities or giving them a bad finger. It will not only ruin your reputation, but also your company’s. On normal situations, just smile and accommodate customers as usual. #5. Go the extra mile Look beyond what customers want. It doesn’t mean that because they only asked for a particular service, that is all they will ever need. Feel free to offer them something else if you feel that they deserve more. A family had their vacation at luxury hotel and resort Ritz Carlton. Their son left his toy giraffe in the hotel and instead of plainly sending it back to the family, the staff took pictures of Joshie the giraffe having a blast at Ritz Carlton’s facilities. #6. Be knowledgeable When customers want to know more about the brand, a product, or just a general question about the business, you should know how and what to respond. They won’t ask if they already know the answer so it is only proper to be knowledgeable in what your company has to offer. Know answers to frequently asked questions by heart and be ready to give suggestions and advice. Questions like “What kind of fabric is this?” needs an accurate answer. #7. Meet halfway Contrary to popular belief, customers aren’t always right. While it is true that you should provide them excellent service in the best way you can, going against company protocol to satisfy a client’s demands is frowned upon. If a client asks you to make reservations for them even if you adhere to the “first come, first serve” policy, tell them (politely, of course) that you won’t be able to accommodate their request. Remember that you can give them what they want without sacrificing the company’s rules. Meet halfway to somewhere you are both comfortable with so you can avoid further misunderstanding, such as offering a table next to a good view if they sign up now. #8. Personalize messages With just one click of the “send” button, hundreds of your customers will receive your email. Although sending the same message to many is the easiest thing to do, it is not the best option. Personalize it by crafting an email that is addressed to a single person. Use their first names on the headline to let them feel that this message is made especially for them. Sending emails one by one is time consuming. However, you can use mail merge to send personalized mails to multiple people. It gives them an idea that you are talking directly to them and that they are not just a small particle in your vast number of clients. #9. Look for ways to constantly upgrade your services It’s not enough that you deliver excellent customer service now. You should continue doing that kind of service in order to maintain your reputation and relationship with clients. You might need to outsource customer service or develop apps so customers on mobile can access your brand. Assess the areas you have to improve on to be able to give customer service that is always better than what you offered yesterday. There might be problems with some of your front liners despite the products or services that you offer. Talk to your staff and give them workshops to help them express themselves better without coming off as arrogant. How do you make customers feel special? Share them to us through the comments below! 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