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# 1. Listen to Your Customers
Read that again, please. I didn’t say “make assumptions about what your customers want.” I said listen to them. That means if they complain about your product, hear them out when they tell you what’s wrong with it (and act on it). If they tell you what they want from your product, make a note. The best way to serve your customers better is by really paying attention to what they’re telling you.
# 2. Act Quickly
There nothing more pet-peevish than a company that encourages you to email its customer service department, only to not respond –or wait weeks to respond –to your inquiry.
Create a policy for your customer service reps (or for yourself) to respond within 24-48 hours. We’ve become such an instant-gratification society, thanks to social media, so people come to expect a prompt response.
# 3. Fix It, No Matter Who’s at Fault
As a customer, you’ve gotta love “no questions asked” return policies. I once spilled juice all over a Dell keyboard and they sent me a new one, even though it had been my fault. It’s too time- and cost-consuming to figure out whether your customer is the cause of her own complaint. Repair or replace the item. It’s cheaper in the long run, and you’ll have a lifelong customer for your efforts.
# 4. Invest Heavily in Training
For many companies, the only time a customer may interact with a real, live person is when she has a complaint. As the first point of contact, it is of the utmost importance that this customer service rep be congenial and comfortable in his role. Don’t simply throw him a script and sit him in front of a phone.
Realize how important it is to your customer to have a positive experience: 45% of people rank dealing with a friendly customer service rep as part of a great online experience. If your staff isn’t well-trained in your processes, they can’t hope to make a positive impression to customers.
# 5. Take the One-on-One Approach
Many companies have seen positive results from assigning specific reps to clients, rather than have all clients call a generic customer service line. Having a specific individual to connect to empowers customers, as they know they can call or email with questions and not have to explain their entire situation again and again, only to be transferred to a different department.
Providing fabulous customer service isn’t rocket science, but it does take devotion to your customer and understanding her wants and needs.
Images: ”Portrait of five business partners keeping thumbs up and looking at camera with smiles/Shutterstock.com“
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