5 Ways to Improve Customer Service

In a world where many companies face stiff competition from others, the level of customer service provided can make the difference between success and failure. As demographics shift and more people turn to online platforms for everyday communication needs, it is important for businesses to evaluate the quality of customer service offered and adjust as needed. Improvements can involve anything from tracking customer feedback, revamping training programs or focusing on personalizing customer experiences.

1. Track Customer Contact Points

Without data, it can be incredibly difficult to track the effectiveness of customer service processes. Using software for call tracking can help businesses log incoming and outgoing phone calls and text messages. Knowing the average length of time employees spend talking to customers and how long it takes staff members to return calls or text messages is an excellent starting point. Tracking customer interactions by mail, e-mail and online posts, either on the company website or on social media pages, can also provide valuable information about the current quality of service. This data can be used to create more effective training programs.

2. Train All Staff Members

One of the reasons why employees do not perform well and become demoralized is due to lack of training. A customer service team that is composed of ill-informed, anxious staff members will perform poorly. A good training program can reduce turnover and enhance productivity. All staff members who may have contact with customers should understand company policies and what is expected of them during interactions. The training programs should be as comprehensive as possible. They should cover in-person interactions, phone calls, emails, social media posts and live chat support. New policies should be communicated quickly and clearly to ensure everyone is on the same page and no mistakes are made. If employees are trained to de-escalate situations and offer creative solutions to problems, that can potentially save the company time and money while boosting future business.

3. Embrace Feedback

No matter how good a product is or how efficient the customer service team is, it is impossible to please every single customer. A few complaints or suggestions are a normal part of any business and should be expected. Instead of waiting for customers to reach out, try sending out surveys or asking customers a few quick questions about their satisfaction level at the end of phone calls, emails or website visits. Organize the input into categories and look for patterns in the data. If most of the comments involve two or three points of concern, then it may be time to examine the existing processes to find better solutions. 

4. Reward Loyalty

People like to feel appreciated, and customers who have been patronizing the same business for years often like to have their loyalty rewarded. Loyal customers will likely be returning on a regular basis, so offering them incentives will help keep them happy and could increase the frequency or size of their purchases. Loyalty programs do not need to be complicated to be effective. Sending out coupons, offering free items or the option to test new products before they hit the market can all work wonders. 

5. Send Personalized Messages

Creating a mailing list is a fantastic way to contact customers quickly and efficiently. It is easy to craft an email and send it out to hundreds or even thousands of people. However, sending personalized messages will likely get a better response, especially if the people on the mailing list are long-time customers. Inserting a client’s name at the beginning of a generic email will make a good impression without a lot of extra work. Creating a tiered system, where personalized messages are sent to the best customers, may take a bit longer, but can yield great results.

As more customers turn to online methods to contact businesses, it is important for companies to continuously adapt to customer expectations in order to stay competitive. Making existing clients happy will also boost the company’s reputation for having good customer service, which is attractive to potential customers. Deciding to devote the time and resources to evaluate and revamp an existing customer service system may be daunting, but the increase in customer satisfaction, reduction in employee turnover and boost in sales can make the effort worthwhile.