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A small business doesn't have the resources that a much larger company does. This means that they can't impress customers with the amount of money that they can splash around. Instead, a small firm has to figure out how they can put themselves ahead of the competition, and focusing on four items will help them do that. First, they need excellent customer service; second, they need to have the right tools for customer service to use; third, they need to understand what issues are happening from their customers; and four, they need to ensure that their customer service team is fully trained. These four things will impress potential and current customers and make it easier to land the larger accounts they are fishing for.
Customer service issues can cost you revenue, cause you to lose customers, and, in a worst-case scenario, tank a business. Bad customer service stories make it onto social media and sometimes go viral and can make it much harder to garner new customers because of what they have seen online. Big companies might be obvious targets for this kind of issue, but any negative word-of-mouth can hurt even small businesses. On the other hand, when you deliver superior customer service, going that extra mile to please your customers, they remember, and that can spread just as far and fast. It's what makes it a pleasure for customers to come back to your business.
In order to achieve the great customer service that you want for your business and that customers will be talking about, you need to make sure that your customer service team has the right tools for the job. There are a variety of tools that you could use, but if you don't use them properly, they are just a wasted investment and money down the drain. Tools such as Help Desk, a CRM system, Chat features, Knowledge Management Tools, Social Media, and more are all tools that your customer service team can use to ensure a high-quality service during encounters with your business customers.
Most businesses would agree that a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is an essential tool for your customer service team. This software allows you to store and analyze data about your customers, create customized reports, and send custom emails. A CRM also lets you slice and dice data so you can analyze patterns and trends. You can automate contacts by, for example, setting up the system to send follow-up sales emails to customers who opened your e-newsletter. CRM systems help you to be proactive instead of reactive, and it shows that you value your customers because you are trying to help them versus just sell them.
Social media is also now a must-do for your customer service team. They need to know how to respond to customers and non-customers alike, as well as when to respond or not to respond. Your customer service team can help you leverage this platform by not only posting interesting content but interacting with the audience. Additionally, you can supplement social media with a few tools that allow you to get notified when your business is mentioned on different social media sites. Being responsive on social media means that you are trying to be where your customers and potential customers are.
One very important aspect that your customer service team can do is to log the issues that your customers come to you with. There are several different reports that you should be looking at regularly to determine if you have a problem to address, as well as to find out how the team is currently handling the issue. These various reports usually come from your CRM system, so it's crucial that your team knows how to use the CRM system correctly. Issues typically come in three flavors: customer complaints, glitches, and time-to-close or time-to-resolve. Each of these metrics will provide you important information that can affect current and future customers and how they perceive your business.
Are you looking to upgrade your customer service goal tracking? See one of the most popular features of the Starting Point platform
Your customer service team is only as good as how well they are trained. The purpose behind training your customer service team is so that they can effectively and efficiently handle the issues that get thrown their way on a daily basis. Do they understand how to use the software that they have access to? Do they know the right person to direct calls to for different issues that need escalation? Who handles responding to a particular social media platform? Do they know how you want them to answer the phone? All of these and a hundred more little things all go into having an effectively trained group of customer service experts in your business.
Coaching new customer service hires is very important before they get released "into the wild" to handle customer calls and issues. This involves doing role play so that they can practice skills and dialogue. They need to learn how to remain calm when a caller is irate or yelling, as well as how to attempt to diffuse a volatile situation to where the customer is heard and validated while assistance is rendered to the best ability of the customer service team member. Coaching helps to build confidence in your team, resulting in a better experience for the customers.
While your customer service team is top-notch and smart, they can't be expected to remember everything. And new hires will not understand the reference when you talk about that time Billy called and was irate. Instead, what is useful for all team members is to have a library of resources that they can use when they encounter an issue or situation that is unfamiliar. Often these come in the form of binders of information and/or databases of information that can be added to as the need arises. In this way, all team members can learn from each other, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) can be readily followed in the same manner, time and time again.
As we can plainly see, addressing the needs of a business's customers is key in making sure that a business positions itself for growth in the marketplace. You could have a great product or service, but if you don't treat your customers well and listen to them, you will quickly find out that your competition is winning. Empower your customer service team with the right tools, training, and other resources, and you'll have a winning formula for success no matter what industry your business is in.
Are you ready to start winning with your customer service? Contact Starting Point today for a free demo of their platform