Do your customers leave after purchasing your products just once? It’s every business owner’s nightmare. It’s a clear indicator that you may need to improve your customer service.
80% of respondents said they stopped going back to a company after they had a poor customer experience. Your customers can easily switch to another brand if they are not satisfied with your customer service.
We live in a world that is fiercely competitive. If you want to have skin in the game, you need to think beyond just acquiring customers. You need to think about how to retain your customers and build customer loyalty.
How can you retain your customers?
The easiest way to do so is to improve your customer service. Positive customer experiences can help you build loyalty and improve retention rates.
Tips to Improve Customer Service
Today, many consumers are not just looking to buy a specific product or service. Instead, they base their purchase decisions on the overall shopping experience.
So, how can you compel them to buy again?
Here are a few tips that can help you deliver better customer experiences and boost sales:
1. Always Ask for Feedback
The best way to understand your customers’ needs is to ask them. The simplest way to improve your customer service is to ask for feedback. Encourage your customers to share their experiences and pain points. The good, the bad, and the ugly — take it all in gracefully.
Why is asking for feedback important?
Through this exercise, you’ll get insights into your customers’ shopping journeys. This will help you understand which areas of customer service you need to improve upon.
When you ask for their opinions, your customers will feel more valued. This strategy can help you establish trust in your brand.
Image via Proforma Graphic Services
How do you collect feedback?
To get feedback, you could send out survey forms via email. Alternatively, you could also conduct polls or ask for ratings on social media channels in the “Review” sections.
Also, make sure you have filled out your contact details on your site. If someone wants to send feedback directly, they should be able to find a means of sending the message.
Once you have collected feedback, it’s important that you do something about it. Collecting feedback is useless unless you act upon it.
It’s a good idea to acknowledge the feedback you receive. If it’s positive, all you need to do is thank them. On the other hand, if it’s negative, tell them how you can resolve their issue.
2. Hire the Right People
Even with the emergence of chatbots and AI, you can’t underestimate the importance of skilled professionals. To improve your customer service, you need to hire people who have the right skills.
What qualities should you look for when hiring customer care executives?
While hiring staff, keep in mind that customer service representatives have to deal with different kinds of people daily. Not everyone is going to be in a good mood. So, you need someone who can be patient and deal with a difficult situation professionally.
Good communication skills are also a prerequisite for customer service representatives. They need to be able to convey their message in a confident manner. In addition to this, they should also be good listeners.
Ultimately, customer service is about people and conversations.
Once you’ve found the right people, train them and familiarize them with each feature of the product or service that you’re offering. You don’t want them to get confused when a customer asks them for details about your product.
3. Be Approachable on Multiple Channels
For a long time, customer service was all about representatives sitting in a call center answering calls all day. That’s long gone now. While the traditional model is still in use, customer service has spread across various channels.
What channels should you use to communicate with your customers?
Live chat, tweets, emails, and discussion forums are some of the modern mediums that you should use for customer service. After all, we live in the digital age.
A study by Microsoft revealed that more than half of consumers prefer an online mode of customer support interaction. The respondents who agreed included not just millennials, but also people above the age of 55.
Social media is a great channel to improve your customer service.
It’s instantaneous and location-independent.
You could be sitting in New York solving queries of a customer in California within the same minute that they post the complaint. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to leverage social media to improve your customer service.
To provide efficient customer service, Amazon created an exclusive account on Twitter, @AmazonHelp. It’s a space that’s dedicated to resolving customers’ queries.
Image via Twitter
The best thing about social media is that it also acts as social proof. When you solve people’s issues on social media, it’s visible for everyone to see.
This means you can earn some extra brownie points and polish your brand’s reputation by providing exceptional customer service.
Pro Tip: Use Zendesk's specialized software to provide multi-channel support and to track and analyze your response and resolution time.
4. Send Personalized Messages
Personalized customer support can show your customers that you really care about them. It also increases your chances of making the customer more loyal to your brand.
When it comes to improving customer service, the devil is in the small details. Simple gestures like remembering your customers’ names can make all the difference.
Is that so?
Research showed that when a person hears their own name, brain activation occurs. It’s for the same reason that Starbucks puts emphasis on the name of each customer. It’s a subtle way to get them to like you.
Additionally, you could also send out birthday cards and gifts. It puts the spotlight on them and makes them feel special. And that is exactly what you need. Happy customers equal improved customer experience.
Online clothing retailer, Zappos, goes above and beyond to “wow” their customers. Take a cue from how their customer service representatives strike a bond with their customers.
Zappos gives them the freedom to hand out gifts and vouchers based on the situation of their customers.
Image via YouTube
Rolando, a Zappos “genie,” received a call from a woman named Sharon who was soon going on a trip to Hawaii.
Along with other representatives, Rolando took the customer service right to her door. They gave her a gift that she could take with her to Hawaii. Needless to say, it blew her away.
5. Reward Your Customers
Improving customer service and building loyalty go hand in hand. Happy customers are much more likely to return for repeat purchases.
What’s the best way to keep your customers happy?
Reward them. Customers love discounts, rewards, and incentives.
Sephora’s customer loyalty program encourages their customers to buy more products. For each dollar that they spend, they earn one point. You can later use these points to get rewards from Sephora’s online store.
Image via Sephora
6. Simplify the Process of Returning Products
What happens when a customer does not like your product? If you want to improve your customer experience, you need to ensure that the process to return the product is smooth.
For any customer, any store that has a flexible return policy seems like a better choice than one that doesn’t. After all, no one likes to go through the hassle of returning products.
If you have the resources, the best way to improve your customer service in such a situation would be to provide a free pickup service. That way, you at least stand a chance to retain your customers.
In addition to this, you should try to find out why the customer wasn’t happy with your products. One way of doing this is to send out a form or a questionnaire.
In it, you can ask them to explain the reason for returning the product in detail. Based on the responses, you can understand what’s affecting the customer experience. Working on the feedback is your best bet to improving your customer service in the long run.
7. Allow Customers to Test Your Products Before Buying
For a customer who likes to buy a lot of products, it’s a hassle to exchange or return products every time they make a purchase. If it costs money to return the products, that’s just inconvenient.
So, what can you do to improve the customer experience? One way is to allow them to try or test the products before they buy them. Big online players boost their sales using this strategy.
You can take inspiration from Amazon’s, “Try Before You Buy,” Program. With their Prime Wardrobe, Amazon allows customers to choose between three to eight items of shoes, clothing, or accessories.
Once the chosen products arrive, customers can take seven days to try everything at home. If they don’t like a product, they can return it. In this way, customers only pay for what they really like.
This program is especially useful for those who aren’t sure about their size or if a particular dress will fit them well. With a free trial, their buying experience becomes a smooth one.
Even Netflix uses this strategy to improve their customer experience. For one month, they provide access to their streaming service for free. Before the free trial ends, they send a reminder. If a customer likes the service, they can continue with the paid version.
It’s a clever way of giving your customers a feel of your product before they make a purchase. Chances are, if the customer experience is great, you’ll boost your revenue.
Image via Netflix
8. Try to Speed Up All of Your Retail Interactions
Shopping can be a tiresome experience. You might have to wade through countless useless items before you find something that you like. To cut down on the time and effort, you should try simplifying the whole process.
For instance, Walmart has come up with an innovative solution to improve customer service and experience. They have built massive self-service kiosks in some of their stores.
How do these kiosks help customers?
Using these kiosks, customers can scan barcodes on all of their purchase receipts. Within a few seconds, the items they ordered appear on a conveyor belt.
In this way, they allow customers to pick up their items without having to worry about their packages being damaged or stolen. Overall, it can improve the customer service and experience.
You know that customers are essential to the success of your business. To stay at the top of your game, you need to make sure you provide a great shopping experience to them.
Are you ready to improve your customers’ shopping experiences?
Have you already used any of the tactics mentioned above? Tell us in the comment section below.