Great customer service is essential if you’re looking to grow your business. It makes your customers feel valued, builds brand loyalty, and encourages positive word of mouth about your brand. It’s also an excellent way to make your business stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Today, the customer service experience goes well beyond the service your customers receive instore or over the phone. It includes their interactions with your brand over email, SMS, website and social media channels – and aspects like timeliness, helpfulness and consistency.
To ensure your customers enjoy great customer service regardless of channel, your business must have a strong customer service culture that’s supported and reinforced across your operations. In a genuinely customer-focused company, employees have an unwavering focus on providing an outstanding customer experience and feel empowered to always put the customer first.
Here are six ways to provide great customer service.
1. Know your product
There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a customer service representative who doesn’t understand the product or service they’re selling. Comprehensive product training is an essential part of onboarding new employees. Your staff should know and understand how your products or services work, key product features, and how your offering compares to key competitor products. Think about the most common questions customers ask and ensure your team can respond to them effectively.
2. Provide timely service
We’ve all stood waiting in a queue while sales staff have a private conversation, seemingly unaware that customers are waiting to be served. It’s not a good feeling!
Top customer service means being available for and attentive to customers – whether they’re in front of you or looking for service via your website’s live chat. In a hospitality setting, it means seating your customers quickly, ensuring they have menus and returning promptly to take their orders. No one likes feeling they’ve been forgotten about or ignored.
3. Listen to your customers
Listening is one of the most simple and effective ways to take your customer service to the next level. We’ve all been pleasantly surprised to be served by a customer service rep who’s really tuned in to what we’re saying, and conversely, had experiences where it’s clear the person we’re dealing with is just going through the motions.
Teach your team to be active listeners and tune in to what customers are communicating non-verbally. You should also use the data captured by your point of sale system to see if customers are voting with their wallets when buying particular products or being upsold by certain salespeople. For even more insight, you can ask customers for private feedback via their digital receipt using Square Feedback and use this information to refine your customer experience.
4. Be prepared to say, “I don’t know.”
Even with a team of product experts, there will be times that customers ask a question that you don’t have an instant answer for. Whether it’s a product query you’ve never had before or a warranty claim that you’re not sure how to handle, it’s okay to say, “I’m not sure, but I’ll look into it and get back to you”. Give your customer a timeframe within which you’ll respond and stick to it – even if it’s to let them know that you’re still working on a resolution for them.
5. Recognise and reward loyal customers
A customer loyalty program is a great way to make regular customers feel valued. It costs up to five times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, so it makes sense to look after your regulars. Whether you decide to provide a discount at sign-up, a points-based loyalty program or rewards for referrals, have your sales team actively promote your loyalty program – and use the insights captured to serve your customers better.
Square Loyalty helps you to recognise and reward loyal customers directly from your point of sale.
6. Offer a personalised experience
People want to be treated like individuals, not just the next person in line. It’s a nice feeling when the barista at your local café knows your name and order and asks about your weekend.
Your customer service culture can be reinforced by a POS system that captures information about your customers and lets your staff use it to provide a more personalised experience. Whether it’s remembering your spouse’s name or asking about your thoughts on the last product you purchased, your staff can make your customers feel appreciated and important.
Square Online offers advanced reporting and analytics and real-time insights into who’s buying from you, what they’re purchasing, how much they’re spending, how often they return, and more, letting you serve customers with a personal touch.
Your business must invest time, resources and money if you want to consistently provide great customer service, but the benefits are worth it. An excellent customer service experience will help you stand out from the competition, build a reputation amongst current and potential customers, and convert first-time buyers into loyal regulars.