It is a fact that it costs much more to attract new customers than it does to keep existing customers. Each customer interface that occurs over the lifecycle of the customer's business relationship with your organization defines how your organization is perceived and has a major impact on the bottom line.
I have prepared a list of 10 tips that are intended to help you take a holistic view of your customer touch points and their impact on building customer loyalty.
- Experience what your customer experiences! Walk in their shoes and experience your organization's customer touch points as they do. Stand in line, call your call-center, try going through the technical infrastructure (and menu options.) Send an email inquiry, visit the website.Cover all social media options that your organization offers the customer to contact you.
- Make customer service a company-wide mission and LIVE IT. Those of you, who know me through my training classes or have read any of my articles, know my mantra... "Each part represents the whole." Please make sure everyone in your organization understands they are in customer service. Any employee in your organization can impact the customer experience, from customer support staff to back office personnel.
- Be prepared to help upset customers. Generally, you cannot solve a problem if you don't own the problem. It's our job to help. Stay involved until the issue is resolved, please don't pass it off and wash your hands of the situation. Follow-up with the customer. This builds customer loyalty and credibility for your organization.
- Acknowledge that each and every complaint is an opportunity NOT an interruption to the work day! Complaints are a great tool to collect feedback and problem solve your policies, procedures and processes. I have actually heard people say, "If they would just stop calling, I could get my work done." (Need I say more?)
- Acknowledge and EMPOWER staff. Make sure your employees feel a part of the team and realize their contribution to the organization's bottom line. Don't make them feel like "warm bodies" there only to fill a position. Empowering your staff is a better solution than making them appear difficult and uncaring to your customers.
- Act QUICKLY when there is an issue. This goes along with number 5. Don't make your customer feel like it takes an act of Congress to receive help. And please, don't transfer them more than once. If more people or departments need to get involved, become an advocate and be a part of the process. Don't leave them stranded.
- Be sensitive to the technical infrastructure. If you continue to receive complaints about the ease of use, acknowledge there could a problem. Don't make excuses or blame the "end user" or the customer. The system should easily guide the customer through the process. The user should not have to work for the technical process; the process should work for the user, right?
- Provide on-going customer service training and employee development. Don't have the "one and done" training mentality. Encourage everyone in your organization to continue to develop their customer service skills. There is so much more to Customer Service than "just being nice." Invest in training programs and if you are a manager, be prepared to coach your team and inspire them to become customer focused.
- Be enthusiastic and inspiring! Don't be that person that everyone is glad did NOT come to work that day. We are paid professionals and we are paid to be friendly, knowledgeable and able to help, not to be rude and uncaring. Remember, however how we treat each other in the workplace spills over to how we treat our customers... That's called culture.
- Have FUN! Have fun with your customers and co-workers. It builds customer loyalty, strong business relationships and makes for a service focused work environment. Customer Relationships Impact the Bottom Line!
And one last thing, please, no rude people. Do not get caught up in the mind set of well "they normally don't talk to the customer", remember, if they sit by a phone and they are a part of a business process, they are a part of customer service both internal and external.