Customer service plays an integral role in success for small businesses that want to compete with larger brands. However, most companies don’t prioritize responsiveness nearly as much as they should. In today’s marketplace, customers expect businesses to deal with them promptly and efficiently. Shortcomings in this area will do nothing but hold you back over the long haul.
How to increase your customer service responsiveness
According to entrepreneur Ian Linton, “Customer responsiveness is the ability of a business to recognize and respond to changing customer needs.” As you seek to improve your business standing in your industry and drive engagement with the marketplace, enhancing your overall level of responsiveness is one of the strongest investments you can make. Here are a few specific actions you can take:
1. Don’t offer a channel you don’t intend to monitor
One mistake businesses often make is promising customer service channels that they can’t support. While it might look nice to advertise phone, email, chat, and social media support, don’t promise something you don’t intend to monitor. It’s better to offer one or two responsive channels than four or five poorly managed ones.
2. Learn to use social media correctly
Social media offers an excellent opportunity for your company to offer customer service in an environment where your customers are already congregating. Just make sure you understand the responsibilities that come with social customer service.
Studies show that people feel they deserve a response within the same day, while 42 percent want feedback within an hour of a customer service inquiry. Having a full-time social media customer service rep will help you reach these goals.
3. Give trusted team members autonomy
While you should be cautious when it comes to giving a lot of unsupervised freedom to lower-level employees who haven’t yet proven themselves, there’s something to be said for providing your most trusted team members with the autonomy to promptly deal with customer service issues.
One practical way you can do this is by providing these trusted employees with good business credit cards that they can use to fix or solve customer issues immediately. In other words, instead of having to climb up the ladder and get approval from multiple people just to take care of a $20 expense, the employee can take care of it at their discretion. In the long run, this autonomy breeds better responsiveness.
4. Make the chain of command clear
When you look at inefficient customer service departments, one of the more common traits is a lack of clarity regarding the chain of command. People on the lower levels of the chain don’t know who they report to. People at the top aren’t always sure of how much power and freedom they have to call the shots. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to slow response times and frustrating customer experiences.
The solution to this problem is to make sure everyone is on the same page. The more you can streamline the chain of command, the faster the response times. When response times are fast, customers will be satisfied, too.
Give your customers what they want
Your customers choose to spend their hard earned time and money on your products and services. This should give you a sense of responsibility to care for them and make sure their needs are met. And while every consumer has their own specific needs, each customer deserves responsive service when they have questions, requests, or needs. By increasing your level of responsiveness, you’ll create more satisfied customers, which in turn strengthens your brand and attracts additional customers. It’s a sustainable loop your business can come to rely on.