Today’s businesses are investing more time, money, and resources into customer service than ever before. Even with this increased focus on customer service, many companies still struggle to consistently deliver top-notch service.
Organizations that maintain strong customer service will see a significant return on their investments and reap the rewards of a satisfied customer base.
However, to achieve solid customer service, you will need to incorporate a series of best practices. Below are nine tips that will help you maintain solid customer service in your organization.
8 Best Practices to Maintain Solid Customer Service
Whenever we as human beings interact with other people, we are immediately confronted with the question of how to make that interaction feel pleasant and productive. We are also presented with the option of how to make it feel negative and frustrating.
Given that, it is inevitable that when people interact with businesses, they too will experience those same feelings. The key to maintaining positive customer service is to take the necessary steps to avoid negative interactions as often as possible. Here are 9 best practices for maintaining solid customer service:
1. Keep your employees up to date
Employees are the key to a thriving business. They are the ones who interact with customers, who take customer feedback and handle the books, so they have a huge impact on the customer experience.
Why not keep your customer service reps up to date on the business as a whole to better understand their roles and the customer service needs of your company? Why not keep your managers up to date on the demands put on their team, so they can better anticipate and adjust staffing accordingly?
If you are part of a larger business, you can also keep your fellow employees up to date with their responsibilities by setting up communication systems so that you can all collaborate without having to rely on verbal communication alone.
For example, if you are a restaurant chain, you could have an app that allows all staff at every restaurant to communicate with each other about orders, seating customers, etc. This way, you can keep your other employees up to date on the demands placed on their team as well as keep your customers up to date with their experience.
2. Train your employees
It is not enough to simply have a manual that covers every scenario that could potentially arise. If you cannot explain to your employees how they should respond to every scenario they will encounter while on the job, you will quickly find yourself in a situation where your employees are simply reading from the manual and not understanding why they are acting as they are.
This will lead to employees acting based on their own personal bias and not what is best for the customer.
Therefore, it is important that you train your employees on how to respond to certain scenarios that could arise in their day-to-day work.
For example, if there is a large volume of customers who are asking for certain information, make sure that your employees know what is important when it comes to answering questions, taking orders or any other work-related scenario that could potentially lead to a customer asking for information.
Training also goes for situations where you may make mistakes. For example, if a customer makes a racist comment at your business, you would ideally not respond in kind.
However, if your employee has not been trained on how to handle these types of situations, they may find themselves responding in a way that the customer would be displeased with.
3. Always communicate
The best way to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications is to communicate. When you have questions, when you need help, when you need to schedule a meeting, when you have any other needs, communicate them to your employees.
Avoid using emails when possible – emails are a great way to communicate information, but they are not the best way to communicate feelings, reactions, etc.
If you do need to use email, then use it to share information, not to share feelings or emotions. For example, let’s say that you are planning a project for your business and you have a meeting with the customer to discuss the details. You send an email with the meeting details.
When you are done with the meeting, you go back and delete the email. This is how you should communicate with your employees- by sharing information and not by sharing your feelings and emotions.
4. Always respond promptly
When you respond to emails or calls promptly, you are sending a clear message to your customers that they are important to you and that you are willing to work with them.
When customers feel that they are important to you, they will be more inclined to leave a positive review. When they feel disrespected, they will not hesitate to leave a negative review.
This means that your job as a business owner is not just to take care of the needs of your existing customers, but it is also to make sure you are keeping your eye on the needs of potential customers.
This may mean that you need to work harder to develop relationships with other businesses so that you can refer them to your existing customers.
5. Use automated systems
When it comes to maintaining solid customer service, automated systems are the way to go. This is especially true if you are a small business; there is simply no way you can keep tabs on every single interaction that takes place between you and your customers.
By using automated systems, you can streamline your workflow and ensure that the majority of your time is spent on other things, like developing a product that your customers enjoy.
6. Plan your day with a walkthrough
If you have not done so yet, start planning your day with a walk-through. This is especially important if you are working remotely; it is impossible to keep proper tabs on what your employees are doing unless you are present in the office.
With a walk-through, you can see what they do and what they are doing at that moment. From there, you can take the necessary steps to prevent negative interactions, if any, and have a more positive day.
7. Don’t make decisions on the spot
When it comes to your employees, you cannot leave them at the mercy of their own personal bias. If you have hired an employee and they have been with you for a while, you can be pretty confident that they are a good fit for your business.
However, if you have hired someone for the first time, you need to take the time to understand their skill set and then decide whether or not they are the right fit for your business.
If you do not do this, if you make decisions based on your bias and not on the reality of the situation, then you will find yourself in a situation where the employee is making incorrect decisions that negatively affect your business.
8. Stay positive in your branding and marketing
Your employees are the face of your business, so it is only natural that you also portray a positive image when it comes to your branding and marketing.
This does not mean that you have to post glittering images of a smiling employee on your website, but it does mean that you need to make sure that your branding and marketing reflects the types of people that work for you.
Make sure that when someone is browsing job openings, they are presented with bright images of smiling employees, not with stock photos of a job candidate standing in their cubicle.
Make sure that when someone is reading about your company, they are reading about the people who make it up, not about a desk with a computer on it.
There is no doubt that having a strong customer service team is an essential part of any business. However, it is not enough to simply hire a few people and hope for the best.
It is essential that you make a concerted effort to not only keep your current employees happy and motivated, but also to make sure you are recruiting the right people for the job going forward.