If you're in business, its inevitable that at some point, things will go wrong for your customers. They will hit a problem with one of your products or services, and its at that point that your customer support really needs to count.
This article explores how you can deliver great customer service and the main steps you can take to build and maintain trust with your customers. It's a simple process that you can follow to help customers become advocates for your business and get them to buy from you again and again.
The steps are:
- Test your own products & services
- Create clear instructions
- Make it simple and easy to get in touch with you
- Get all of the necessary information
- Fix the problem
- Check that its resolved
- Learn from the issue
- Build trust
Benefits of delivering great customer service
- Increases trust with your customers
- Keeps your customers happy
- Gives you the satisfaction of running a responsible business
- Means customers are more likely to buy from you again
- Creates good word of mouth
Who is this article for?
- Small business owners and entrepreneurs
- People in customer service and support areas
- People installing or updating customer service processes
- Managers responsible for customer service
Step 1: Test Your Own Products & Services
The first thing to do is to check out your products and services yourself to identify potential problems before a customer comes across them. You can do this by putting yourself in your customer's position and going through every step of getting the product or service, from start to finish.
- Finding out about the product or service
- Researching it
- Using your website
- Ordering and payment process
- Receiving the product or service
- Using the product or service - Is it fit for purpose?
Get your colleagues, friends and family members to try it out too. The simple step of testing things yourself can often identify issues before they ever become a problem in the real world.
Step 2: Create Clear Instructions on Using Your Products and Services
Often, customers will want to figure out any issues or problems themselves before getting in touch with you. You can make this as easy as possible for them by:
- Creating comprehensive instructions and guides for the products
- Providing a knowledge base and frequently asked questions list on your website
- Ensuring your website has a comprehensive 'support' area, including guides that can help your visitors troubleshoot their issues
- Getting a support forum in place where users can help one another
Step 3: Make It Clear, Obvious and Easy How People Can Get in Touch to Get Help
If customers do need to contact you, you must make it as easy and quick as possible for them to do so, for example:
- A web form that gets all of the necessary information at the first point of contact
- A telephone number that's answered by a person, not a machine (RingCentral provides a brilliant service)
- Clear links on your website of who to contact for help
- A 'ticketing' system that allows them to report and track their issues
Step 4: Get All of the Necessary Information to Diagnose and Fix the Problem
When a customer contacts you, its vital that you gather all of the necessary information then and there for you to assist them, this might include:
- Their name and contact details (phone, email address etc.)
- Their account details or customer number
- The product or service they are having an issue with
- What, specifically the issue is
- What they have already tried
- When the issue began
- How the issue is impacting them
- What they need from you
Step 5: Sort Out the Issue Speedily and Efficiently
Once you have all of the information you need, you should fix the problem as quickly and effectively as you can. This means:
- Keeping your customer informed
- Gathering extra information that you might need
- Making technical or process changes to fix things
- Apologizing if necessary
- Meeting your commitments and promises
- Communicating and keeping your customer informed
Step 6: Check That the Issue Is Resolved
Once you believe that you have fixed the problem, follow up with your customer to make sure that its fixed to their satisfaction. If its not, find out exactly what it is that they need.
Step 7: Learn from the Problem
Once everything is resolved, examine the issue again to find out if there is anything you can learn from it:
- Could you have predicted this issue?
- Is it something you can prevent happening in future?
- Do you need to add information to your guides, support process or website?
- Are there any other changes you need to make to your products or services?
Some great books on Customer Service from Amazon
If you want to find out more about delivering brilliant customer service, here are some excellent books from Amazon that can help you out:
- Customer Service Skills for Success (Connect, Learn, Succeed)
- The Customer Service Solution: Managing Emotions, Trust, and Control to Win Your Customer’s Business
- Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It
Following all of these steps is a great way to build on and strengthen your relationship with your customers. As a result, they will trust you and your business more, recommend you and be advocates that can drive more people your way.
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