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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Improve Your Customer Service to Maintain a Healthy Bottom Line

As a business owner, you know that exceptional customer service breeds success. A productive consumer relationship translates to a mutual trust, which cultivates brand loyalty and, in turn, a healthy profit margin.

The healthy earnings outlook associated with good customer service is the reason many businesses are investing in methods to improve their customer relations tactics. However, according to McKinsey & Company , a mere 10 percent who are making the effort are seeing satisfactory results.

To avoid squandering your investment dollars, remember that good customer service isn't dependent on the lowest price tags or the length of your customer relations handbook. Rather, it's the little things that can yield the most valued responses.

The personal touch matters.

No matter the industry in which you conduct business, some of your clients may get entangled in an emotionally charged situation, either negative or positive, involving your product or service. By taking advantage of the emotional nature of the transaction and handling the situation correctly, you have the opportunity to create bond. A positive emotional experience for the customer, as opposed to a routine incident, will more often lead to a higher quantity and quality of sales. This is the same concept behind pairing automated customer service solutions with human interaction.

While technologically advanced solutions mitigate human error, these methods lack the personal touch necessary to foster brand loyalty. If you have the resources to do so, unite them both to achieve maximum results.

Give your customers a voice.

By granting your customers the opportunity to submit feedback based on their experiences, your business will benefit in a variety of ways:


  • Your customers who feel valued, meaning they are more apt to be brand loyal

  • The feedback you receive will provide insight into products and services that are doing well even as it pinpoints areas in need of improvement

  • Comments may spark ideas for the development of new products or services

While comment cards and call-in responses are still effective, be sure your harnessing the feedback opportunities online. Look into rating and review applications you can put directly on your Website and request praise or criticism online through social media platforms. Regardless of the methods you use, reassure your customers that you're taking their comments and suggestions sincerely.

Prepare your staff.

Unless you work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, members of your staff will likely need to handle a customer's praise or complaints solo. Because good customer service skills aren't generally an inherent trait, your staff must be adequately educated on the proper procedures when interacting with a customer. If you're not sure you're up for the task of training, there are multiple programs available to help out.

Know how humans work.

Go beyond simply understanding what your customers want and need. If you're brave, you'll dig deeper to comprehend the more subtle reasons behind your customers' satisfaction or displeasure. An article in McKinsey Quarterly addresses how business owners can use the study of behavioral science to their advantage when applied to customer service. Based on these findings, by altering the manner in which you provide customer service, you can achieve higher incidences of positive reactions. When communicating with customers:

  • Lump less comfortable obligations together early-on while scattering the most pleasant topics throughout the experience.

  • Save the best for last. Customers respond more positively when an experience ends on a high note as opposed to one that starts strong and fizzles at the finish.

  • Give multiple options. Customers who get to choose are more likely to perceive positive results.

  • Promote habits and don't break them. People in general, some more than others, live and die by rituals because they're comforting. Try not to impede on established habits.

Tailor your program to your customers.

Despite the research, you know your own customers best. While exploring gainful customer service tactics, don't overlook the facts you already know about your audience. Understanding your audience and your business allows you to tailor your customer service policies to them. Take care of your business by taking care of your customers.

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posted by Tiger Leasing @ 2:52 PM

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