- Let your customer service speak for itself: While businesses have been telling people for years that customer service sets them apart from competition, the Internet has empowered customers to make that distinction for themselves. People trust recommendations and warnings from friends more than they believe the company’s advertising, so what really matters is not saying you have great customer service, but actually delivering it. Plus, it’s cheaper to grow the customers you have than to acquire new ones, which means customer service is a cost-saving measure in the long run. Customer service makes a business more efficient.
- Find the conversation: Whether you know it or not, your customers are talking about your business — the good and the bad. So the first step in establishing customer service is finding the conversation. Search Facebook and other relevant websites to find out what your customers are saying. A lot of businesses use Facebook pages for marketing, but the problem arises when those businesses ignore the customer-service requests that come in there. To succeed with a Facebook page, businesses have to be open to a two-way conversation, which means responding to customers.
- Write a customer-service manifesto: If you don’t set customer expectations, your customers will set their own. Writing and publishing the promises your business makes to customers sets realistic customer expectations, empowers the business to provide service within reason and gives customer-service reps a guide for each conversation.
- Establish your channels: Streamline customer service by choosing a channel or two to handle customer-service requests. Consider where your customers reach out most often and align with their communication preferences. Then advertise your customer-service channels so no matter where your customers look, they find the ways to reach your company.
- Respond with empathy: Customers want to be educated and assisted, not sold to. Say things like, “I’m sorry,” and “Thank you for being our customer,” and then offer possible solutions. Never ignore a message from a customer.
- Staff your customer-service engine: Consistency and transparency make customer service great. Commit a certain amount of time to customer service each day and then follow through on it. If you have customer-service representatives, empower them to fix problems without the help of a manager so they can help more people faster.
Readers: What did you think of Moltz’s tips?