The success of a business is largely dependent on the quality of customer service provided to its clients. Price, location, product or service will only get you so far. Therefore, it is essential, no, in fact, it’s an absolute requirement, that companies deliver the best possible service to their clients.
Customer service helps to close new sales and cultivate repeat sales. The best customers are current customers—service support reminds customers why they want to work with your organisation. These are the customers who will tell others about you. Service is an all-encompassing word for awareness, connections, communication, relationship, education, information distribution and trust. And these are just as valuable as the quality of service or product your company produces.
All too often companies, not realising the crucial importance of friendly and professional customer service, go forth with no customer service policy in place, or perhaps a customer service policy which is short-sighted and ineffective. Some companies’ customer service policies focus on merely answering their clients’ questions according to basic protocol, while others only seem to provide information on the company’s procedures and policies in a manner which is not particularly customer-centric.
Stephanie Lloyd, Sales & Marketing Manager at Way With Words Group, explains that the success of their transcription service is not merely the transcription service, but just as importantly, the excellent customer service they provide.
Way With Words Group is celebrating ten years of customer service excellence, and here is how we did it:
1) We provide our clients with easy access to our company
When clients initiate contact, they expect to speak to a person and be attended to almost immediately. Answer your phones! Respond quickly to emails! If your company attends to clients via a call centre, ensure that phone calls are transferred quickly to a consultant. Provide your clients with both email and telephone contact details as clients may then choose the manner in which they wish to correspond.
2) We create a culture of taking responsibility
At Way With Words, we live for compliments! We have found that by including client compliments to our staff appraisals and even sharing compliments at weekly staff meetings, we are motivating staff to take responsibility for the experience of each client and creating a desire to resolve clients’ queries.
3) We make sure staff keep each other informed on each client’s job
Sometimes a client contacts a company and asks to speak to the person previously spoken with, but this staff person is not available. It makes a world of difference if the staff member who attends to the call knows exactly what the client’s job entails and can continue to assist the client in a smart and professional manner.
4) We enable our staff to offer alternative solutions fast
There is nothing more frustrating than being told that a company cannot assist you because their system can only do 1, 2 or 3. Once you become aware that some of your clients require alternative paying methods, sending information, or upload methods, then create these alternatives for your clients and be ready to present them courteously to the client.
5) We teach our staff to acknowledge and empathise with our clients
If a client feels that he has received bad service, then the professional and correct response is to acknowledge the client’s feelings rather than trying to convince him that he is in error. By acknowledging the client’s feelings, you are not necessarily admitting to any kind of poor service, but rather acknowledging that the client feels that he has been mistreated and you are opening the lines of communication.
6) We enable our staff to offer some form of compensation for bad service
Once it has been established that a client has received some form of inadequate service, the first step is to rectify the mistake and then secondly, offer some form of compensation. It’s the right thing to do. And it may just result in a returning client who recommends your company rather than a disgruntled client who badmouths your company.
7) We follow through – we keep our promises
Make sure that clients get the service that they were promised. If they are told that A, B or C will be done, then be certain it gets done. Do not make a promise you can’t keep, and keep every promise you do make!
8) We treat each client as valuable and not just as a number
Acknowledge each client as an individual with their own special needs and handle them as such. DO NOT treat all your clients the same! Learn their names! Appreciate them when they come back! Remember their unique job needs and specifications! Thank them! Develop a relationship with them that shows your appreciation.
9) We follow up
It works wonders to phone a client a day or two after their job has been completed to follow up to be certain they were satisfied with the service. Ask for suggestions for ways to improve your service. Allow them to share their experience with your company, whether positive or negative, and allow their feedback to determine choices you make and changes you implement as you continue to work with other clients in the future. Always follow up!
10) We maximise web-based service
Service is the most commonly overlooked form of online marketing, and can be the most powerful. Maximise web use for top-notch customer service: websites, email, social media and more. Being a service superstar on the web can yield mega results and leave the competition scratching their heads.