There’s no question that customer service is vital to your business. Can bad services cause a business to fail? Absolutely.

A lot of you are entrepreneurs and small business owners, most of you likely don’t have a customer support team or agents. Even so, customer service still plays an important role.

This customer service guide will cover both sides of the fence, so I’ll be discussing customer service in the enterprise setting and small business setting. First, we’ll take a closer look at the definition of customer service.

The assistance and advice provided by a company (or individual) to those people who buy or use its products or services.

The old definition refers to assistance and advice from a company. My new definition includes individuals, the entrepreneurs of the world. I feel it should be there, right?

It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or you manage the sales team, all of us that interact with customers have the responsibility to provide customer service. It doesn’t matter if a customer service department is in place, all of us have to take care of our customers. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself out of business or in a new position.

No business can survive without customers and no business can last without good customer service. Is that fair to say? Customer service can be the foundation of a growing business or it can be the reason you have customers exiting out the back door. Customer service relates to us all, it relates to many roles, many positions.

The real question I want to answer for you today, how can we use customer service to grow our business? What customer service strategies and techniques work the best?

In this customer service guide, we’ll be discussing;

  • Your Role In Customer Service
  • The Impact Of Customer Service
  • Evolving Customer Service
  • How Important Is Customer Experience
  • How We Can Provide Better Customer Service
  • The Way You Treat Customers

Your Role In Customer Service

It doesn’t matter what role you take on or what position you hold, great customer service should always be a focus. This relates to face-to-face conversations, phone calls, emails and chat support, any type of back-and-forth communication with a customer should be labeled as such.

Should a CEO or President play a role in customer service? Of course they do, your customers are always a focus.  The point I’m addressing is the fact that we’re capable of making every interaction with customers a great experience.

The Impact Of Customer Service

Bad customer service is bad for business. Is bad customer service going to hurt your bottom line numbers? Of course it would. Nearly 70 percent of customers leave because of a bad experience or bad treatment.

You’re not going to make every customer happy, it’s impossible. That’s business, but there’s no doubt that happy customers stay longer. That equals customer retention growth and more paying customers. We all want a longer customer life-cycle and great customer service will surely help with that.

Evolving Customer Service

The growth of social media has evolved the customer service industry forever. It has been aided by blogs, review platforms and complaint forums. The way we treat customers is always under a microscope as customers have instant access to all their favorite social channels and content driven blogs.

In the past, it may have took days or even weeks to receive a customer complaint. Today, customers have immediate access to reach a large audience. One bad review can hurt your business, brand and reputation. You have to always be mindful and respectful of that

How Important Is Customer Experience

Do you think customer experience is enough for a customer to choose your business over another? The answer would be yes.

Sure, the product, service, price, all of these plays a role. However, studies are showing that customer experience is a major deciding factor. More and more companies are marketing based on customer experience and this is expected to grow in 2017.

Customer experience plays an ever-growing role and it’s up to you and your support team to keep customers happy. Customers that are happy with their experience are more likely to pay higher prices too. Keep this in mind when you’re interacting with customers. We want every interaction with the brand to be good. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer selling freelance services or an enterprise serving thousands of customers, their experiences with you matter a lot.

How Can We Provide Better Customer Service

This is often the big question with companies, how do we provide better customer service and support with our customers?

Knowledge

You can’t give great customer support if you don’t know the products and services you offer, right? It’s impossible. You or your support team need to know products and services like the back of their hands. By doing so, they will have the abilities to provide great customer support.

We’re not asking them to be experts in designing new concepts or anything to that nature. We want them to know the product well enough to quickly help customers with any questions they may have about using the particular product or service.

Positive Language

There’s a right way to handle customer needs and there’s a wrong way when it pertains to using language. Of course we want to be on the positive side of the equation.

You never want to be rude to a customer or give them an unsatisfactory answer to their questions. Always give them positive encouragement. A good example would be a product that is sold out.

“Mr. Jones, the product that you order is out of stock but we get our truck in on Friday. I can take care of your order now and I’ll make sure it gets out to as soon as possible.” This is positive reinforcement.

“Mr. Jones, the product that you ordered is out of stock. Call back Friday evening when we have it.” This would be viewed as negative.

Patience

When it comes to interacting with customers, patience plays a big part. We’ve all dealt with that one customer, you know the one that’s rude, loud,  won’t take no for an answer type of personality. It’s very easy to lose your cool, but we must be mindful of the scenario.

We’re all human, all of you understand what it’s like to be “in the moment angry.” We must always be patient with customers, even when we know we’re right.

Listen

Be a great listener and be attentive to your customer’s needs. In some cases, customers only want to know that their opinion has been heard. Grant them that opportunity.

We love getting feedback from customers, this can be life-changing for your business if you listen. Customers interact with your products and services all the time. Many will give you feedback and that can go a long way into improving products, services, features and pricing.

The Way You Treat Customers

This is going to be old fashion, but what we’re saying remains to hold true today.

Treat your customers the same way you’d want to be treated. Always treat your customers with the same respect and transparency you’d want done back to yourself. Be fair, be polite and be consistent.