If I asked you to create two lists (one with companies that provide great customer service and another with companies that provide awful customer service), how long would it take you to come up with names for both lists? I predict that one side, the one marked awful, would be vastly longer than the other. That's because people remember the bad more than the good and, frankly, there are way more companies out there providing bad customer service experiences than good ones.
Customer service is immensely important for all organizations, big and small. I'd go a step further by saying that every company's brand heavily depends on it. Knowing this, there are some key ways to make sure your company's customer service experience leaves clients feeling good about doing business with you.
Here are the best ways to enhance a customer service brand from the inside out:
Hire people who care
Exemplary customer service actually starts with the way you recruit. When you're hiring team members, especially front-line emp[loyees, it's your duty to make sure they're qualified. A problem is that many companies merely look for candidates who are capable of executing tasks. This is only one slice of a very large pie.
To enhance a customer service brand from the inside out, your recruiting should align with the company's mission, goals, and that for which you desire the company to be best known. Then, hire team members who buy into that mission and those goals. Candidates can't fake a genuine desire to support the mission so you'll be able to tell during the recruitment process who's there just for a job and who's there because they sincerely want to bring value to the team.
Elevate the ones who really care
Once you've got your team in place, keep an eye on the ones who are not only diligent about providing top-notch customer service experiences, but who are equally passionate about sharing their ideas on how to make the customer experience even better. Take note of those who bring fresh ideas to the table and empower them to implement those ideas. Think about it: they're talking to customers on a regular basis so they have first-hand knowledge and recognize what will make a difference. Elevate and empower them and watch the impact it has on customers and the company's brand. I guarantee you it will be noticeable.
Implement company-wide customer service training
No matter the department or title, everyone who is hired should receive extensive customer service training. Company-wide training, upon hiring, sets a standard that everyone within the organization is to thoughtfully consider customers at all times. This translates into a superior customer experience across the board; whether it's product enhancements, the marketing messages with which they engage, or the assistance they receive when they contact the customer service team for help.
Create remarkable experiences
We often talk about the need for customer service departments to go above and beyond for customers, but how often does this actually happen? One way to create remarkable experiences for customers is byproviding information for which customers might not have thought to ask. Volunteer additional information that will help connect the dots for them and make their experience with your product or service even more pleasant. Or, show appreciation by sending an unsolicited thank you package. A handwritten thank you can go a mighty long way. You'll leave a lasting impression in customers' minds and, more important, that impression will be favorable.
Invite customer feedback...and listen!
Lastly, one of the best ways to enhance your customer service brand is to simply ask customers what they'd like to see more of and what they'd like to see less of. Sounds simple, but soliciting feedback can often be overlooked.
Consider this as well: Asking for feedback and then neglecting to act on it tends to make matters worse. After finding out what customers like and don't like, their favorite things about your products or services, and their biggest pain points, use the feedback to identify recurring themes. Allow those themes to drive internal discussions and to make improvements to the business. Happy customers will always mean a thriving business.
Chris Henrich is director of customer solutions at AWeber - Email Marketing.