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One of the things that create a huge impact on the success of your business is customer satisfaction. When your customers have low satisfaction, it means their loyalty towards your brand and you customer retention levels will also be low. It is also considered to be a sign of bad customer service. Did you know bad customer service costs businesses upto $75 billion every year? So clearly, it is a bigger problem than we think it is. However, don’t worry, we have highlighted various customer service tips showing you how to boost your customer satisfaction and loyalty.
We have divided these customer service tips into four sub-categories:
Turn detractors to promoters. Increase Customer Loyalty. Get more customer referrals.
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We will discuss every one of these points in detail below.
Having an efficient customer service staff is probably one of the most important customer service tips out there. It is important to have a staff that is empathetic, understanding, and calm. Some customers may have a lot of questions while others may have none. Your staff should be experienced in handling both of these kinds of customers well. Here are some essential skills to look for in your customer service team:
One more important point under this section is the satisfaction of your customer service team. Do they feel important, compensated, and how many opportunities for career advancements do they have? Your customer satisfaction depends upon your customer service team. If you keep your customer service team unsatisfied, they will not be as motivated and even after possessing the above-mentioned skills, their actions will not translate into customer satisfaction. So, the most important customer satisfaction tip is to keep your customer service staff happy. Here are several reasons why employee satisfaction matters.
Social media has changed the way we look at business and consumer interaction. When your customers are met with a problem with any of your product or service, they want to reach out to you for a quick response. People don’t have enough time to come to your store every time they encounter a problem that they can first hand solve. They want quick assistance and this is where social media comes in handy. It has been found that around 67% customers have used social media for assistance. Younger adults also prefer using online mediums for assistance. So, the most important customer service tip is to increase your online presence.
Customers now have the luxury to use multiple channels and devices to shop. It is easier and convenient for them and your support team to make sure all of these areas are covered. If you run a chain of stores across the world, your omnichannel strategy should cover in-person customer service staff, social media support through various platforms, email support, telephone consultation, and live chat support on your main website. Research has shown that about 55% of companies have no cross-channel customer support. This is a huge problem which leads to gap in the experiences of the customers. make it easy for yourself and your company and offer multiple channels that your customer can reach out for support.
If you wish to offer customers with live chat support, a good practice is to mention the number of hours that users can contact you and at what hours they can’t. If you take upto a date to reply to your customers’ emails, let them know as soon as they contact you. Customers are willing to tolerate a slower response time if they know it in advance. Make your support process transparent so your customers know what to expect.
2. Respond on social media: When customers reach out to you on social media either to ask for help, leave feedback or gain assistance – they are not only considering it because it is convenient and easy to do so but also because they expect a quick response from your end. Customers don’t only contact you on social media for their complaints and reviews due to the convenience of the process, they also do it because they expect a swift response from your end. It has been found that around 40% of customers expect you to respond to their query in the first hour of posting a complain and 79% of them expect the reply within 24 hours. If you don’t reply on time, customers will most probably share the negative feedback through word of mouth to their family members and colleagues.
To make matters more serious, Facebook makes it visible to the users to see what your average response time is. So, it is best for you and your brand to have an employee dedicated to tracking and responding to various social media comments as soon as possible. This will increase customer satisfaction and create a good reputation for your business.
3. Make use of non-generic auto-replies: Auto-replies are a great idea as they give your customers confirmation that their message has reached you. However, it is important to make sure that the automated reply is not bland and boring. Make them more engaging and add a personal tone to the messages. Instead of having a subject line stating “We have received your complaint. Thank you.”, you can make it more friendly by using, “Hi. Thank you for dropping us your concern. We are on it and will assist you soon.” It creates a good image of your brand and elicits positive moods in the customers. If you are using a bot on your personal website make sure it works effectively as it can cause both frustration and agitation in the customer trying to reach out.
If you are using a software, and it allows you to use the customer’s first name, by all means use it. Be sure to thank the customers either in the subject line itself or in the main email. Have one of your employees follow up with the customer in a few hours or a day. Also, if the software allows it, have the reply use your customer’s first name. it is also essential for you to mention the time duration it will take for your employee to reach out to the customer, so the customer is not kept waiting. You can use automated replies on social media too, Facebook has a feature for the same.
All humans want to feel special and valued, and customers are no different. Customers cherish personalised services and our next customer service tip is based on this very idea. You can improve your customer services by making it more personalised, special, and unique for the customer.
Customers become excited and delighted when they hear their name being called. You can use their names while talking to them in person, on the phone, through emails, or when you approach them with surveys.
2. Send Personalised Messages/Replies to your Customers: Using personal names in interactions is not the only way to make customers feel important. You can send automated emails when customers sign up for a free trial of a service or purchase your product. However, even though this automated message helps customers become familiar with the product or service, it is far from personal. When a customer purchases a product or service from you, whether it is free or paid, reach out to them personally and ask them how you can assist them. Even if they don’t take your offer to help, or have no queries, they will feel positive about the gesture and will be more willing to invest in your brand further. They will also know that they can reach out to you in case they ever need help. Research has found that personalised messages help deliver 6 times more transaction rates, have 29% higher email opening rates, and 41% higher click rates on the emails as compared to non-personalised emails.
The first step to make your emails more personalised is by using the name of the recipient when writing to them. Another way is to send the email or the message in the customer’s native language if you have information that they are based in a different country. But only do so if you have a translator of the same language in your company and when the customer is not expected to reply back to the email/message. Other strategies to consider are using a friendly, warm tone and style of writing, as well as informal language. Using a personalised email to send the message from instead of a corporate handle. For example, an email from firstname.lastname@example.org will have a better and more personal impact than email@example.com
3. Use some old-fashioned and personal ways to contact customers: Old fashioned communication like sending letters or thank you notes have huge benefits in the modern automated day and age. Most customers leave the brand or a business because they feel that the brand is apathetic towards them. Hence, personalised thank you notes along with the delivery of the product will show your clients how much they mean to you and that you view them as people and not just profits. Make sure you send thank-you notes that are customised and personally hand signed instead of just some words that were typed on Microsoft Word and printed later.
Make sure to include the customer’s name, and be sure to make your thank-you card reflect the identity and tone of your brand. When you send out thank-you notes, it generates a positive word-of-mouth advertisement of your brand. Customers who receive these notes are pleasantly surprised and post the pictures of the note and the product on social media to show their followers. You can also consider sending holiday greetings to your customers. It will help you stand out from your competitors more.
4. Reward Customers who are Loyal: Modern consumers like personalisation. It helps drive sales as well as gain customer loyalty. The best way to offer customers a personalised experience is to have a loyalty program as it will also make it easier for you to collect necessary data. The idea here is to “wow” loyal customers with an extraordinary experience that they will not forget soon. Focus on making the experience relevant to their tastes as well for maximum benefit.
Let’s say you have a business for coffee, you could reward your long-term customers who give shoutouts to your brand online with free samples of flavoured coffee every month. Or you could offer them free shipping right to their doorstep. Alternatively, you could help the customers experience something more meaningful by sending them coffee jars/mugs with the customer’s picture and a meaningful message or a thank-you note along with it.
5. Have a lenient and straightforward refund policy: Businesses that have a money-back guarantee if customers are not satisfied with the product gain more trust from the customers. The most important customer service tip is to make the purchasing experience of the customer feel that their purchase is risk-free and a straightforward policy ensures just that. It also encourages customers to try more of your products and services.
Since most businesses these days offer a refund policy of some sort, advertising isn’t always enough to stand out from the businesses that are competitors. You can make sure that your refund policy is relatively easier for your customers to understand. Do not use technical or legal jargon that can cause confusion and anxiety amongst customers. Use bulletins to highlight the requirements and eligibility to apply for refund policies and clearly outline deadlines or any relevant information that is important for customers to know. Having an FAQ section to explain your refund policy is also proven to be helpful.
6. Offer Guarantee for your Products: Another important consumer service tip is to offer guarantee for the products you are selling. This is especially advisable for risky products. Your guarantee need not be for lifetime or years and years, but it should cover a reasonable time period. Guarantee of products increases the confidence of the customers and they are more likely to invest in these products. This works especially well for electronic products. You can explain the guarantee of the product and the refund policy if there are any technical issues with the product to the customers when they are checking out, or in the product description itself. You can also add the same information in the FAQ section of the refund policy.
Another technique to maximise customer satisfaction is to have an option of money-back guarantee. If you are offering a service, such as training, and if the customer is not 100% satisfied with the service, they can ask for a refund. This will help increase the customer’s trust in you as an entrepreneur and your brand. This practice helps customers understand just how important their satisfaction is for you.
7. Offer Free Return Shipping: Most retailers feel as though they will lose out money by covering or refunding shipping costs. But research shows that free returns encourage customers to make more purchases online and influences their purchase behaviour. However, this policy can be easily abused so it is important to have a refund policy that clearly outlines the eligibility for this option.
If you are a small business trying to make your ends meet, you can offer this policy of free return shipping only for some products (recommended: best selling products) and not all of them to manage your costs better.
8. Offer Discounts or Free Trials: Discounts are a recommended way to get more customers to purchase your products. Research has shown that offering discounts increases traffic, elicits positive moods in customers, and helps establish strong customer-business relationships. According to the scarcity principle of compliance, if you have an end date to your discount period, it can lead to more sales than if you were to sell your product without a discount.
Another way to experiment with discounts is to host giveaways and select some of the customers who take part in it. This will act both – as a way to gain positive PR and increase traffic on your website.
Offering free trials is also a recommended practice especially if you are providing services to your clients. The general period of a free-trail ranges from 3 to 7 days for self-development programs. A 30-day free trial for your app will also work wonders.
This gives customers a chance to explore your service and decide for themselves if they want to go ahead with it. Even if they choose to not go ahead, it creates a positive reputation of your business and customers are more likely to recommend your brand to others. When offering free trials make sure to not ask for the customers their credit/debit card details, it will make them more reluctant to give your services a try. Allow customers to use a social media account to log into your website and access the free trial, it will make it easier for them to avail the offer. Lastly, don’t over-promote your services during the free trial. Let the customers enjoy the trial period and explore the real value of your services and then decide in the end. For eCommerce products you can provide customers with demo videos of how the products work and what to expect from it since the trial period will not work in this case. All in all, keep the experience smooth and don’t rub it in the customers’ face that they can pay for the service being provided for free, because they already know that.
Another important asset to improve your business practices is to collect customer feedback. Hence, another customer service tip that comes in handy is to value the feedback given by your customers and make the most use of it. Feedback can tell you how satisfied your customers are with your brand/services/products as a whole. They also provide you with information about the areas that you can work on and improve. It also portrays to the customers that you value their feedback and care about their opinions.
The system of gaining feedback from your customers, helps them gain their voice. It also helps you understand what your target audience likes or dislikes and helps you offer better services that are meaningful to them and not just average.
Another way to gain valuable feedback is to use Net Promoter Score ® surveys. The survey consists of a single question is generally a close ended question asking consumers how likely they are to recommend the brand/service/product to a friend or colleague. The rating ranges from 0 (Not at all likely) to 10 (Extremely likely). There are three groups of respondents:
Your job is to identify Detractors and Passives and convert them into Promoters by applying their feedback into practice. You can use their constructive criticism and improve the functioning of your brand. Promoters help you identify what you are doing well and how you should increase that.
Once you have collected the feedback, it is best to share with all the departments including the management. You will neve be able to address the needs of the customer if your management is unaware of them and is not applying the feedback to its fullest use.
It’s not enough to just have your frontline employees collect customer feedback, analyze and respond to it. That kind of info must be shared with all employee departments – including management.
The complaints from the customers about the product can only be resolved if the management does not give the development team assigned to the particular product a “go-ahead” when it comes to working on the feedback. Customers’ needs will only be addressed when the problems and complaints are acknowledged and received by the higher departments of the company.
As the team leader it is also your responsibility to set aside some time each month, or preferably a week to work on customer feedback that has been received and gain insights from it. Work as a team to gather the main weaknesses of the product and work on suggestions to improve it. The data gathered from the surveys can be organised into infographics, videos, or images and be shared with the company through emails. They can be discussed and it helps your entire company know what their customers expect from the company. It also becomes easy to coordinate the efforts of the team.
2. Acknowledge Negative and Positive Feedback: It is always an exciting feeling to get positive reviews on your products or services. However, you are not utilising it fully if you don’t reply to the reviews. The reviews and how you respond to them both influence your ranking on the search engine. Getting positive reviews is always great for any business, but you’re not making the most of them if you don’t take the time to reply to those reviews as well. How you respond to reviews along with the reviews themselves has a huge influence over your standing on the search engine ranks. Google Business also recommends replying to the reviews as it increases the visibility of your business and attracts potential clients.
It is also good practice to have top level managers reply to customers as it makes customers feel more important and cared for. However, be sure to respond to both positive and negative feedback as they are helping you grow your business for the better! Apologise to customers as well if they leave a negative feedback and thank them instead of being defensive. It helps improve brand image. If you need help in understanding the best ways to reply to reviews, this should help.
3. Prioritise Working on Common Complaints: Your management team should be able to identify the main problem areas and recurring complaints and prioritise them. After all, there is no use collecting feedback if you are not going to use it effectively. NPS® surveys come in handy for this. It helps you identify the main complaints of Detractors and Passives and work on them to fix the issues.
If the feedback you have received is vague, you can group common complaints and work on improving it. When you have identified the problems and are ready to prioritise them inform the employees of the appropriate departments, tell them specifically what they need to do and give them access to the data collected. Also, highlight the urgency of taking this feedback into consideration very clearly to them.
So, as we noted, one of the greatest customer satisfaction tip is to have a Voice of Customer program and measure their NPS® score. Both of these practices provide you immense insight into how the customers are viewing your business, how satisfied they are with it, and how much they value your products and services. It also shows you what aspects to work on with which group (Detractors, Passives, Promoters) in order to increase the satisfaction of the respective groups.
We understand that running customer satisfaction surveys seems overwhelming and difficult if you don’t have past experience of doing the same. See how Voxco can serve your needs by accessing a sample survey or book a demo.
Having personalised and unique customer experiences is key to gaining customer satisfaction and improving their trust in your brand. Studies have shown that most customers prefer to do business only with brands that induce feelings of trust and care.
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