“We offer great customer support and the experiences of our customers define who we are.”
Well, great support should be a given. And a good customer experience should be important to every business, but have you really thought about your customer support philosophy?
Do unto others
What do you want as a customer? Not thinking in terms of your specific business, but your general preference with the vendors and companies you use. How do they treat you? What’s the customer service experience like from your perspective? This is probably the simplest principle, yet one that can be easy to forget when most of your thoughts are centered around being a provider rather than a customer.
The customer is always the customer
Wait? Don’t you mean “the customer is always right”. Not necessarily. The customer may be way off with their expectations or make unreasonable assumptions about what you are able to provide. So, no the customer is definitely not always right. However, the customer is always the customer. No matter what their request is, you can still find a way to deal with them respectfully. In fact, it’s a must if you hope to keep them as customers.
Discover where you can over-deliver
If someone requests your free standard shipping with their large order, can you upgrade them to overnight or 2-day shipping? They didn’t request it, but the dollar amount of their order could easily make up for expedited shipping costs. What about after they receive their product or service? Do you have the resources to follow up and ensure they’re satisfied? Brainstorm ideas with your team to find those areas where the ROI of over-delivering makes sense.
Prioritize customer retention
What does it cost to acquire a new customer? How much engagement is needed with prospects before they eventually do business with you? Now consider how much it costs to keep an existing customer. See the difference? When you put this into real dollars, you’ll realize your customer support team is equally important to your sales team. Make sure you have the resources as well as the infrastructure to keep existing customers by prioritizing their needs.
Can you afford to spend a little time?
Have you ever been on a call where it was clear someone was reading off a script and seemed to have a goal of getting off the phone in two minutes or less? How about one where they spend a few minutes talking to you as an individual? That experience is probably less common. So yes, you can afford to spend a little time. Being sincerely interested in customers and ensuring their needs are met will benefit you in the long run and distinguish you from your competitors.
Are you likable?
Are you so focused on the mechanics and processes of customer support that you never stop and think whether or not the customer even likes you? No, you don’t have to be BFFs with everyone that purchases from you. But if you operate as a cold-hearted machine, with no personality, you simply are not likable and you may lose clients to people who are.
As you identify your philosophy for customer support, you need to make sure your employees are on board with it and trained properly to deliver your level of service. Your business philosophy isn’t of any use without that practical application.