partners for life
Customer Service – From Good to Great
No matter what business you’re in, what stage of business you’re at, or what industry you compete in, great customer service is non-negotiable. When the market is ever-changing, and competition is only getting tougher, excellent customer service can be a critical source of sustainable competitive advantage. There are a number of factors which lead to a positive client experience, and the list of benefits it has for any business is seemingly endless. So, how can you improve your customer service and reap the benefits?
What Great Customer Service Does for Your Business
To best understand why great customer service should be a focal point for any business, consider both ends of the service spectrum that you’ve experienced as a customer. Think back to a time when you’ve received exceptional service, what the business did to make it happen, how it felt at the time, and what opinion you have of that business now. Then, do the same for a negative customer service experience. Chances are, you’ve long since abandoned that business as a customer, have told your friends and family about what happened, and would never go back. As a business owner, you’re now on the other side of that situation – so falling into the first category is critical.
One important benefit of providing amazing customer service is that it builds strong relationships. All businesses can strive to build a core group of customers for life – those that are no longer focussed on the financial side of their dealings with you, but rather come for the service and experience. Furthermore, it will generate a positive reputation for your brand, and improve the chances of receiving great referrals. And as referrals are some of the most valuable leads you can get, it pays to get as many as you can.
Asking Customers About Their Service Experience
A critical step is to determine the key factors that create a positive customer experience. While most business owners are aware of the importance of great customer service for their business, not many regularly measure their customers’ satisfaction. The scope of this measurement can range from narrow to broad. On one end of the spectrum, you could have a 1-5 rating “How Did We Do?” section of your email footer. On the other, you could develop and roll out a full Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey. There are also solutions that land somewhere in between the two, but what they all have in common is that they ask customers for feedback on the service you’ve provided. Ask for feedback from your clients, and really analyse the responses.
You should be able to determine which factors make them happy – is it your promptness in responding to their needs? Is it the ease of accessing information about your services or your products? Is it making the effort to contact them just to check in? Similarly, take on the constructive feedback. While you’ll undoubtedly come across the odd customer who will never be totally satisfied with your service, you may also find that some are very forthcoming with ways to improve things. With this information at hand, you will know which areas you need to focus and improve on.
Customer Service Improvements – Practical Implementation
Once you’ve gathered feedback from your customers, it’s time to analyse that feedback and see what you can implement. Using your best judgement, determine which pieces of feedback are actionable, and will bring the greatest value to your clients (and ultimately, your business). This could include improving the way you contact customers, or the frequency at which you do it. It may be adopting more user-friendly client-facing software. It could even be better educating customers about the value you provide with your goods or services.
What is critical (and too often missed out) is communicating with them the ways in which you have acted on their feedback. An example of how to do this effectively is to email your clients and thank them for their feedback, following with examples of what feedback was given and what you’re doing about it. This will ensure that they understand that not only have they been heard, but you’re appreciative of their feedback and are committed to continuous improvement.
Consider also investing in your website – an absolute given for all businesses. They act not only as a point of contact for prospects and clients, but also as a tool to allow your audience to know more about your brand and obtain valuable information about your business. There, you can show off your awesome reviews! Social media also allows you to get your brand out there and generate leads, as well as understand what your target market is interested in. Having a good overview of who your clients are and what is important to them is critical if you want to provide great customer service and improve engagement.
How MP+ Can Help
While we offer an extensive range of business solutions at McKinley Plowman, none are as comprehensive in measuring and improving the engagement of your staff and customers as our Operating Rhythm offering. Developed by our Business Development and Brand Plus teams, it is an end-to-end engagement solution that can be moulded to suit any business in any industry. As part of the full package, we can assist you in developing your own NPS survey that provides you with relevant, timely feedback from your customers, helping you improve the service you provide, and ultimately grow your business. If you’d like to find out more, you can contact us here or call us on 08 9301 2200.
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