Business spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of ways in which to attract new clients.
However, all too often, the same cannot be said for the time devoted to keeping existing customers.
Of course, the best way to keep your clients happy is to provide a product or service that they cannot live without. However, we live in increasingly competitive times and need other ways to stand out from the crowd.
One way to achieve this is via your customer service.
If you provide the most fabulous customer care in the market, your clients will stick with you even in the face of a competitive offering from another company.
I pride myself on my customer care. I always want to go the extra mile for my clients - and I am sure that you do too. I think that there are five main ways to achieve top of the range customer care:
Always provide the product or service that your clients need
Be realistic with your fees and time frames
Go the extra mile
Admit fault if things go wrong and take immediate steps to rectify the situation
As time is a rare commodity in business, I am always on the lookout for new tools and widgets to help me provide great customer service. The ideas below contain some tools and ideas
that I use or plan to use in my own business.
I hope that these five topics will help you rock your customer service too!
Social media has leveled the playing field in terms of customer service. Customers now have a voice and can make that voice heard quickly and easily.
Of course this can be both a blessing and a curse. While we all love to hear praise over Twitter and Facebook etc, we dread the idea of viral grumbles.
The brutal truth is that things will go wrong.
It can be extremely tempting to stick your head in the sand at these times. However, you really do need to be in the (virtual) room with your clients and you need to listen to their issues.
Use tools such as Hootsuite or Agorapulse to monitor who is talking about your company on social media. Then respond to those comments as soon as possible. Remember that potential clients will be watching to see how you react to criticism.
Finally, try to take the complaint off social media as soon as you can by asking your customer to give you their email via a direct message or asking them to call you.
Ideally, you should respond to a complaint in such a way so as to turn it from a negative into a positive interaction. This will then bolster your 'word of mouth' reputation.
Of course, social media customer service is not just for when things go wrong - you can also use it to strengthen your customer relationships when all is going smoothly.
For example, if a customer mentions you on Twitter or Facebook, thank them (individually) as soon as you can. Make sure that they realise just how much they mean to you and your business.
Buffer’s customer service team is a great example of this. Anytime I mention them or share their content on Twitter they come straight back to me to say thanks. This human interaction is one of the reasons why I am happy to stay using their social media scheduling software rather than checking out their competition.
Social media is an extremely effective way to build relationships that go far further than the traditional 'buy/sell' in business. Used well (and in a human way) social media can promote customer happiness and inspire loyalty.
A really amazing way to win the hearts and minds of your customers is via video.
Have your clients mentioned you on Facebook or Twitter or shared some of your content? Has it been a year since they started to buy your product? Create a fun video for them to celebrate a key moment or anniversary.
Buffer (again) are awesome at this. They contacted me some weeks ago to say thank you for scheduling 100 posts via their software for my film review blog 500 Days Of Film. Their email was simple but brilliant - it featured one of their employees doing a happy dance. It made me laugh and caused me to have lots of positive feels for the company.
Meanwhile, I was also so impressed when marketing speaker and coach, Jay Baer took the time to record a short video just for me to thank me for sharing one of his blog posts.
Again, this video was short and sweet and created via his phone. But it just blew me away.
I realised then what a powerful customer care tool video was and how wonderful it would be to surprise my own clients in that same manner.
You have worked hard to build your email marketing list.You have developed your marketing funnel to tempt people down the rabbit hole of your content and towards a sale.
You can also use it to deliver amazing customer care. Use your email marketing software (I love Mailchimp) to schedule emails thanking your customers for their business. Perhaps you can include a video, discount code or deal in this email.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) software aims to offer you a way of keeping track of your clients. I would recommend that you make good use of the CRM tools available so that you can
really take care of your clients.
Having lots of customer information in one easy (and searchable) place will help you to rise above your competition and keep your clients happy.
Oh and remember when I mentioned going that extra mile? Well, a good CRM platform can help you to do just this. For example, whenever I start work with a new client I invite them to share a project management space with me. At the moment I am loving Trello for this.
I then make a point of putting all relevant information into this space including:
Key files and images
A list of project milestones and when they need to be completed
A frequently asked questions link or file
- A folder with lots of useful information
I have had a lot of positive feedback from this - it just means that my clients don’t have to trail through their busy inboxes to find key information on our projects.
I believe that, if my customers have a good experience when working with me, they will be more likely to return when they need help again.
Your website is a fantastic way to ace your customer service. For example, do you need a frequently asked questions page? Can your customers find all the information that they want about your products or services - both quickly and easily?
You can also improve your customer service by finding out what your clients like and perhaps don’t like about your business. This can be done by embedding quick questionnaires or surveys onto your website. (Click here for more on online surveys)
Customer engagement can also be facilitated via blog comment boxes (such as Diqus) or by adding a forum section to your website. For example, Powr.io offers a great (free) forum tool that you can easily embed onto your website.
For more immediate customer care, why not consider adding a live chat functionality to your website?
Thanks for reading!
I do hope that you have found this post useful.
Do you have any other customer services tools or tips to recommend? I’d love to know so do leave a comment below!
Take care, Jane