When you think of a customer service job, what comes to mind?
You’re probably envisioning a waitress or the person who helps you troubleshoot computer issues at work. And while customer service might have previously been sequestered to a few industries, the rise of social media and the influx of SaaS companies in the last decade has changed the game completely.
Why is customer service important for your business?
Customers expect more from every single business they interact with.
If your company hasn’t adopted a customer service mindset, then you’re already behind your competitors. Studies show time and time again that customers expect excellent customer service experience when doing business with you.
70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer thinks they’re being treated. From a business standpoint, it costs your company 6-7 times more money to attract a new customer than to retain existing ones. And that’s just scratching the surface. We’ve all seen the reports that customers are more likely to share bad online reviews than they are good ones.
Customer service isn’t about company culture, it’s a business case for success. Increased revenue, increased customer retention, and improved employee satisfaction are all tied to how customers feel about your business. You’re more likely to fall behind your customers if you refuse to adopt a customer service mindset.
Creating a culture of customer service
We’ve outlined why customer service is make or break for your business – now where do you start creating a culture of customer care? This isn’t a process you can formalize once and forget. It needs to become an active and daily part of your work.
1. Understand that customer service is everyone’s job
Customer service can’t be relegated to entry-level positions or support staff. The only way to show the importance of customer service is to make it a priority for everyone in your company. Leading by example will show your employees and your customers that you take this seriously.
That means C-Suite executives should be going to the same customer service training sessions as interns. It means never thinking you’re above listening to customers when they complain.. And most importantly it means you admit when you’ve messed up and promise to fix mistakes.
Always ask yourself what the workflow looks like when a customer expresses anger or frustration.
- Who hears about it first?
- What’s being done to correct the problem?
- Is there a process in place for letting the customer know about your progress?
All of these things can help build a better climate for customer service. It’s not enough to simply receive criticism. You’ll need to train your team in the correct way to respond to both positive and negative feedback.
2. Listen when your customers speak
It’s easy to talk the talk, but your customers and employees will be quick to notice if you don’t deliver on your promises.
Engaging your customers in open and honest feedback and then using that feedback to improve things is key. This can be done in a couple of ways: reading online reviews, social media listening, or sending out an NPS survey can give you a pulse on what customers really think of you.
What is an NPS survey?
An NPS survey is a customer satisfaction benchmark that can be obtained through a one-question survey. The question is always: how likely would you be to recommend our product or service to a friend or colleague?
Once you have your scoring, your responses are separated into three categories:
- Grades 0-6 are called detractors
- Grades 7-8 are called passives
- Grades 9-10 are called promoters
Your NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
- An NPS anywhere around -100 should raise red flags.
- An NPS just below 0 is considered average.
- An NPS at-or-above 50 is extremely good.
- An NPS at-or-above 70 is considered world class.
NPS is just one of the ways for measuring customer satisfaction, but it’s quickly becoming a very popular method for businesses to use. Whatever method you choose, the key is delivering on your promises. It can be tempting to overpromise and hope you can follow through, but customers will turn sour if you’re unable to give them what you promised.
3. Invest in the right software
Here’s a dirty little secret. Despite all the evidence that investing in a culture of customer service is good for business, some companies still don’t because the process seems too daunting.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or uproot workflow processes to integrate customer service into your company culture. There are dozens of software solutions on the market designed to work with what you already have and optimize it. It’s important that your customers know where to reach customer service.
Customer relationship management (CRM) programs can help your sales team track new and existing clients throughout the sales pipeline and help guide them through the process. Help desk software allows your team to track customer support tickets, assign workflows, and aggregate emails to a single customer portal.
The two can often be integrated together and work toward the single goal of increasing revenue, streamlining workflows, and empowering your team to become better at customer service. These software solutions are designed to enhance the work you already do as consumer advocates.
Your customers are the key
Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what your customers want. Every customer expects a different level of customer care and it’s in your best interest to give it to them. Tailor your approach to each customer. Show them that you’re listening to what they need. It’ll pay off huge in the long run.