If you were to ask someone what the most important building block of a business is, what do you picture them saying? Would it be marketing? Technology? The product itself? All of these answers are close, but too often we miss the most important aspect of our business — the customers. Without customers, businesses serve little purpose. Yet customer service is often overlooked, especially for new entrepreneurs.
Too often, business owners think that customer service only applies to retail and food service, but the truth is that it is even more important in industries like insurance where keeping a good relationship with your client is key. Nothing will give you an edge over your competition quite like a positive customer experience. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can build into your business that will greatly improve your customer service and keep your clients satisfied.
The Key to a Positive Customer Experience
Customers can seem like mysteries at times, but good customer support is much easier than you think. Simply put, customers are people, and people want someone who will listen, someone they can trust, and someone who is reliable. They want simple respect and meaningful interactions. Good customer service can be as simple as a smile, a bright tone of voice, or a friendly greeting.
Aside from the benefit of treating people right, customer service helps in many other ways — those who have a positive experience with your business will in turn give you free word-of-mouth advertising. This is the most trusted form of outreach, as people are much more likely to take recommendations from a trusted friend than an advertisement. Then, along with a return customer, you will have established a new customer as well.
Good customer service can also mean giving customers the opportunity to let themselves be heard. Give them a chance to give you feedback, both so you can know how to improve and so they know you are listening to them. Ask for feedback whenever you can using three essential questions: “How can I help you?” “How was your experience?” and “How can I do better?”
“Simply put, customers are people, and people want someone who will listen, someone they can trust, and someone who is reliable.”
Simple Steps to Improving Customer Service
When it comes to what they expect out of a business, everybody is different. This can be tricky when developing a customer support policy. Some people like being greeted at the door and heavy engagement; others prefer to be bothered as little as possible. However, there are a few things you can do that will apply to nearly everyone.
1. Be personal — Calling a customer by their name is a simple way to let them know you are there for them. Use their name as often as possible, both in person and in writing.
2. Be honest with your mistakes — If something goes wrong, own up to it right away and be proactive with fixing it.
3. Be easy to reach — Offer the choice to contact you and your team both online and by phone, depending on the customer’s preferred method.
4. Remember birthdays — A simple birthday wish is an easy way to remind customers you care.
5. Prioritize customer problems — Solve the most urgent customer problems first to avoid complications or the flaring of tempers.
“Remember birthdays — A simple birthday wish is an easy way to remind customers you care.”
Put Your Policy in Writing
The final step to any customer support policy is to put it in writing for the benefit of your team. Even the simplest list of rules — like saying “please” and how to handle certain mistakes — will make your business run more smoothly. Communication with your team is essential to keeping their stress levels low and their confidence high. Reward the team members who do exceptionally well so they will stay passionate about serving their customers.
Remember that customers can make or break a business. What sets you apart from your competition is, ultimately, what your customers think of you. Conduct your business with them in mind and you will have little trouble becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Read our previous posts on thriving in uncertain times and staying motivated.
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