Wikipedia describes Customer Service as “a term frequently used in marketing, that measures how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation” What do you think makes a satisfied customer? And, when was the last time you were satisfied as a customer?
Think about what your favourite product or service is. It could be a make-up brand, your dry-cleaning service, that great local restaurant on the heath etc. Think about WHY you love it so much. Does that lippy stay on for hours? Does the dry-cleaners know you by name and have everything ready at the drop of a hat? Does the restauranteur save the best table for you and remember your tipple? Possibly even greet you with a glass of cold, crisp Prosecco?
Now think about the things that drive you crazy. For example; being held in a queue on the telephone only to speak to ANOTHER person about exactly the same thing you’ve been talking about with someone else, for the last 20 minutes. Calling and reserving a product only to find that when you get there, they have sold out. Buying a flat pack and finding an integral piece of the pie missing. Not being able to find that all important ingredient for the dinner party of the century, at your local deli, blah, blah.
Ok, so you know where I’m heading with this right? Creating customer satisfaction is vital to any business. Why on earth are people going to sing your praises if you haven’t offered them a service or product that makes them happy?
Here are my top tips for gaining customer satisfaction online:
1. Always respond to messages, tweets, emails quickly.
How cool is it when you don’t have to wait? In the last week I had 2 examples of this. The first was an order from @ASOS. The order that arrived wasn’t mine, I tweeted them to inform them and within 3 minutes I had a tweet back saying that customer service would call me to sort out the mess. They did, within 20 minutes and before long, I had someone at my door collecting the incorrect order and replacing it with the right one! Now THAT is customer service!
Alternatively, the other day there was a power cut in our road. At first I thought one of our appliances had caused it. Quickly we realised that it was also our neighbours homes too. I turn to Twitter again (my real time news source!) and tweet to EDF around 9.00pm asking them if there was a problem in the area. I received a reply to my tweet the next morning at 08.56am! Now, in that tweet they told me that ‘they don’t handle power cut issues but @UKPowerNetworks will be more than happy to assist’ Errr…too late! Consequently our power was off all night and not even a phone call to EDF themselves helped us find out what was going on. #customerservicefail.
2. Be friendly, approachable and use humour oh and NEVER forget attention to detail!
Politeness and a friendly approach is a given right? Well you would be surprised. I know as well as the next person, that when you have had a week from hell and you just want to curl up in bed and sleep; it’s really difficult to keep up the ‘how can I help you’ with a smile act. But DO IT! And if you can’t, don’t reply until tomorrow! It’s crucial to be a consistently happy and positive entity online so have that at the forefront of your mind.
You have to try and anticipate what your customer requires and go over and above the call of duty when it comes to helping them out. In this day and age, people don’t do anything for anyone so when you do, you will stand out a mile.
3. Try and encourage a face to face meeting.
If at all possible, this goes a long way. Social Media is a great starting point but the success lies in a real life meeting. Once you have met someone, you never forget them (Ahem). And you have the chance to be unforgettable when someone is in front of you, so do everything you can to make that happen.
4. Make sure your customer service policy is clear
This one speaks for itself, but whether you are working alone or have a team, make sure the guidelines are set down for all to see and abide by.
Remember, customer service is an art form and it doesn’t come naturally to ANYONE. No! ANYONE!… even the people you think are ‘nice all the time’ – have to work at it! – Believe me, they have just had more practice than you!
Just keep at the forefront of your mind, “How would you feel if you were the customer?”