Customer satisfaction is a crucial differentiator for many companies which is why it is important to personalize your customer service experience regardless of what industry you’re in—that includes businesses conducted online. Every business is a people business.
It is important to keep in mind that a brands’ service values reflect its identity, which is reason to reflect on how your customer service represents your brand. But as the number of communication channels and devices increases, so do the challenges of delivering a personalized service across channels.
An in-person customer service or on-the-phone customer care may have an edge over online. Nothing beats a warm smile, a friendly voice, or a short waiting period on the phone. Moreover the Internet has put up an extra challenge, where customers demand fast and free service. Social media, for instance, has turned all clients VIPs—serve them or get served.
Customers should never feel like a number in a long list and instead should feel engaged in a one-on-one conversation. While no two conversations are the same and some transactions won’t go well as others, you can ensure customers know and feel you are 100 percent focused on their concern during a call.
A good customer service representative should be able to respond quickly, personally, and pro-actively, however, challenging the task may be. The key is consistency. Here are more tips to personalize your company’s customer support:
1. Make communication more sincere.
People are more comfortable when they talk to a human being than an automated machine. Make sure to let clients know who they are communicating with. A customer team member’s voice is the voice of your company. Hire people who are not just tech savvy but people savvy. Find people who share the same and believe in the same values as your brand.
2. Proactively address customer concerns.
Having a proactive attitude particularly works well with customers who frequently contact you or simply has recurring problems. Instead of waiting for them to call again, analyze what you can learn from your past conversations with them to see the root of their concerns. These issues, of course, can point to a bigger problem. By seeing to it that their problems are addressed, you are ensuring that they will come back to your company as a customer.
3. Avoid over-serving.
You may have been annoyed in the past while shopping in-store by a stalker-shopping assistant who hovers around until you buy something. Online, this shopping assistant corresponds to spam—promotional tweets, unwanted newsletters, etc. Give customers a choice to opt out of your assistance. They will seek shopping recommendations or e-mail updates when they need it. When they do, be sure to proactively cater to their needs.
4. Provide convenient communication channels.
Keep the communication process with the customer smooth. Provide them with different options to reach your service but avoid passing them around like a ping pong ball. If the transaction was made through Twitter and you need to move your conversation to the phone, give them a specific phone number or chat option that will help you pick up the conversation from where you left off. Nothing annoys a customer than forcing them to call a central help line and start again from square one.
5. Communicate patiently in multiple ways.
Different things resonate with different people. It’s best to be prepared explaining the same concerns in a number of different ways: with a list, a .gif, a reference perhaps to your documentation, or even a chat via Skype or the phone. Patiently keep going until you’ve solved a customer concern. Instead of wasting time telling people where to click or which part of the site to check out, start showing them how.
6. Be realistic and don’t overpromise.
Be honest about what you can and can’t do for a customer. Overpromising only leads to under-delivering and broken promises which in the end tarnishes your reputation and results to frustrated customers. If a feature on your product is broken, acknowledge it and apologize. If you commit a mistake, own up to it and work toward making things right. Transparency feels real and sincerity is always appreciated by customers. Over time, this leads to solid trust and invaluable respect from your customers. More importantly, this also leaves you in a position to surprise and delight when you’ve got something great to share.
7. It’s never the customer’s fault—it’s yours.
If a customer finds difficulty using a product you built, it’s your fault—always. Keep this mindset when dealing with someone who finds a particular feature confusing. Apologize that it’s confusing and explain what can be done. Afterward, ask the customer’s opinion on how to improve your product. You’ll be thankful for it.
Every business that deals with customers is a people business. To be successful, you don’t only need to resolve customer issues quickly but to consistently make customers feel that you take their concerns seriously and treat them as individuals and not just a job order. Personalize your customer support with these tips and you’re on your way to obtaining their loyalty and trust.