Business success relies upon delivering excellent customer service. Among consumers, 55 per cent are willing to spend more money on using a company that can give them decent customer service.

Treating customers well can thus dictate the future of your business; never underestimate the power of good customer service. Indeed by 2020, it is predicted that customers’ experiences will matter more than products or prices.

Unfortunately, many firms are failing to get it right, with over $75 billion lost each year in the USA alone because of poor customer service.

However well you may think you have prepared, blind spots can easily develop to form barriers between you and your clients. The good news is that these blind spots are easily fixable. Identify your own blind spots and work towards solving them before you lose the trust of your customers.

Below we explain how to address five of the most common problems.

Go beyond first impressions

Focusing on winning new customers is clearly an important business goal. Starting a relationship with a customer means making a good impression and hoping that they will fit with the brand. If you have made an impact, the customer may spend money.

First impressions are significant. However, it’s also vital to give your customers the best possible impression once they’ve been converted to your goods and / or services.

Chart the entire buyer journey, starting with the first contact with your firm, on to the point at which the customer buys something and beyond. Then, note all the opportunities for both proactive and reactive customer service (both on- and offline) throughout that journey. Should your customer support be heavily weighted towards the start of the buyer journey, you may wish to think about what can be done to balance it towards the end.

  • Send automated emails thanking customers for buying from you, and email details of promotions and recommendations
  • Consider creating easy ways for customers to reach you (such as social media, chatbots, telephone, email)
  • Provide content to assist people when using their purchase or product (such as written manuals, video tutorials and blog posts)

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Sweeping gestures are part of good customer service, but it’s the little things that matter. In an attempt to improve the customer experience, many firms offer promotions and incentives but miss out on the more subtle opportunities.

To improve the fine points of your customer service, think about:

  • Is your tone of voice helpful, friendly and empathetic?
  • Are you supplying a seamless experience across all your platforms (website, social media, emails)?
  • Are the routes to find support clearly highlighted?

Making the customer journey easier

Making sure that your customers achieve their goals as quickly as possible is central to good customer service. This boosts your revenue and makes for satisfied customers.

Making the customer journey too complicated is a cardinal sin. Customers who can’t see what they are looking for will probably get frustrated and visit your rivals. To stop this from happening, consider the customers you want to target and set some online goals. Examine your on- and off-line platforms and ask some questions:

  • Is it easy for customers to achieve their goal?
  • Are clear call to actions (CTAs) in position to click on throughout the customer’s journey?
  • What roadblocks are stopping customers from succeeding?
  • Is there adequate information about the brand or product to help with the decision-making process?
  • Is finding the right support on your site easy?

Put the customer first

Firms can easily slip into a mindset that puts the company first. If your service or product is your number one priority, and your business is short on resources and time and not yet profitable, it can be hard to leave that bubble and make your customers number one. But if you don’t do this, you will see low sales and poor customer satisfaction.

To make sure that your customers are at the forefront of your business, spend some time developing customer personas and ‘workshopping’. Experimenting with personas assists the identification of the obstacles for and goals of your customer base. From there, the next step is to determine how your organisation can fulfil those customer needs.

Create the right number of channels

You don’t want your customers to have to use your help desk in the event of problems, but it is essential that it is there and you are available. Too many or too few support options can, however, adversely affect the customer service you offer.

Too many options for customer contact need supervision and can be onerous to keep track of, while queries slip through the gaps. Too few and you could alienate parts of your customer base.

For a good balance, employ a mix of modern and traditional means of communication, focusing upon five or so options such as:

  • a phone number and email address
  • social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram)
  • chat bot or live chat on your website
  • WhatsApp or SMS.

Follow these tips, and excellent customer service will become second nature.