Nobody wants to be treated like a number; a more personal customer service experience is what will get you shout outs on social media and great online reviews. Providing great customer service, however, goes beyond just answering questions or solving problems. A great experience plants the seeds in the customers’ minds that YOUR COMPANY is the best, YOU care about your clients as people, and they should buy from YOU instead of a competitor.
Creating this warm and fuzzy atmosphere takes some planning, starting with evaluating how you handle customer service inquiries right now. Do you have a virtual assistant who answers the phone or answers emails? Do you do these things yourself? Do you hire a help desk to handle inquiries? Once the questions are answered, do you stay in touch with them?
Customers Want Immediate Answers
At the bare minimum, you should have a virtual assistant who is trained to answer questions about your products and who can book coaching appointments. She should have a pleasant phone voice but also know which email responses to send. She should receive email notifications so the answers are quick but this can also affect time spent on other projects. Create a contingency plan for days when she’s out sick or for when customers have questions outside your business hours.
Consider implementing a quicker way to respond, such as with social media or with a Facebook Messenger bot. Chatbots offer an instant response with pre-programmed answers to questions. If your virtual assistant or social media manager is attentive to your social channels, they can answer questions almost as quickly as a bot while others see how responsive your team is to its customers.
Customers also want choice; not everyone will feel comfortable using chatbot technology, some people don’t use social media, and some just like the idea of talking to a live person. When organizing your customer service plan, be sure to include your phone number and email.
You can even create a self-service portal on your website with FAQs, video tutorials, or written step-by-step directions. This type of portal is especially helpful for after-hours questions; now your customers can find the answers themselves which is still quicker than having to wait until your office opens again.
Customer Service Doesn’t Stop After the Purchase
Don’t be a one-hit wonder and disappear after your customer makes a purchase. At the very least, send regular emails to stay in touch. For loyal, long-time clients, send them birthday wishes or make note of other milestones. If they’re going on a bucket list vacation, follow up with them when they return. Paying attention to these details brings a personal touch to the business relationship and shows that you really listen. If your clients are local, treat each one to lunch or other goodies during the holiday season. Relationship building is what will build your business. Yes, sales are great but your relationship is what will keep people flocking to you.
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