With most businesses operating both online and offline, achieving excellent customer service is now more important than ever. James Dunworth from ECigaretteDirect.co.uk, who has 13 high street stores and a strong online presence, looks at how to achieve the perfect customer service
Creating a customer service manual, responding quickly to feedback and even delivering service with a smile are just some of the top tips for achieving perfect customer service.
Dunworth said: “Having great customer service is one of the most powerful marketing tools at a business’ disposal – if a customer has received outstanding service then, through word of mouth, people will hear about it.
“In general, whether its online or offline, the way to handle customer service is exactly the same; with politeness, efficiency and good communication.
“The consistency between the two platforms will come naturally if a good customer service mentality is embedded into a business’ staff.”
Here are Dunworth’s top tips for achieving perfect customer service both online and offline.
- Decide on what you hate, then go in the opposite direction
A good starting point for businesses is to decide on what they think is negative or annoying in customer service, and then avoid it.
For example, at ECigaretteDirect.co.uk, we hated the idea of automated messages or newsletters customers can’t reply to. So we got rid of them completely.
Once you eliminate what you definitely don’t want, you can establish what you think is great about customer service – treat it like a do’s and don’ts exercise.
- Create a customer service manual
Constructing a customer service manual has proven to be really helpful for businesses in terms of deciding how staff can execute and maintain their customer service.
By having a customer service manual to refer to, consistency can be kept across all platforms of a business both online and offline.
- Motivate your staff
In store, it is important to have motivated staff and give them feedback on the quality of their customer service.
A staff newsletter highlighting certain stores, which have been praised for their customer service, is a small thing a business can do to increase staff motivation – everyone likes a pat on the back when they’ve done well.
- Encourage feedback
Encouraging customers to give feedback can also be hugely beneficial in monitoring customer service.
Include incentives for all involved; customers can be entered into a competition if they fill out a survey and staff can win vouchers if they receive a special mention in the feedback.
By keeping employees happy and motivated, they will not only deliver excellent customer service, but also want to do better every time.
It sounds obvious but many people will avoid going back to a store just because the assistant that dealt with them was grumpy.
Service with a smile is something you can’t get from online customer service – so make sure to include it in your offline operations.
- Let customers use customer service the way they want
Online customer service is more centralised than in store but there are still certain steps that need to be in place to ensure perfect customer service across all platforms.
The best customer service is one that can be utilised by consumers in the precise way that they want.
Allow customers to email or contact your business via social media sites – some may prefer this to calling a customer services helpline.
- Be alert on social media
A company’s presence on social media is hugely important, not just for followers and the amount of likes, but also for monitoring customer feedback.
Social networking sites should not be taken lightly. When it comes to customer feedback, respond quickly and efficiently to a Facebook comment or tweet regarding customer service. It shows a personalisation that exceeds customers’ expectations.
- Provide comprehensive FAQs
In regards to a company’s website, simple things like having a comprehensive and up-to-date FAQ’s section can minimise the amount of feedback to deal with and leave more time to focus on other customer emails.
- Ensure speedy and personalised responses
Customers like to be reassured that their issue is being dealt with and not just by a machine.
Respond quickly to emails or if you don’t have time at least acknowledge a receipt of the email.
Personalised responses demonstrate how going the extra mile in customer service can improve feedback and overall satisfaction.
- Provide online tutorials
If a business creates a product, providing online video tutorials of how to use it demonstrates excellent customer service.
It can answer a lot of questions as well as showing genuine concern for their welfare.
It also gives the product a living and breathing representation, which may encourage customers to buy it.