• Theo

How To Provide Good Customer Service

One of the most important aspects of any business’s success is its level of customer service. Making a customer feel valued encourages them to keep coming back as well as recommending your business to others. Below are my five top tips for providing good customer service.

Tip #1 - Care

This may seem obvious but this is the most important thing to keep in mind. Care about your customers. We all want to feel heard and valued, and when we are spending our hard-earned cash, we want to feel good about doing so.

Think about some of your favourite shops. Why do you go there? Why do you like it? There is probably a multitude of reasons but somewhere on the list, is likely to be good customer service. That includes quick delivery, helpful support, kindness…

Whenever dealing with customers, whether it is face to face or over email, care about their experience. Listen carefully to what they need and do your best to adhere to those needs. Take a moment to wish them well, offer further assistance, etc.

Tip #2 - Have dedicated times/contacts

These days, everything is about efficiency. We want to get things done as quickly as possible and even when shopping, we want to get the goods as fast as we can. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to browse, but when assistance is required, we want answers then and there. Being as that is a part of customer service, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated email or person who can assist those with any questions.

The bigger the company, the easier this is. You’ll notice there are often different email addresses for enquiries, assistance, returns, sales, accounts, etc. Starting out, you’ll probably be fine with just one but having that separate mailbox will make it easier to keep customers happy and deal with urgent matters first. Similarly, if you have a couple of people in your company, it can help to have customer service/helpline as a dedicated role for a member of staff so that any conversations are followed through.

Tip #3 - Compromise

One of the things I’ve learned in recent years is the importance of compromise. One of the frustrating parts of building your own brand is finding the right balance between what you perceive as correct and what the customer perceives as so. There are people who will try to get something for nothing or create false complaints which makes it hard to provide good customer service.

Learning to compromise takes time, but it allows you to keep a good reputation for your business and not incur large losses while doing so. That may mean offering a discount or providing some kind of additional ‘gift’, essentially a goodwill gesture. It can hurt when you feel that people are trying to take advantage of your business, but that is part of the game. By not compromising, you may be totally in the right, but you risk building a reputation for bad customer service.

Tip #4 - Added Value

When we go to buy something from somewhere, we know what we are after and the price which we are willing to pay for it. What we don’t expect is getting more than we paid for, but that is what good customer service can act as. Take for example a music shop that offers an extended warranty or a free music lesson. Those aren’t likely to cost the company a lot but they will make a big difference to the customer. Time is valuable so offering your time to someone, it will make them feel valued.

Customer service doesn’t have to be just time, you can also offer complementary products such as samples of other products. It’s a popular marketing tool used by many but it does tie into customer service. It almost feels like an act of kindness if a representative of the company offers you something extra that you did not expect.

Tip #5 - Be Personable

This could be considered the most important of all. Make sure when you’re talking to customers, you’re personable. We can get so caught up with being professional (which is still important) but the best customer service is often when it’s person to person. Humanity is something that connects us all.

One of my most recent experiences of good customer service was in a music shop (Professional Music Technology aka PMT). I was looking at guitars and needed assistance with finding the right one. I started by finding them online and communicating via email to the specific store (dedicated email address). They had quick response times and were as helpful as they could be. Going into the shop I went in to look at a specific guitar but ended up not liking it. A member of staff came over to help, without me asking (care) and offered different options (compromise). The person helping me gave me lots of information as well as his time in making a good decision. Not only that, but he was clear in expressing his personal preferences (personable). The added value was the unexpected discount at the end, as they price match their products.

So you see, these are all relatively easy things to implement in your own business and it makes the world of difference for your customer’s experience.

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