Most businesses would agree that getting a customer to notice you and giving them satisfactory customer service is not the hardest part of doing business. It can be done. On the other hand, getting a customer to keep returning, to become a follower of your brand, to feel engaged and stay that way requires great skill in the art and science of customer service.
A good way to gauge if your customer service is working for you is to think how you would feel if you were your brand’s customer. But don’t stop there. Ask your friends, teammates and ask your customers. And bear in mind the following:
Know Your Customer
Yes, this is business 101, but it is still one of the big ones. Having a customer-focused brand means tailoring the brand not to your needs but to those of your customers. You want to be absolutely clear who your customers are, know how they think, what they need, want and desire and what puts them off. Try to imagine one ideal representative, have him or her in mind and cater to this individual – that is how you make sure your approach is customer-centered.
Know Your Team
Everyone in your organization should see themselves as involved in customer service. But are any of you clear on what amazing customer service really is? The best way to find out is to ask, to have workshops, to listen to your team’s ideas, needs and even complaints. Your client-facing staff should feel heard and inspired in order to treat customers with a can-do attitude and a happy mindset. Get them to keep asking: „What would I expect if I was a customer coming in today? And how can that be achieved? “
Embrace Social Media
You will want to meet your customers where they are. And, more often than not, that will be on social media. You will need to make sure the web design of your site is responsive to the needs of your customers. It has to be mobile-friendly, and allow for interaction via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Take advantage of the innovations in terms of messaging apps, tagging and live streaming to name a few. It is worth looking at examples like Nike, who provide staffed 24/7 online support and respond to every tweet or every post on their social media channels.
Designing your customer care to be entirely customer-oriented can have many perks. Brand loyalty begins by feeling that one is part of the brand. Involve your customers by encouraging online engagement and inviting their feedback for products which can result in helpful reviews or even full blown „brand evangelists“ AKA influencers. Influencers are perceived as peer recommendation. Essentially, they are your current customers who have been so delighted with customer care, helpfulness and support that they have publicly endorsed you. This earned media can be a game changer for a company.
Play together to stay together
Whether they have already become your advocates or are new or even prospective customers – a good way to make sure you foster brand loyalty is by involving the customer in the very creation of a product/campaign/service. This has many benefits such as a thorough engagement of your customers. They will feel like your partners and that keeps them invested and makes them view themselves as a part of the brand. This also shows off the extent to which your brand is customer focused and considers the needs of its users.
Make your mistakes work for you
To err is human and companies are made up of people. Customer service can go wrong and then it’s time to forget about being defensive and start listening and reassuring. Damage-control involves learning from the experience and owning up to the mistake. Customer Service recovery has been known to strengthen brand loyalty because this is a situation in which you can demonstrate that you are tuning in, listening and genuinely want to reach out and make amends. If done correctly, it can end up giving you even more credibility.
Whether online, on some of the many social networking channels or face-to-face, customer service is the backbone of a successful business. Your brand identity should be rooted in how you treat your customers. To get it right, you will want to involve everyone in your team as well as your customers. And always keep your ear to the ground as needs and preferences change and new avenues of interaction get developed almost daily.