The recently released UK Customer Satisfaction Index (aka the UKCSI, published by the Institute of Customer Service in July 2019) revealed that almost 1 in 4 customers (24%) have been directly influenced by a recommendation from a friend or family member about the decision to use an organisation.
This shouldn’t be surprising, but a reminder of the power and influence of positive referrals, and the need for businesses to work continuously in providing excellent service to their customers if they want their existing customers to help bring further business through the door.
But everybody knows this, right?
Can you honestly say that you give such fantastic service every time to your customers that they are tripping over themselves to tell their friends and family how amazing you are?
If so, well done. Keep it up.
And if not, here are a few quick changes you can make within your business to help improve the experience of each and every customer, from the moment they make their first enquiry…
Respond quickly, especially where social media is involved. Queries or feedback sent via social media should be responded to as quickly as possible. A fast response will help to answer questions and minimise any complaints.
Get personal. Act like a human and speak to your customers accordingly. Bots and automation are useful, but will only get you so far. Sometimes, only a real response will do.
Give a little extra. What added value could you provide to your customers to elevate your service to the next level? A free gift, some extra help, a discount, maybe some additional learning such as a webinar or blog post?
Remember that this doesn’t have to be a tangible item; one of the best ‘added extras’ I’ve ever received was in a café that brought my coffee to the table for me a few years ago when I was a relatively new first-time Mum and dealing with a hungry and very grizzly baby. Simple, but effective – it was a small gesture that I still value, and means that years later, I still favour that cafe and recommend it to others on that one small act of kindness.
Ensure everyone is on the same page. If you employ staff, are they providing the level of service that you want your customers to receive? Don’t let grumpy Geoff bring your company’s customer service standards down, and provide training or advice if necessary.
Be flexible. Realise that not all customers are the same, and adapt your service to meet their needs. Offer a free trial if they’re nervous about purchasing, or a small free sample if they aren’t sure if they’ll like your new cake. Again, it doesn’t have to be big, but give some thought into what your customers need the most, and it’ll help them to feel like they’ve had a special or unique experience, which will make them more likely to return or recommend your business in the long term.
A business can live or die by its customer service, and it is something that shouldn’t be ignored for a later date. If your customer service isn’t up to scratch, make the time to fix it now, before it starts to have an irreversible effect on your business.