Top Ways to Improve Your Customer Services
By Elliot Caleira
With all of the digital tools available to businesses these days, it can be easy to overlook the more human elements of everyday operations. E-mails are becoming automated, accounting services are outsourced, and content creation or management is even done remotely.
One thing you can't afford to let fall by the wayside, however, is customer service. Whereas some companies seek to differentiate themselves from the competition by lowering prices or offering a premium product, a well-known reputation for impeccable customer service can pay huge dividends for your business without breaking the bank. Here are a few ways to improve your customer relationships...
- Create a Community
By its very nature, social media is meant to foster communities and conversations. Creating a Facebook page or opening up a forum section on your site can pave the way for people to interact with each other, and a relatively low cost; most companies delegate one person or a small team to moderate the group, which keeps costs down. If those aren't an option, offering a quarterly webinar or online event can achieve a similar effect.
If you are a local business, or would just like something more physical, consider opening up a street fair or convention to draw in potential customers and reward the ones who are already loyal to your business. A face-to-face meet-and-greet can be a great way to develop a strong relationship with your clients.
- Offer Discounts
The best companies reward customer loyalty by offering incentives to buy more good or services. Rather than simply letting them languish on an email list for years at a time, send a significant coupon on the anniversary of their first purchase or on their birthdays. Paying a little bit of extra attention to the customers that have been with you for a long period of time is one of the best ways to engender loyalty on a more permanent basis.
- Develop Content
Although your goal as a business is ultimately to generate revenue, one of the aims of your marketing department is to establish your brand as an industry leader within your space. The best way to do this is by generating rich, valuable content across multiple mediums that demonstrate your own expertise. Whether that's long-form articles, step-by-step tutorials, video demonstrations, infographics, or a host of other ideas, find a way to disseminate your company's knowledge to your audience base. Not only will this condition them to think of you first when considering options in your niche, but it's also great for search engine purposes as well.
- Be Reachable
By no means do you need to have your phone handy 24/7 to answer customers questions and concerns around-the-clock, but you need to at least have some way to make your company reachable at all times, whether that's outsourcing a helpline or taking customer care shifts as an organization. In some cases, online customer relationship tools can even help address some concerns before they actually have to contact a human (when looking for the best free CRM tools, look for ones that can go across multiple platforms, like social media, mobile/desktop websites, etc). Many customers make their decisions not only based on cost or product, but also on how easy it is to contact the company with any questions.
- Get Personal
100 years ago, companies could sit in their corporate office and instruct their marketing department to craft the face of their business for them. Not any more. These days, customers want to know who and what it is that they're buying from, not some logo or well-crafted company message. This means getting visual with your buyers, doing Facebook live Q&A's, placing a physical address somewhere on your website and encouraging them to visit you, or telling some of the corporate history. It may seem somewhat hokey and self-aggrandizing, but a little personality can go a long way with your customers.