7 customer service strategies to help you beat the competition

Apr 17, 2012 | 10 comments

Unless you’ve unlocked the secret of cold fusion or cured the common cold, your business has competition.

Separating yourself from that competition involves more than just lowering prices or beating your rivals to market with a new concept.

Let stellar customer service push you to the head of the pack.

The Harvard Business Review recently polled thousands of customers to understand their customer service priorities. The researchers found that what customers wanted most was an effortless experience.

The more effort customers had to expend to get what they wanted, the more dissatisfied they became. Promising customers outstanding service has surprisingly little impact on customer satisfaction, researchers noted; customers were more concerned with whether a purchase would arrive on time than with extraordinary measures.

Lower the effort your customers must make with these steps to improve your customer service.

1. Give all your employees excellent product knowledge.

When everyone in your company can act as support, customers can get their questions answered promptly.

Saving your customers a call to the help desk goes a long way toward making them happy.

2.  Train employees in customer empathy.

Customer interactions are emotional exchanges as well as factual ones, so give your employees the tools to share a happy customer’s enthusiasm or reduce a frustrated customer’s tension.

When your staff members make customers feel truly listened to and not simply heard, customer satisfaction rises. You can try proven methods which have led to better customer empathy in call centers.

3.  Build infrastructure that supports great customer service.

That means incorporating SMS powered live chat and support ticket software, streamlined self-help options like knowledge base on your website and call-backs instead of lengthy hold times.

Customers perceive looking up a tracking number or reading frequently asked questions as less effort than calling a customer care center, so offering these options increases satisfaction.

If lacking resources, consider outsourcing customer service operations which most of the time a much cheaper alternative than running an in-house call center.

4. Resolve customer issues at their first point of contact.

Harvard researchers noted that having to repeat a problem to a chain of customer service representatives was intensely frustrating for customers.

Improve first contact resolution by ensuring that the person who initially handles the call takes full responsibility for it until the customer’s concern is resolved.

Offering live chat support on your website allows for more collaboration behind the scenes. Experienced agents can effectively mentor new hires by “whispering” answers to them as they chat with customers.

5. Empower your employees to make customers happy.

To your customers, any member of your staff becomes the face of your company. When your employees have the power to please customers, they make your whole organization shine.

Instead of focusing on speed and productivity, give your frontline employees permission to take the time they need to make each customer feel valued.

6. Deliver on your promises.

Every package that arrives on time or product that works as intended reinforces your customers’ trust in you.

Customers don’t want you to promise them the moon as much as they want you to deliver it on time and with a smile.

7. Make it personal.

Apologize quickly and sincerely if you’re unable to meet your promises for any reason. Make the apology personal and not just a form letter.

Setting things right quickly for your customer will go a long way toward restoring that low-effort experience your clientele prefers.

If you give your customers the most effortless experience, they’ll choose you over the competition every time.

Please leave your comments below, we’d love to get your feedback about this post.


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About the author

Michael Kansky

CTO at LiveHelpNow, LLC
Temple University , Computer science
15 years of software engineering experience

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