No matter what kind of business you run, the customers are the lifeblood of your organization. Without them, your business would be obsolete – it is as simple as that. There’s that old phrase that goes, ‘The customer is always right!’ – and while that seems outdated in this day and age, your customers’ opinions matter most, period.
While pursuing growth, financial viability, notoriety in the industry and a million other things, some business owners forget to put their customers at the forefront of their thinking. Your customers’ experience is the central tenet around which everything in your business should revolve.
In this post, we will explore how to improve your customer experience as a business. Let’s get started!
What Are the Most Important Rules in Customer Service?
Customer service can take many different forms. A restaurant has direct customer service, supplying its customers with food and drinks and using wait staff as representatives of the business. Software and IT businesses are not directly involved in speaking with their customers day to day, but are on call for issues or emergencies that might arise. Residence businesses like hotels and AirBnB provide the environment for their customers to enjoy, as well as help and advice when it is needed.
Although businesses’ customer service styles may vary, there are a few hard and fast rules that apply to all business models and industries. Here are a few of the most important customer service rules you need to know.
#1: Your Customer Should Always Feel Listened To
It is never possible to satisfy every customer 100% of the time. We are all human, and sometimes, what your customer wants simply can’t be given to them – it’s as simple as that.
However, there is one way to find a happy medium, and that is to always listen to your customers’ concerns and requests. Even if you can’t meet their needs exactly, your customer should always feel considered and listened to. Never have a brusque or standoffish attitude to a customer request, even a seemingly outrageous one!
#2: Anticipating Needs Is Better Than Reacting to Them
One of the keys to great customer service is anticipating people’s needs before they need to make them clear. When you go to a restaurant, isn’t it great when the waiter notices you have finished your drink, and offers a refreshment before you have to call them over? This basic example can be applied to all customer service forms. Anticipating needs is far better than reacting to them.
#3: Small Extras Go an Awfully Long Way, Especially for Small Businesses
If you run a small business, you might be wondering how to get ahead of your larger competitors. They have the budget for faster delivery or a more comprehensive service, so how can you possibly stand up to them?
The truth is that small extras can go for miles if you point them at the right customers. If you run a small retail business selling clothes and jewellery, for example, personalizing the deliveries with handwritten notes can make people want to buy from you more often! Standing out as a small business means bringing a little personality to the job – instead of a faceless corporate business, your customer knows they’re supporting you as an individual.
Can You Outsource Customer Experience?
Outsourcing is one of the most cost-effective and increasingly valuable moves a business owner can make. There are companies and agencies that exist solely to optimize customer experience, and these can be invaluable to helping your company improve its customer service.
By outsourcing your customer experience to trained professionals, you can:
- analyze customer feedback using premier data tools;
- see where you have left gaps in your customer experience strategy;
- make the relevant improvements to your online or physical storefront, to maximize customer interest and engagement;
- appeal to a wider customer base, thereby increasing revenue and growing your business;
- be more proactive in trying to make your customer experience the best in your industry;
- cut above the competition by accumulating small, but meaningful, improvements to your customers’ shopping or user experience;
- keep your marketing and customer budgets low.
Of course, you can do these things in-house too, but outsourcing seems to be the more popular choice among business owners today. If you are struggling to implement changes on your own, a customer experience expert could help you.
If you run a small, medium, or even a large business, there are always ways to improve your customer experience long term. Use this guide to help you start making those first steps!