8 Cast-Iron Ways to Improve Customer Service (Every Time)

Happy customers make for a healthy business.

Customer satisfaction is the heartbeat of the service industry. How you treat your customers reflects in your overall brand, and can even help boost revenue. In this article, we unpack what it takes for your business to produce satisfied customers time after time.

What Is Customer Satisfaction?

Customer expectations and reality are sometimes two very different things. 

Simply put, customer satisfaction is the degree to which your company’s products, services or experiences line up with customers’ expectations. It’s a measure of how your customers feel about interacting with your company, which can be quantified by conducting customer satisfaction surveys

These surveys provide an indication of:

  • The average level of customer satisfaction; and
  • Customer loyalty (which is a reliable indicator of customer referrals).

What Is The Importance Of Customer Satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is important for a whole host of reasons – not least because it can have a major impact on your company’s bottom line. It can also shed some light on the likelihood of customer loyalty, customer referrals and customer churn.

If your company measures customer satisfaction, it will be able to identify three essential features:

  1. Satisfied customers who have the potential to become evangelists or brand ambassadors; 
  2. Dissatisfied customers who have the potential to churn or otherwise leave negative reviews of your company. Research conducted by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that a dissatisfied customer will tell between nine and 15 people about their experience and roughly 13 percent of dissatisfied customers tell upwards of 20 people.
  3. Necessary product or service updates. This is especially important for SaaS companies that frequently update their software.

How Can Your Business Achieve Excellent Customer Satisfaction? 

Theories abound as to how companies can achieve excellent customer satisfaction, which vary widely in terms of their effectiveness.

So, here are eight surefire ways to get your customers raving about their experience with your business.

Personalize Your Customer Service to Perfection

In a crowded marketplace, it’s more crucial than ever that your customers feel like they’re the only ones in the world who matter.

Using your customer’s first name in conversation, congratulating them on an upcoming graduation and extending well wishes for their birthday are all simple ways to make your customers feel that your customer service agents know them personally (not just the finer details of the transaction they entered into).

[Pro Tip: Prepare your call center agents with a call center training quiz]

The more radical the personalization, the more satisfied your customers. So, get radically personal!

Provide Your Customers with Omni-Channel Support

Channels are vehicles for customer communication.

Bona fide personalization caters to your customers’ preferred mode of communication – whether that involves connecting via social media, text, chat, email or something else. 

This omni-channel approach to customer support not only provides your customers with frictionless transition between channels, but it also alleviates the need for customers to repeat information to agents, creating a better experience.

Offer Your Customers Self-Service Facilities

Conventional (reactive) customer service isn’t for everyone.

Some of your customers are a tad bit more proactive – they just want to help themselves. By opting to use self-service, your customers take the initiative to find answers to their questions and solve their own problems.

Customer self-service not only reduces contact with call centers and improves agent efficiency, but it typically increases first contact resolution, uses personalized data to improve the customer experience, creates more engaged customers and increases your company’s bottom line.

Apply the ‘Golden Rule’ To Serving Your Customers

The time-honored ‘golden rule’ says that we should “treat others the way we want to be treated.” 

This calls for your agents to empathize with your customers by putting themselves in your customers’ shoes. One way to do this is to have your agents engage in role play scenarios and act out situations that involve encounters with both easygoing and difficult customers. 

[Try: Empathy Exercises for Customer Service]

The aim of the role play exercise is threefold – firstly, to observe how your agents handle each scenario; secondly, to highlight the areas where they need to improve; and, thirdly, to improve sections of customer service that are under par.

Encourage Your Customer Service Agents to Become More Autonomous

“Let me escalate this to my supervisor.” 

These are seven words your customer would prefer not to hear. They would much rather hear these seven words instead: “Let me sort this out for you.” The Ritz-Carlton is a model example of an employer that encourages its staff to become more autonomous – principally, by giving them the green light to spend up to $2,000 to solve a customer’s problem – without ever having to ask a manager for permission first.

Autonomous agents are empowered agents who take pride in what they do and your customers become the ultimate beneficiaries of this newfound autonomy.

Prioritize Your Customer Service Agents’ Satisfaction Too

Just as happy customers make for a healthy business, happy customer service agents make for happy customers. 

Richard Branson’s philosophy applies here – that is, “If you look after your staff, they will look after your customers.” So, if customer satisfaction is one of your company’s priorities, it’s a good idea to prioritize your agents’ satisfaction too – by showing some appreciation for their efforts. This can take the form of one-to-one gestures, such as personalized ‘thank you’ notes, to more company-wide acknowledgement, such as ‘employee of the month’ programs.

The more pride your agents take in doing their job, the better their customer service is likely to be.

Learn From Customer Compliments (and Complaints) 

If your company is ever accused of going on a fishing expedition, let it be for customer compliments and complaints.

Why? Because every customer interaction – good or bad – presents your business with an invaluable opportunity to improve customer satisfaction one way or another. While compliments show what your company should be reinforcing in the customer journey, complaints highlight areas of improvement.

Analyze Customer Survey Data (And Create an Actionable Plan)

Data is only ever as good as the use it’s put to.

Customer survey data enables your company to have its finger on the pulse when it comes to the experience your customers actually have with your business. It also puts your company in pole position to take necessary action and seize any opportunities that flow from your customers’ insights.

Final Thoughts: Improving Customer Service

Consistently delivering excellent customer service isn’t easy, but it’s definitely doable. Gladly has helped scores of companies provide radically personalized customer service. Watch our demo today to find out how our best-in-class customer support software can help raise your customer satisfaction game to new heights.

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