Back in the day, the phrase “the customer is always right” was an accepted business philosophy across nearly all industry segments.
Today, in too many instances “customer service” amounts to automated recordings or self-help peer forums. Customers often believe that the companies with which they do business don’t care about them at all.
Therefore, if you want your business to stand out from the competition, a genuine customer support system represents an excellent starting point. The time, effort and money you spend in responding you the questions and concerns of your customers and clients will more than be repaid by positive referrals to family and friends. On the other hand, failure to deal with customer complaints in a proactive manner can result in negative comments on social media platforms and online consumer portals that could haunt your company for years to come.
Manage Customer Expectations
With an active, transparent customer support system in place, your customers can know precisely what to expect from your company, its products and how it deals with is customers. Letting would-be customers know that there is a dedicated customer support staff on hand reassures them that they can purchase your products with confidence. If your business can possibly afford to do so, provide a telephone number that is staffed by live, knowledgeable operators, and perhaps a live online chat feature. At the very least, provide an email address with reassurances that all messages will receive timely and meaningful responses. Forty-eight hours is reasonable; twenty-four hours is better.
Generate Positive Customer Opinions
Even the most diligent and conscientious company sometimes makes mistakes. Everyone understands that. In many instance, the difference between a successful company and one that fails is how it responds to genuine instances of customer dissatisfaction or legitimate shortcomings in its products or services. In addition, by encouraging feedback on your company’s online storefront and in social media, your company’s excellent customer service has the potential to reach even larger audiences than you could hope to capture with all but the most costly advertising campaigns.
When customers approach you with problems, they have at least a modicum of belief that there is a satisfactory solution to be had. Solving your customer’s problems is one of the most potent strategies for transforming dissatisfied customers in to happy and loyal repeat customers who tell all their friends about your company’s outstanding service.
Expedite Handling of Customer Complaints
With a proactive customer service system in place, your company can address customer dissatisfaction before it is transformed into exasperation, returned orders and public complaints. Without a customer service system, your only indication that customers are unhappy may present itself in high return rates and declining sales. Depending on the nature of problems that customers present, you can offer no-hassle returns, easy exchanges or speedy repairs, perhaps with loaner items for customers to use while their merchandises is being serviced. A loaner service provides your company with ready advertising opportunities in the form of business logos discreetly affixed on loaner items.