When it comes to customer service, it's always better to be proactive, instead of being reactive. It means that it's best to have some preventive measures set in place to keep issues from cropping up; in the event they do, it's always better to be forthcoming with solutions, before the issues get escalated and you have to deal with customer complaints.
The only way a small business can survive in the current day competitive landscape is to continuously be in evolve mode, and this means many things - it means you have to be consistent with monitoring customer satisfaction and your online reputation. In case you notice any discrepancies, it's important that you address them without delay.
It's a win-win
All this means you should be the one taking the first step while dealing with customer service matters. Here are some ways in which you can be proactive with your customer service, and how it matters:
Customer feedback is important
One common trait of companies that have the best customer service is that they welcome customer feedback, regardless of the form it comes in. They post open customer reviews on their company website; and they don't just solicit feedback, they action upon it and use it to enhance their products/services. This matters a great deal because when you improve your service and show your customers that their opinions are valued, it enhances customer confidence and improves customer loyalty.
Adopt an Honest and Upfront Approach
To err is human and the biggest of businesses and companies tend to goof up sometimes. Most companies make every attempt to disguise these mistakes and try to ensure that their customers don't notice the slip-ups. It's far better to be upfront and honest about it.
While your customers might be miffed at first, they will eventually come around and will appreciate the fact that you have been honest with them. For instance, if there is going to be a delay in a product delivery, it's best to keep the customer informed in advance. This approach boosts customer loyalty as the customers realise they are dealing with a credible and responsible company.
Social networking sites and review sites have become the common avenues via which customers voice their grievances about a company. Even the best of companies have to deal with negative reviews sometimes. It's important that you respond to these reviews in the same manner you would respond to positive comments from customers. Address customer concerns promptly and provide resolutions. When you go the extra mile, customers realise that you value them.
Useful content and live chat
It's important that your customer service team be easily accessible if and when a customer has any query or issue. However, you can also post useful content on your website, in the form of an FAQ's page. This should be comprehensive and provide answers to some common issues that customers face or queries they might have.
It's also a good idea to have a live chat customer service function on your website. When customers have questions, they want quick answers. If they are online, they can quickly access the chat function on your home page and get the answers they need, from your online customer service reps.
Being proactive is about taking going the extra mile for your customers, well before they ask for assistance. When you do this in a genuinely and consistently, you will find your customer base growing, which will add to the profitability of your company.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.