Delivering great customer service goes beyond your performance at work. It reflects your professional brand, and more importantly – your ability to network and interview for the jobs you want. Myth: Those who are great at customer service are social extroverts. Fact: Great customer service is more than just being able to talk well with others. It’s about strategically delivering on the customer’s needs and expectations. It’s not easy to consistently connect with, understand, and service all the different customers you interact with daily. Fortunately, we have five sure fire strategies that you can easily implement into your work routine that’ll kick you into rockstar status with very little effort.
Delivering great customer service goes beyond your performance at work.
It reflects your professional brand, and more importantly – your ability to network and interview for the jobs you want.
Myth: Those who are great at customer service are social extroverts.
Fact: Great customer service is more than just being able to talk well with others. It’s about strategically delivering on the customer’s needs and expectations.
It’s not easy to consistently connect with, understand, and service all the different customers you interact with daily.
Fortunately, we have five sure fire strategies that you can easily implement into your work routine that’ll kick you into rockstar status with very little effort.
Gather Customer Details to Sell and Convert Like a Champion
Have you ever been on a terrible date? The kind where the other person won’t stop talking about themselves? Or where they don’t ask you any questions?
We’ve all been there.
When someone doesn’t care about you, you know it. Whether it’s a personal relationship or a business transaction, people’s advances fall flat when they don’t do their research.
No one wants to interact with a selfish person…or a selfish company.
Customers are people who want to feel validated and understood. By taking the time to research your customers, you can forge deeper relationships and increase sales.
Here’s your step-by-step action plan to use customer data this week:
- Dive into the details: Access all existing customer information that your company has. The information may include order history, engagement data, behavioral data, and more. Once you understand who your customer is, you can help them with where they need to go (aka toward your product).
Customer profiles help you understand your their pain points, build a trusting relationship, relate inter-personally to your customer, and anticipate their needs.
- Keep an anecdotal log: Find your personal style and charm when interacting with customers (no one likes cookie-cutter people). After an interaction, write down what worked and what didn’t work. Combined with aggregate customer data, your reflections will help you refine your craft in a meaningful way.
- Ask intelligent questions: Don’t be a bad date. Ask your customers guiding questions that help you deepen your understanding of them. Questions like: “What are you looking for in x product?” or “What are your must-haves with x item or service?” will help you relate better to customers and intelligently convert them to buy.
Here’s the dirty little secret: customers will tell you their selling point if you take the time to get to know them. Don’t just push what you want on your customers; let your customers reveal how you can sell to them.
- Use customer data wisely and ethically: One caveat to gathering all this data is that you want to be sure you don’t come off as too intrusive or pushy to customers. If you know too much, it can be a bit weird. Try to keep your conversations organic and use your research wisely to push customers in the desired direction.
Using customer data effectively is a delicate dance.
You don’t want to come off as a know-it-all, but you also don’t want to be left in the dark.
Do your research and treat each customer as an individual, and you’ll be converting new customers in no time.
Foster Customer Relationships: Engage Customers Where They Are
Recall your favorite interaction with a salesperson (either online, on the phone, or in-person). What did you like about them? How did they make you feel?
Now, try to remember your least favorite interaction with a salesperson. What did you dislike about them? How did they make you feel?
We often purchase based on several factors—one of those factors is our relationship with customer support and how we feel. Even if a product is good, negative customer service can quickly sour a deal.
By focusing on customer relationships, you can boost long-term sales and extend your overall customer base.
Here are tactics you can use today to help meet customers where they are:
- Focus your energy on the consumer. Before you start listing the great things about your company or your product, it’s vital to figure out where your client is in the sales cycle. You need to know if the client has been considering buying your product for a long time or if they know absolutely nothing. Take the time to understand your consumer and make them feel important (because they are!) so that you can forge deeper relationships.
- Show, don’t tell. People tend to buy ideas (and solutions) rather than just products. If you launch right into a list of specs, details, or the nitty-gritty of your product or service, you might lose a client to boredom.
The better tactic is to show your customer how your product can help them exactly where they are. Show how your product will improve the customer’s life or business with stories, illustrations, charts, videos, and other sensory tools. These sensory tools help people visualize the true value of your service or product.
Level-up Your Service by Using Client Feedback
No one dreams of being “okay.” We dream of being great, excellent, or amazing.
If you feel as though you’ve hit a wall with customer focus, it might be because you’re not learning from your past mistakes.
As hard as it is to hear critical feedback, constructive criticism pushes us to get better and grow.
Client feedback is an absolute goldmine. Instead of wondering “what could we do better” in vague terms, the client will often tell you exactly what you should do to improve.
Feedback will help you gauge client satisfaction, plan for the future, improve your product, and gain insights about what is valuable to your consumers.
Here’s how to use customer feedback to level-up your customer focus:
- Choose methods to collect feedback. Depending on your position and your company, there are several ways to collect feedback: interviews, surveys, online and social media reviews, live chat, focus groups, emails, and tracking website behavior. Choose the methods you can easily integrate into your current sales infrastructure.
- Be ninja-like with your data. Once you’ve decided how to collect client feedback, it’s time to put the data to work. First, aggregate the data to see feedback trends and develop an action plan for future improvement. Next, be ready to implement changes to your service or company based on the feedback. Don’t feel pressured to overhaul everything overnight—instead, look at trends and focus on a few actionable items at a time.
If you’re swift and smart with the feedback you collect (yes, like a ninja), you can start improving your customer’s experience within 2 weeks.
Keep Your Loyal Customers Coming Back for More (Retention Over Acquisition)
We all know that retention is better than acquisition. What you might not know is that retention is a lot, lot, lot better than acquisition.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
That’s why retention is king.
Think of it this way: customers are kind of like friends. It can take months (or even years) to form a bond with a new friend. Once you have a friend, however, it’s relatively easy to continue being friends. Occasional phone calls or hang out sessions keep your friendship alive and well.
Once you’ve gone through the trouble of “courting” a customer and creating a bond with them, it seems silly to throw that all away. Selling is easier and more cost-effective when you focus on customer retention.
Here are 2 expert tactics to retain your current customers:
- Clear, constant communication. Let your customers know about promotions, reward systems, and product updates in an exciting and genuine manner. People love to be rewarded for their loyalty: make sure that your true fans are always the first to know what’s happening with your brand.
Open communication keeps your brand front-and-center for your customers. This visibility increases the chance that they will return to your service when they need you.
- People want personal. Consumers want a personalized, authentic customer experience. When people get a whiff of being treated like “the masses,” it’s a huge turnoff. Don’t be afraid to email your loyal customers directly, use data analytics to customize offers, and get creative to make a personal connection with each customer. Customer focus is all about doing little things to make sure your clients know that you care.
In addition to the monetary value of true brand fans, a loyal customer base acts as a FREE marketing tool through referrals. If just one person trusts you, their referral can welcome more and more customers, without any additional work.
Be Present to Make Your Sales Pitch Irresistible
There’s a reason we pay more for a steak dinner than we do for fast food.
Sure, the product at a steakhouse (steak, potatoes, expensive wine) is higher quality than a cheap burger and fries…but selling the experience of “fine dining” is deeper than serving a good steak.
People pay big $$ for overall experience: product, service, and brand image, all wrapped in one.
According to psychological research, 5 aspects contribute to a customer’s experience: brand, price, product, processes (the level of ease to engage with a company), and interaction (quality of service).
Although you might not be able to control every aspect of the customer experience, the #1 thing you can control is your quality of service. By making your service irresistible, you also make your product irresistible.
Here’s are our tips to remain “present” with every customer:
- Actively listen and engage in the moment with customers. Practice active listening when speaking with a customer. Instead of thinking about what you’ll say next, listen to your customer’s needs, and react in the moment.
If you’re in-person, practice good posture, eye contact, and smiling. Try not to fidget, look at the clock, or look disinterested—these habits tell the customer that you’re thinking about something else and don’t really care about them. When you actively listen and engage, customers receive a positive service experience; these customers are more likely to purchase and keep coming back for more.
- Relax and be yourself. One of the best ways to maintain a positive relationship with customers is to be yourself and present as authentic. If you seem like a salesperson, people are less likely to buy into your product. Be kind, be real, and be authentic to foster positive customer relationships and stand out as a customer focus guru.
There you have it, five easy-to-implement strategies that will help up your customer focused game.
Bonus: Once you’ve mastered each strategy, you can easily modify them to become a networking and interview rockstar in no time!
It all sounds great on paper, but what’s next? Take action!
“Knowledge without action, is like having no knowledge at all” – Ted Nicholas
- Print out each strategy and make notes on how each bullet point can relate to your current role.
- Each day, try to implement one or two new ideas and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
- Repeat until you turn the successful ideas into new daily habits.
Remember – a successful career doesn’t happen overnight.
It comes from the continuous improvement of the efforts you take towards achieving your goals and making it more than just the job you have today. It’s the CSQA way!