As a customer, it is easy to be bombarded with all the different brands vying for the mighty dollar. There are various reasons why a consumer or business may choose one brand over the other; this could range from product availability to brand familiarity. Many of these differentiators can be easily replicated across brands; however, there is one differentiator that can make all the difference – service.
Providing quality service in any industry is key to customer retention and satisfaction. A dissatisfied customer who receives poor service is a company’s worst nightmare because as Douglas Adams says:
Word-of-mouth is one of the most valuable forms of marketing, especially in this social media driven world. Due to the value of this, customers should not leave your place of business with a negative word in their mouth, and the greatest way to prevent this is with exceptional service. You would be surprised to know the positive power of exceptional service in even the most upset and disappointed customer.
How can you provide a level of service that makes all the difference?
Here are five tips to providing exceptional service whether you are in a B2B or B2C industry:
- Pay attention to your customer’s immediate needs.
- Today’s society is built on instant gratification and this makes it extremely important for businesses to attend to the immediate needs of their customers. When immediate needs are left unattended, it creates a barrier that makes it difficult to communicate with the message at hand.
- Attend to requests and complaints in a timely fashion.
- It is essential to attend to your customers in a timely fashion. This applies to both positive and negative feedback or requests. Time can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a disgruntled customer. When a person is made to feel that their time and voice is valued, they will be easier to interact with and will aid in reaching a positive solution quickly.
- Forecast your customer’s long-term needs and desires.
- After successfully meeting your customer’s immediate needs, it becomes easier to focus on long-term needs and desires. A satisfied customer is more apt to present relevant feedback and suggestions that can help to plan growth and anticipate buying behaviours.
- Interact with customers in a friendly manner (This is especially important when dealing with angry or dissatisfied customers).
- Friendliness is a great disarming tool. When customers are displeased, it is important to approach the situation with friendliness. This means offering a listening ear, empathy, and an urgency to reach a mutual decision. If a customer is pleased and satisfied, it is still important to interact in a friendly manner because this will create a positive association with your business.
- Rectify any issues identified by your customers with accuracy, timeliness and committed attention.
- When issues are identified by your customers, make them a priority. Attend to these issues by first understanding the customer’s expectation, then clearly communicating how these expectations can be met. It is important to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the plan, otherwise this will result in wasted effort.
At the end of the day, every business wants a satisfied customer, this is the case if your customer is a public consumer or a Fortune 500 business. A satisfied customer is every business’s best marketer.
Treat people well and they will do your marketing for you, for free.