Every business needs paying customers to survive and thrive, so treating your customers well is definitely the wise thing to do. This is important because, not only do happy customers keep coming back, they are also more likely to spread the word about your business and tell their friends about you. And we all know that word of mouth is the best kind of marketing.
People will usually purchase a product or service based on recommendations from someone they trust. This is why customer service is such a big deal: It helps you retain existing customers and supports your brand reputation, paving the way for new customers.
Excellent customer service is key for every business, but even more so for small businesses and freelancers, especially because your ability to bring that personal and human touch to your client interactions is a major competitive advantage against bigger organizations.
We talked about nightmare customers in a previous post , but we also know that there are just as many problematic businesses and service providers too. We’ve all experienced businesses, whose sub-par service left a bad taste. Whether it was an unpleasant attitude, rudeness or not keeping their word, no one enjoys being treated poorly, especially if they’re a paying customer.
Customer service takes many different forms, depending on the nature of your business, but these four traits will always be a defining feature of an organization that has hacked delighting customers:
They deliver on their promise
This one is fundamental because your clients are paying you to deliver exactly what you have promised, and on time too. Companies/Startups/freelancers that deliver great customer service know that holding up their own of the bargain is the bare minimum, and they take this seriously. Bonus points for exceeding client expectations. (underpromise, overdeliver…)
There’s nothing as frustrating as waiting days on end for a response to your email, or the phone ringing without being answered. This is even worse when a client has a complaint, and it takes forever to get some sort of response, never mind resolution.
It is important to respond to inquiries and resolve customer complaints in the shortest possible time. Great customer service also involves communicating when the client can expect a resolution to their issue, and then ensuring a resolution happens within the stated time frame.
They’re honest and open
If you’ve ever been harassed by a persuasive sales person into buying something that ended up not quite meeting your needs, then you know that it’s not a very pleasant experience. Providing misleading information just to make a sale is not a good look. Businesses that are great at customer service know that being upfront and transparent with clients builds trust and trust is good for business.
They’re proactive about communicating.
Picture this: you’re trying to login to your mobile banking app to do a transfer. You need to do that transaction urgently, but for some reason you’re unable to login. Frustrated, you call your bank demanding to know why. It turns out that the bank is carrying out some maintenance on the app, so service is temporarily unavailable. Now the bank has thousands of angry customers like you expressing their annoyance on social media.
This whole scenario could have been averted if they informed their customers beforehand: an email or SMS informing clients about the upgrade, when it would happen, and alternative channels for transactions.
The best businesses know that keeping customers in the know eliminates a lot of friction in the relationship.
Everyone on the team has a great attitude
Politeness, friendliness and a genuine willingness to solve customer problems, all make for a great customer experience. No one wants to do business with a person or organization that doesn’t treat them with respect. In contrast, keeping every customer interaction positive encourages repeat business. Great businesses know this, so they ensure that a positive attitude is a integral part of their company culture.
Customer service is ensuring that each client has a great experience when they interact with your business, at the very least, it is treating your clients with the respect they deserve, and honoring your commitments to them.