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How to Level Up Your Customer Service Experience

Every business owner knows that good customer service plays a critical role in success. However, when you make it a point to focus on this aspect of your operations, it can boost customer service performance and create even more significant benefits to your bottom line.

Yes, It's That Important

According to Smallbizgenius, 95% of consumers say that customer service is essential in choosing a brand. What's more, excellent customer service leads to referrals and higher overall sales. In fact, referral consumers have a 16% higher lifetime value than those who haven't heard about a business before their first interaction.

Poor customer service, however, can kill a sale before it starts. Nearly 71% of consumers report that they've ended their relationship with a business because the experience was subpar. 

So, how do you create a culture of excellent customer service? We look at several ways to do so.

Look at Your Own Data

You may already hold one of the most important keys to delivering better customer service. The data you've accumulated through online review platforms, business social media sites, and other ways customers express how they feel when interacting with your company is highly valuable information. 

Don't overlook this low-hanging fruit! Read your reviews and respond to them. If a customer praises your business, thank them. If they criticize something, thank them for caring enough to share their insights and consider what they've said. 

If it's accurate, take steps to fix the issue because doing so will raise your customer service bar for everyone. Not all reviews are accurate reflections, but if enough people tell you that your receptionist is rude, it's likely beneficial to talk to the person and address the issue. Once you do, customers will notice, deepening your ties with them.

Keep in mind that customer service goes beyond your receptionist. Reviews about slow deliveries or products that exceed expectations all factor into the customer experience. Take these to heart, too.

Reviews are more than just customers singing you praises or just spouting off. They represent a valuable data set that you should continually monitor. 

Understand Your Value

It's easy for customers to get hung up on price. After all, it's a trait every product has, and usually one of the first things scrutinized. However, with every price tag comes a back story that factors things like costs of materials, the supply chain that made it possible, and the time you spent creating it.

If a customer feels a price is too high, the experience already starts on the wrong foot. Therefore, it's your responsibility to let them know why you're charging that price. Use tags explaining that locally sourced ingredients cost more out of season or that the stitching on the bag they're considering is labor-intensive.

If you are overcharging and getting a reputation for it, consider rethinking your pricing strategy or working with suppliers who cost less. If you're not, remember that it's okay to say no from time to time if customers ask for a discount. It may seem counterintuitive but stick to your outlined policies, especially if you can justify them. By doing so, you'll be able to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your customer. 

Make It Personal

Templated replies to praises or posts on social media may make it easier for you to manage them. However, if you're using the same ones continuously, your business will look insincere. Provide personal responses occasionally and refer to customers by name.

Or consider taking your communication offline and picking up the phone. Or send a hand-written note. These surprisingly simple gestures can significantly impact and garner lifetime customer relationships. 

Don't reserve these gestures for those who only sing your praises, either. A personal response can be especially effective with customers who've had an unpleasant experience. If you've made a mistake or let a customer down, owning up to it personally shows integrity and respect. It can also mark the beginning of a positive new era with the customer.

Motivate Your Employees

You can't serve every customer, but you can still ensure they have a positive experience by creating a customer-centric employee base. Motivate them with praise, occasional contests, or employee of the month rewards.

Coach employees who may be struggling with the finer points of customer service or put them in positions where they can deliver good customer service in other ways like sending out cards or keeping your business tidy. Ensure that everyone understands that customer service extends from the front of the organization to the back and that everyone plays a role.