In the modern world, where every small misstep your customer service rep, wait staff or employees make could end up as a zero-star review on Yelp, it can be hard to shake a reputation. If your business has sustained some complaints, small or large, you’re probably looking for ways to rectify your situation. A poor review here or there can have the same impact of positive word of mouth, and you don’t want that bad reputation preceding you.
Instead, take the ball back into your court and amp up your customer service efforts. Good customer service is the cornerstone of any business. If you’ve got the right team that takes on the right measures, you’ll be surprised how quickly a situation can go from negative to positive. In fact, it’s often reflected in amended Yelp reviews or newly satisfied customers recommending your fair-dealing and respectable services to a friend, co-worker or other business.
Need some tips to help you along the way? Curious how to improve customer service? Take these ideas and run with them.
1. Hire astounding customer service reps
Your customer service representatives aren’t the faces of your company – they’re the voices. While they have a variety of roles, their most common and most important one is often responding to customer complaints. Because this is a job requiring a lot of sensitivity, you don’t want to hire just anyone for the position. Customer service reps have to be gracious, knowledgeable of your services and products, calm, polite and well-spoken.
However, when hiring a head customer service rep, you’ll want to reach beyond these token qualities. Every so often, there’s sure to be a major situation that no new hire rep can handle on his or her own. That’s when you need a veteran with the capability to diffuse a serious situation. Make sure your head customer service rep has those kinds of negotiation skills – and just a hint of charm.
Customer service is a complicated department because many reps deal with irritated and unhappy customers who take out their dissatisfaction on your employees. Having a good department head can help to keep up morale. You may also want to provide your employees with promotional stress balls just to show you have a sense of humor. In fact, sending these products out to disgruntled customers as part of your customer service plan may not be a bad idea, either!
2. Make the customer feel included
In fact, promotional products are often a great way to not only satisfy customers, but to also get them excited about your company and services again. Everyone likes to feel as though they belong or are welcome, and you can help your customers feel that way about your business by reaching out with gifts like custom tote bags. This small gesture can mend relations and even create an inclusive bond between you and the customer that could lead to repeat business. Put yourself back in a customer’s good graces, and you may see some positive fallout – they may recommend you to friends, family and associates, both online and in person. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your promotional products either. Other items, like personalized journals or stylish bumper stickers could be winning options.
3. Offer service perks
As great as promotional goodies are, they’re not guaranteed to satisfy all customers, which is why you may want to offer more traditional service perks as well. Send along a coupon for a free product or offer a gift certificate. Just don’t do so grudgingly – keep in mind how important reputation is to your business, and always interact with a smile.
The job of customer service isn’t just damage control or clean up – it’s to set your company apart from every other one out there. You and your team should be recognized for the value you lend your customers. And to that end, you should take steps to preemptively satisfy those loyal customers, showing your appreciation ahead of time with perks and fun promotional items.
Have your own customer service tips? Tell us what’s worked for you in the past!