Offering great client service not only builds a loyal and happy customer base, but can be the most powerful marketing tool due to word-of-mouth referrals.
A 2013 study by Dimensional Research for Zendesk found 62 percent of business-to-business and 42 percent of business-to-consumer customers purchased more after enjoying a great customer-service experience.
On the flip side, the same survey discovered 95 percent of customers share bad experiences with their network, compared to the 87 percent sharing a positive experience.
Related: The 4 Things Every Customer Wants
How can customer service be improved? Here are six ways:
1. Truly listen.
Offer expertise, but make sure employees are listening as much as they talk. Great service isn’t about forcing a strategy that doesn’t work for the customer. Try to balance being an expert with listening to concerns and providing what customers think is right for their needs.
2. Be responsive.
Customers want service, fast. Even if the full answer can’t be delivered immediately, always email back the same day. Keep the customer looped into the process, and make sure they understand everyone is doing their best to ensure issues are being addressed quickly and fully.
3. Accommodate customers.
Unfortunately, customers can drop the ball just as often as companies. Sometimes a client will show up late to a call and sometimes a customer won’t have all the relevant information service-team members need to provide assistance.
While it can be easy to get aggravated, it’s important to accommodate customer needs. Keep in mind that every customer or client is a potential brand ambassador, meaning every interaction can be a selling point or a barrier to attracting more business.
4. Build trust.
A company-customer relationship does not need to be strictly platonic. Going the extra mile and showing passion for the client builds loyalty, trust and a longer customer relationship.
5. Live the company values.
To ensure a great client-service experience, the company needs to make service an important cultural value. When creating a company culture, standard practices, or a mission statement, highlight the importance of customer service. Making service a baked-in part of the culture means employees will be more likely to live the company’s values on a day-to-day basis, and create better service outcomes.
6. Don’t grow too quickly.
Don’t sacrifice quality in lieu of hunger for growth. At the end of the day, happy customers lead to word-of-mouth referrals and an overall positive company brand, image and reputation. This organic and steady growth is what will lead to a healthy company.
Keep in mind, a great service experience has the power to turn customers into fans, and clients into brand ambassadors for the company.