In the service industry, customers judge a company by their personal interactions with the business. Customer service is one area where you should never cut corners, as doing so can result in negative experiences for your valued customers.
Should the word spread (true or not), the results can have a huge impact on your overall success. Here are a few ways to stay ahead of the competition with an improved customer service strategy.
7 Keys to a Top-Notch Customer Service Strategy
1. Rave About Your Loyal Customers
It's a fact that it's much harder to gain new customers than to keep your existing ones. So, it's in your best interest to do everything you can to keep them!
When a customer posts a positive review on your website, it not only helps visitors see what customers think of your service, it can also improve your ranking in search results, enabling users to find your website in the first place.
Always respond, even to positive reviews, and highlight what good taste your customer has. If he/she also has a business or supports a special cause, you can pass along the goodwill with some free promotion of his/her message.
If you lack reviews, you can ask outright whenever a customer tells you how much they appreciated the service. Alternatively, you can be more subtle, perhaps by posting a couple of your favorite reviews in places like the counter or by the door.
2. Know Your Target Market Perfectly
Even if your services are suitable for a wide range of people, never try to market to everyone. There is a huge amount of information on the Internet, and users tend to ignore generic messages that could be aimed at someone else. Learn who your target audience is and deliver information that these people will find interesting and useful.
3. Go for Real Time Engagement on Social Media
Your presence on social media sites is no longer sufficient — you need a customer service strategy that takes social media into account. Regular social media activity allows you to have a continuous dialog with prospects and answer questions that will lead them to more interaction. Offering education about your service or product can help to shorten your sales process by making your prospect feel knowledgeable.
IMPACT recommends following the 70/20/10 rule — 70 percent of your activity increases brand recognition, 20 percent involves sharing the content of others, and 10 percent promotes your company.
As it can be time consuming to handle a large number of accounts, stick to just the sites where your target market tend to be in great numbers. Regularly analyze your reach and engagement on these sites to be constantly improving your customer service strategy.
4. Re-Focus on E-mail Marketing
Your e-mail list is one of your greatest assets. It should be nurtured and grown at every chance possible. E-mail remains a high-value way to stay in contact with customers after they have used your service, as well as to connect with prospects. Here are just a few ways to use email marketing:
- Ask for feedback (or a review) of a service.
- Try to up-sell or cross-sell.
- Offer special deals.
- Invite customers to a referral program, bringing you new leads in exchange for an incentive.
5. Go Old-School
Sometimes direct mail is better than e-mail, particularly in the case of thank-you note. A handwritten note can go a long way to strengthen your relationship with a customer and help you to stand out from your competitors by showing that your business is willing to go the extra mile.
6. Make It Easy to Find You
To gain a high ranking in local search results, you need to optimize your website and blog with content containing key phrases that include your city name or other search terms that locals are using to find businesses like yours. In addition, you should verify your business to ensure that it appears on Google Maps and other Google properties along with your contact details, description and business hours. Google provides instructions how to do this.
7. Delight Your Customers
If you want to see repeat business, you need to go beyond satisfying your customers. Show clients that you value their loyalty by offering them special services, discounts and unexpected perks.
Great Service Means Happy Customers
By using a combination of the techniques describes above in your customer service strategy, you will be focused on what matters: your customers' happiness and satisfaction. Neglect customer service for just a brief time and your business will suffer.
Are you ready to learn more ideas about how to improve your strategy and business model? Get the free copy of our e-book below.
Image credit: S. Laine