This a 3-part series about improving customer satisfaction. We started with how to boost customer value and hone your customer experience. Today, let’s make sure you deliver 5 star customer service and make your brand memorable.
It takes 7 seconds to make a lasting impression on the new people you meet.
How many opportunities do your clients and prospects have to interact with you? Website, social media, direct engagement, ads, referrals, word-of-mouth…
Have you ever thought about the fact that, in a few short seconds, they forge a lifelong opinion of your product or service?
Time to take action! Your clients experience your customer service before they’ve even had a chance to buy from you. And that’s exactly why you need to deliver 5 stars, every time. It could mean the difference between being forgotten and being remembered 30 years later.
The best merry-go-round in town
As 5 year-old kid, all I dreamt about was a ride on the merry-go-round. Back then, my definition of 5 star customer service was “getting a ticket without being scared off by a stranger.”
I let go of my Mum’s hand and bravely bought my ticket (a blue one). Then came the time to tell the lady in charge of the merry-go-round where I wanted to sit. I boldly announced I would ride the pink unicorn.
But when I looked across at the unicorn, a little girl was already riding it. The unicorn was taken.
The ride was about to start. Mum had agreed to one ride only.
The lady could see I was about to burst into tears.
“Oh, sorry lovely. Silly me! You need a magic ticket for the unicorn ride.” She handed an extra pink glossy ticket. “The blue ticket gets you on the giant daisy. And this magic pink ticket is for the next ride. It’s for the unicorn.”
The lady gave me a magic ticket. Just for me. I was the happiest little girl in the world.
Of course, I told all my school friends that it was the best merry-go-round in town and she was the nicest lady I ever met.
Customer service starts with your attitude
In your business, the magic ticket you give to your customers is your attention. This means taking care of them, as if they were unique. You can get ahead of the pack with this simple difference: a robust set of customer service principles. With such principles, you never leave pain or frustration unanswered: you see it coming before they do.
Think about your favourite restaurant. Why do you like it so much? Yes ok, it’s the best steak in town, but there’s more to it than that. Waiters know you by name. They make sure your favourite table is available when you walk in. If there is any problem with your food, they deal with it immediately.
Before they become your customers, people are individuals. They need reassurance that you care enough to resolve their problems. They want to know that hanging out with you is valuable in its own right. Five star customer service never starts when clients complain. It starts when you first engage them in conversation.
How to make customer service transparent
A clear vision of your customer service principles is not a bonus. It’s necessary to strengthen your emotional connection with your clients. The way you respond to interactions (directly or indirectly) and anticipate what your customers need is critical. To achieve this, simple details can make a big difference.
Never break communication
Don’t leave any attempt to communicate unanswered. Anything your audience says should be at least acknowledged (yes, even negative comments). Give thanks for each product review. Get back to e-mails within reasonable time-frames. Greet people on social media with short and personalised messages. Be visible and don’t miss opportunities to demonstrate the level of service they can expect from you.
Eliminate friction on your sales page
Be clear. Say what it is about, and what it isn’t. Be considerate of the time your customers – present or future – allocate to reading your product page. Anyone getting in touch should be able to answer a few basic questions: What’s in it for me? How much is it? How do I contact these guys? Are they genuine?
Cherish your loyal customers
Do you know who your customers are? Do you know the repeat purchasers? Do you give them special treatment? Make sure they know that you know. Engage with your core fans – the ones who were there first. Call them or send them a nice email, ask them what they’re up to. Make them feel like part of a special tribe of people you respect for the contribution they make to your business.
When there is a problem, acknowledge it and fix it. Move on from the emotional and focus on resolving, communicating and being better. The first mistake people make in business is not to have a clear process to address unhappy customers.
What is the priority you’re going to give to their communication? How many days / hours before you get back to them? What is the vehicle you’re going to use (email, phone…)? What are the possible scenarios for a refund? Who do you need to help you with that?
Get prepared. There’s little way you can avoid people being unhappy. It’s part of the game.
Prep your team
The longer you wait, the harder it is to clarify your customer service rules to your team. Whatever the size of your business, ensure from day one that:
- Each employee is aware of how you want clients to be looked after and how you want to resolve customer incidents
- Each employee feels good about coming to work. A committed team will exude your values – don’t forget it! If your employees don’t really believe in your mission, customers will see it immediately. It can damage your credibility. Be kind to your employees, take a motivation pulse regularly and keep the feedback loop open at all times.
Being memorable relies on decisive action throughout a business journey. You don’t want your clients to feel like a number, whose only value is in the transaction.
Giving them the attention they crave will make you special to them. And a level of service they never experienced anywhere else will, in turn, make you unique.
How do you deliver 5 star customer service? Leave your best tip in the comments below!