Technically, both product and service based businesses sell a “product” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re really doing much selling. Competition has never been higher and consumer trends have been shifting from loyalty-based purchases to value-focused ones. In other words, people are caring less about who you are and more about how much they believe they’re getting back for their dollar. There are a few things that businesses can do to increase perceived value but the easiest and probably most effective solution is providing a prominent customer service experience.
In blatant terms, customer service is the support or advice given by a business to those who want to buy or use its products or services. Even though some businesses have yet to fully grasp and adopt the concept, many businesses today have already pioneered and engineered tools that are concentrated on providing the ultimate customer service experience. A study by Peppers & Rogers Group shows that 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition.
Here are three basic means to achieving good customer service:
- Being Available -
The most obvious and crucial requirement to effectively service customers is being available whenever & wherever they may be. In other words, being easily accessible and reachable is a must. An ideal place to start would be social media. Answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%. Having either a Twitter account, a Facebook page or even an Instagram profile not only makes a business painlessly reachable but can also serve as a marketing tool to reach out to new customers.
- Being Conversational -
Communicating with customers is probably the most important aspect in customer service. A business needs to be willing to go above and beyond in making sure any and all of its consumers’ questions and concerns are being answered as clearly and as quickly as possible. Not only is chat a great channel that a business can utilize to effectively communicate with customers, but it is revolutionizing the customer experience, offering in-the-moment attention and solutions.
- Being Flexible -
Consumers tend to avoid vendors for over 2 years after having a negative experience. Nothing makes a customer cringe more than the phrase “Sorry but it ’s company policy”. It is paramount that a customer is happier after speaking with a customer service agent than they were before. Accordingly, businesses need to make sure that their policies put customer needs and satisfactions ahead of their own and potentially show willingness to bend the rules to insure customer satisfaction.
Whether you are selling on Instagram or run a local shop, good customer service is an easy way to gain a competitive edge and is key to ensuring a fit level of customer retention. Even though most customer service tools do require some sort of monetary investment, basic and free solutions that could drastically increase a business' value proposition do exist. Always keep in mind that a product can be replaced but an experience is never forgotten.