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How to Go the Extra Mile with Customer Service

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Improving customer service for today’s audiences means upping your customer experience game, too. Here’s how to do it.

Key takeaways

  • Customer experience takes things further than standard customer service
  • Four tips for going the extra mile:
    1. Be quick and easy
    2. Personalize
    3. Engage
    4. Support proactive customers
  • Get better marketing content with ContentBacon

Providing outrageous customer service is one of our core values here at ContentBacon, alongside always acting with integrity and maintaining a bullshit-free zone.

We’re not alone. Some form of a customer-centric focus is a core value of many businesses out there, as it should be. The product or service you provide isn’t all you have to offer a customer. Their memory and opinion of your business starts taking shape from the moment they lay eyes on you and (hopefully) continues long into the future. 

Focus on developing long-term, committed relationships that provide value to the customer and money to your business. Data from Microsoft shows that 90% of consumers say that customer service is an important factor when choosing a brand to be loyal to. And 73% of people factor in the customer experience when making a purchasing decision. 

One thing’s clear: it pays off to go the extra mile for your customers.

Ok, so all of this is easy to showcase on your About page. But how can you actually live and breathe better customer service?

Customer service versus customer experience

Today’s consumers often use the term customer experience instead of the more traditional customer service. This new term encompasses the entire relationship between a business and a customer, not just one-off interactions.

Imagine this: you walk into a coffee shop. The barista is nice enough, and they make you a great latte—all in all, a great interaction. But, if that barista remembers your name, gives you a free drink on your birthday, and gives you a discount for a referral, that’s more like a great customer experience. It’s the whole process instead of just the basic delivery of services.

The customer experience is meant to leave a lasting impression. When you think of getting a coffee, that shop will be the first one you think of. It’s the one you recommend to friends and family and leave reviews for. Nailing this experience for customers is important to build a loyal customer base and boost customer retention.

As a business, it takes time and reflection to get to that place. Many companies think they’re delivering great service when, in actuality, there’s a gap between intention and what customers are experiencing. This is why customer experience has become so important – it allows businesses to put much more time and energy into thinking about what their customers want aside from just standard transactions.

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do your customers feel valued? 
  • Do they engage with your business emotionally as well as financially? 
  • Would they recommend your business to others? 

Reflecting on these issues will start to get the wheels turning.

Get down to customer service basics

Great customer experiences are based on three common pillars: speed, personalization, engagement, and pro-activity. The tricky part is combining these ideas into a seamless experience across all platforms and staff so that everyone is focused on customer retention and satisfaction.

1. Be quick and easy

No matter how a customer tries to reach you, they expect a fast response. If they call or email you, you should be getting back to them within a couple of hours, or at least the same day. It’s better if you can answer the call in real-time. If they reach out on social media or live chat, that time frame shrinks to seconds and minutes. But unfortunately, 62% of companies ignore customer service emails.

For in-person service, customers should always be helped promptly. Imagine that feeling of walking into a store and saying, “Hello?” into empty nothingness, wondering if they left the door unlocked by mistake because no one is around. You want to avoid that confusion at all costs.

But remember, getting back to customers quickly isn’t just about getting them in and out as fast as possible. It also means you’re listening and ready to help them instantly. If improving response time means hiring additional staff to help, it’s worth considering.

2. Personalize

Emotionally engaged customers are more likely to recommend and purchase from a business again, so it’s well worth the time and effort to connect with them. And not just on a brand-to-customer level, but on a personal, human level.

How do you do that, exactly? Think about the purchase at hand. What do your customers want? What would excite them? Think of incentives like waving shipping costs for special occasions or sending a gift to repeat customers. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive to show your customers that you appreciate them.

Simply getting to know your customers will go a long way. Remember their names and engage in conversation. Listen carefully to them so you can continue that conversation next time about how their daughter is doing in school. Offer your people promotions on their birthdays, so they have an excuse to treat themselves. Think about what you can do to warm their hearts and go out of your way to make their day a little bit better.

3. Engage

Think of ways to engage your customers at every stage of the process by encouraging feedback. Surveys are a great way to create a permanent feedback loop and help move your flywheel along. Include a survey link with every receipt, after every live chat conversation, and in a quarterly email newsletter. You probably won’t hear back from every customer, but it will give you a glimpse into how you’re doing.

Now, keep in mind that reading feedback is one thing; it’s entirely another thing to put into practice. As much as you may not want to hear a negative review or constructive criticism, you have to remember that perception is reality. If your customers tell you something is wrong, you need to listen and correct it so it doesn’t become a bigger issue. Take care to listen to positive feedback, too, and find ways to keep improving what you’re doing, even if it’s already working pretty well.

4. Support proactive customers

Self-service is a secret opportunity to provide an outstanding customer experience. By implementing feedback loops like we discussed earlier, you already know what some of your customers’ biggest pain points are, which means you have the chance to address them.

Many customers try to solve a problem themselves before contacting you. In fact, self-service opportunities are becoming more important to today’s consumers. Data has shown that 88% of customers in the U.S. expect brands to have a self-service support portal.

Create educational blogs and case studies to build a resource library and work on your SEO rankings at the same time. Offer training and webinars about your services to answer some of their questions upfront. Have a help center to address FAQs and give customers a chance to talk it out amongst themselves in a forum setting.

Being supportive doesn’t mean you always have to be available for direct communication. If you can anticipate some of your customers’ needs, it shows them you are proactive and prioritize convenience, which are attractive qualities in a long-term partner.

Go the extra mile with content

When you can focus more on the customer experience rather than just customer service, you’ll start to show your customers how much you care. Incorporate these four tips to get started. You’ll soon build a solid following of brand promoters who will support your brand for a long time and keep your flywheel moving.

Start sending out better content to engage with your audiences more effectively. Get started with a new content marketing plan by contacting the ContentBacon team.

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