According to research, you can either adopt the latest best practices for customer service, or watch as your brand image erodes in front of your eyes.
In most small businesses, customer service is a company-wide endeavor rather than a function of one department. That means every employee, regardless of his or her role, should understand the importance of loyal customers.
It’s now understood that the key ingredient in excellent customer service lies in recognizing that emotional ties build strong relationships. A major innovation in customer service training is the introduction of a general approach to customer relations rather than a tightly scripted procedure. Employees require some freedom in handling customer relations, because every customer is different; by empowering employees to adapt to various situations, you’re giving them room to build bonds with customers.
The desired outcome is a satisfied customer, not one who is forced into a one-size-fits-all box. For example, upselling is desirable, but not always appropriate. The focus is on servicing the customer; the selling part should fit easily into this context.
Imaginative businesses reward workers for customer satisfaction. However, don’t penalize an employee for upholding company policy in the face of a potentially unhappy customer. Sometimes, a dignified defense of the company’s brand by refusing a customer’s demands is the right response.
Smooth customer service is a combination of common sense, flexible communication structures, and support of the company brand. Friendly employees who master this approach will reward your customers, who will then reward you with their loyalty.