Creating great Customer Service for your business.

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024 | Helpful tips for tourism operators

June 1, 2023

Great customer service provides your business with a key element for long-lasting success.

What is great customer service?

It’s essentially about being helpful and providing an exceptional service to your customer who is purchasing your product or service. 

Providing great customer service, meeting and exceeding the needs of your customer is the main focus of any business. If it’s not the main focus of your business then you probably need to look at why it is not and what impact that is having on your sales revenue. 

I can guarantee you if you don’t have great customer service your business will not be successful for long. Customers are happy to spend their money with businesses they know are providing a valuable service or to purchase a product they value. 

Today’s word of mouth is two fold. Customers share their experiences good and bad online in reviews and they tell their family and friends face to face, via text or on social media. Think about who you ask for recommendations when you are looking for a new product or service? You ask your friends, family and your community.  It feels good to share a good experience you have had with a business or product. Especially if you are connected with the business owner or manager. You then say to your friends “tell them I recommended that you contact them” or something similar. 

I will outline the key elements of great customer service in a face to face environment as well as address the considerations you need to make if your business is 100% online too. Customer service is just as important in the online world as it is in the face to face world. 

So great customer service is important to the success of all businesses and the elements that help create great customer service are;

PART 1

  1. Knowing your customer. Understand what they want and need.
  2. Setting up communication structures to ensure you can relate to your customers. 

PART 2

  1. Providing the best information to your customer about your product or service. Don’t leave them wondering.
  2. Professionally delivering your product or service in a way that helps your customer. 
  3. Asking and being open to the feedback you receive from your customers. 
  4. Be willing to solve problems as they arise. 

This is a significant topic so I will break it up into a couple of different blogs as I work through each of these points to highlight what actions you need to take and what procedures you may need to implement in your business. 

1) Knowing your customers

It’s essential to understand what your customers want and need. Here are a few ways to find out that information.

  • Research your target market. Use surveys, interviews and online tools to gain insights into their preferences, pain points and buying habits.
  • Listen actively when you are interacting with customers, whether in person, over the phone, practice active listening. Pay close attention to their questions, concerns and feedback. 
  • Encourage open and honest communication with your customers. Engage in conversations to build rapport and trust. Ask open-ended questions that allow them to express their thoughts and preferences. 
  • Look at purchasing patterns, website interactions and social media engagements. This data can reveal customer preferences, popular products or services as well as areas for improvement.
  • Pay attention to social media platforms where your target audience is active. Observe discussions, comments, and reviews related to your industry, products, or services. This can provide valuable insights into their opinions, desires and pain points.
  • Create surveys to gather direct feedback from your customers. Ask specific questions about their satisfaction levels, preferences, and suggestions for improvement. 
  • Provide various channels for customers to provide feedback, such as email, online forms, or feedback boxes in your business /store.Look at the feedback and identify recurring themes and areas for improvement.
  • Building personal relationships with your customers can help you understand their needs better. Remember their preferences, follow up on their inquiries, and offer personalized recommendations. This level of engagement allows you to gather insights while providing exceptional customer service.
  • Keep yourself informed about the latest trends, developments and innovations in your industry. This knowledge can help you anticipate customer needs and adapt your offerings accordingly.
  • Study your competitors’ strategies and customer interactions. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses to identify opportunities for differentiation and improvement in meeting customer needs.

2) Communicating with your customers

Active communication and active listening are key elements to a good relationship. That is no different with your customers.  When your customers know what to expect and what is happening they are more likely to feel better about the service they are receiving.  

  • Pay attention to your customers’ needs, concerns, questions and feedback. Active listening is giving them your undivided attention, repeating key points to show understanding and asking clarifying questions.
  • Treat your customers as individuals and address them by their names whenever possible. Use customer data and previous interactions to personalise all your communications. This ensures the customer feels relevant and you actually know who they are.
  • Use simple and easy to understand language in your conversations and communications. Avoid jargon or technical terms. Be mindful of your tone and ensure your messages are polite and professional.
  • Respond. Aim to respond to customers in a timely manner. If you can’t provide an immediate solution, acknowledge the issue and set clear expectations on when and how you will follow up.
  • Offer various communication channels so customers have options. Some channels that customers expect are; phone, email, live chat, social media. Be consistent across your chosen channels, ensuring a seamless and unified experience, this will ensure customers feel more confident in who they are dealing with. 
  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, understand what they want and need from you. Show empathy towards their problems or frustrations. Demonstrate understanding and validate their concerns before offering solutions or assistance. “I hear you and I understand what you are saying.”
  • You know your business so anticipate potential issues or questions your customers may have and provide proactive support. Share relevant information, updates, or resources to help them make informed decisions or resolve problems before they arise. Add a Frequently Asked Questions page to your website or product listings.
  • Focus on resolving customer issues efficiently and effectively. Encourage your frontline staff to make decisions and offer appropriate solutions to help de-escalate issues and provide proactive responses. Set a structure when staff only escalate complex issues when necessary and ensure that there is a system to communicate those issues to a higher level. 
  • Feedback is GOLD. Regularly ask for feedback from your customers. Thai can be done with surveys, feedback forms, social media platforms or a simple follow up email. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and take action based on customer suggestions. This is people telling you how you can do better and improve your business. It’s so valuable. 
  • Use the feedback in your business to create a culture of continuous improvement by learning from customers. Encourage your team to share insights and regularly train and update them on customer service skills. Continuous improvement is how you keep ahead of competitors and continue to innovate.

In the next part we will cover the remaining elements. Point 2 above has provided some context to points 5 and 6 already however I will do a deep dove into these for you in PART 2. 

  1. Providing the information your customer is looking for about your product or service. Don’t leave them wondering.
  2. Delivering your product or service in a way that helps your customer. 
  3. Asking and being open to the feedback you receive from your customers. 
  4. Be willing to solve problems as they arise.

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