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Providing Exceptional Customer Service

There are so many facets to your business to maintain and nurture on a daily basis that it is sometimes overwhelming to figure out where improvements should be made. One area that can always be improved upon is customer service – the life and heart of your business.

Standing out in today’s competitive marketplace means putting exceptional customer service at the top of your list of “things to do.” No matter how great your product is or how talented and experienced your staff is, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company. Whether that interaction is positive or negative is all up to you and your front line employees. Here are some tips to delivering exceptional customer service to each and everyone of your clients and consumers.

1. Training, Training and more Training– While this may seem boring or tedious, the better your employees know their job, the product and the customer, the better they can handle issues that arise. The more an employee knows about the general workings of the office, who does what and common issues that arise, the better they can not only handle customer questions and complaints, but they will almost be able to anticipate them before they happen. In addition, the more breadth and depth of knowledge the employee has about the products/services your company offers, the more likely they will be able to answer questions and concerns without having to pass it off to a more knowledgeable member of your team. There is nothing worse than getting passed off with a statement of, “Sorry I can’t find the answer for you!”

2. Customer Service Skills – Inevitably there will be that customer. You know the one. They are angry, passive aggressive or frustrated. Dealing with this type of personality may seem Herculean, but with a little finesse and practice it can be done – and even have a positive outcome. Acknowledging the issue, using active listening and reflecting back on their feelings is a great strategy to diffuse a volatile situation.For example say,

  • That must have been very frustrating.
  • I would be upset too.
  • So this is what I understand the issue to be, right?
  • Let’s clear this up.

A little attentiveness, clear communication and a whole heap of patience will do wonders.

3. Online Follow Through – With so many avenues for customers to interact with your company, it is a good idea to regularly check social media pages and online reviews for customers who are less than pleased. Follow through with issues online and make sure you post how the problem was resolved. For example, if a customer complains via Facebook explain the resolution in a “reply post” and thank them for bringing it to your attention. This will show not only that you are active online but that you follow up on customers needs in every arena.

Customer Relationship Management

Remember the “good ole days”  when businesses used a Rolodex, paper files and index cards?  It really wasn’t all that long ago that those methods were used to store customer information and organize contacts. Now we have CRMs or Customer Relationship Management.  What is this and what are the more popular CRM systems?

What is CRM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that a company uses to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer’s life cycle. The goal is to improve business relationships with customers.  A CRM system gathers information about the customer from different departments within the company and from across different channels such as social media.  A typical CRM would include information such as: email, company website, phone, live chat, direct mail, social media and any other marketing materials your company uses.  Also included would be the customers buying preference, purchase history and any specific concerns. All this information in one place means it is easier to manage and help customers quickly and professionally during sales visits, phone calls or meetings.

CRM Software

CRM software consolidates customer information and documents into a single CRM database so business users can more easily access and manage it. Some of the most popular CRMs include: Salesforce, InfusionSoft CRM Software, Snapforce CRM Software, and Sage CRM.  Click on each link to see a demo, find prices and ask questions about each type of software.  Choose depending upon the size of your company, marketing and sales needs and interaction types common in your company. To view the Top Ten CRM Software Packages follow this link to Software Advice online.

CRM Goals –

Customer relationship management is often thought of as a business strategy that allows a company to meet several goals. These include:

  • Understand the customer
  • Retain customers through better customer experience
  • Attract new customers
  • Win new clients and contracts
  • Increase profitably
  • Decrease customer management costs

The biggest benefit most businesses realize when moving to a CRM system comes directly from having all your business data stored and accessed from a single location. Before CRM systems, customer data was spread out through different departments and stored in various computer files.  With CRM, files, contacts and interactions are all stored in the same place thus stopping redundancies and confusion in the workplace.