Belinda Thorpe, Managing Director of Residentsline describes how to grow your business by providing amazing customer service.

Residentsline offer an array of market-leading products and are lucky enough to have access to special rates from many A-rated insurance companies but, without the excellent customer service provided by our team, this would mean nothing.

If your customer service is unhelpful, unreliable, or if you are just plain hard to get in touch with, folks will hear about it and you’ll lose customers. Investing in outstanding customer service is definitely key to long-term business success.

So, how can you ensure that every customer has a great experience with your company when they reach out for help?

Well, great customer service means following best practices; valuing your customers’ time, maintaining a pleasant attitude and providing knowledgeable and resourceful responses. But you need take things a step further to exceed (rather than just meet) expectations.

We’ve identified several ways to make your customer service stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons:

  1. Know Your Products

Extensive knowledge of your product is vital in providing great customer service. Ideally, you should believe in your product, be able to discuss features and use example cases in an insightful way while showing your customers how the product can benefit them- not to mention being able to troubleshoot anything that’s not working as it should.

Your job is to help your customers get the most out of their purchase and provide true value for money. Make it your goal to learn everything there is to know about your product so you can amaze your customers with timely recommendations for using new features and services.

  1. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Attitude is everything. A positive attitude goes a long way in providing excellent customer service, especially when handling complaints or issues.

Your attitude should be reflected in your language and tone of voice which are easy to misinterpret through written communication- email communication can also come across as cold.

The brain uses multiple signals to interpret someone else’s emotional tone, including body language and facial expression, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if an email exchange is getting tense.

  1. Creatively Problem-Solve

There will always be problems to solve no matter what product or service you sell and thinking on your feet to resolve issues should be a huge part of a customer service rep’s skill set.

Don’t be afraid to wow your customers as you seek to problem-solve for them. You could just fix the issue and be on your way, but by creatively meeting their needs in ways that go above and beyond, you’ll create customers that are loyal to your brand and your product.

  1. Respond Quickly

66% of people believe that valuing their time is the most important thing in any online customer experience. Resolving customer queries as quickly as possible is a cornerstone of good customer service. Speed should be of the essence- especially for smaller issues that don’t take much time to solve.

That being said, great customer service beats speed every time. Customers understand that more complex queries take time to resolve. There’s a difference between the time it takes you to respond and the speed at which you resolve their problems.

Get back to your customers as quickly as possible, but don’t be in a rush to get them off the phone or close the ticket without resolving the issue completely.

  1. Personalise Your Service

40% of customers say they want better, more human service. That means they want to feel like more than just a ticket number. They get angry when they’re not being treated like a person; receiving standard responses or being passed around to different people.

Customers want to interact with a person, not a company.

Do you know not only your customers’ names and account numbers, but also a bit about their interests or hobbies? Can you make them laugh? It’s obviously not possible to do this for everyone, but going off script and giving the personal touch when you can is an important way to show your customers you know them and you care.

  1. Help Customers to Help Themselves

That said, customers don’t always want to talk to someone- often, they want to quickly resolve their issue themselves.

Among consumers, 81% attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. Further research shows that 71% want the ability to solve most customer service issues on their own.

It’s a great idea to consider regular questions that are raised by your customers and pop the answers to these on your website as an FAQs section. This can save your customer service team time in repeating the answers to common queries while also empowering your customers to find the answers themselves if they’d like to.

  1. Make Your Website or App More Helpful

It’s great to include relevant ‘help’ content, offer live chat, and give customers instant access to their history- all without leaving your site.

  1. Focus Support on the Customer

 Your customers are the most important element of your business- they come before products or profit. Treat them like they are the centre of your world, because quite frankly, they are.

  1. Actively Listen

Paying attention to customer feedback includes looking back over the data, as well as listening in real-time.

Show your customers you hear them when they take the time to speak to you. Listening increases the chances that you’ll hear the real crux of your customers’ problems and can solve them effectively.

Listen to what they have to say without pushing your own agenda. Don’t assume that you know what your customer is going to say and avoid interrupting at all costs.

Active listening also means you are mindful of your customer’s unique personality and current emotional state so you can tailor your response to fit the situation. Customer service is not one-size-fits-all.

  1. Keep Your Word

If you promise something, make sure you deliver on it. This is just common-sense when it comes to customer service. Don’t let your customers down. Keeping your word is about respect and trust.

If you do ever break your word, like saying you’ll get back to a customer within 24 hours and not doing so, offer something to make up for it. If your customer’s delivery goes awry, offer to replace it and refund their money for their trouble. You might lose some money in the short term, but you’ll gain a loyal customer.

Interestingly, customers do not feel extra grateful when you deliver more than you promised. They do, however, feel angry if you break a promise. It’s still better to under-promise and over-deliver so you can make sure you never break this important social contract.

  1. Be Proactively Helpful

Going the extra mile is one of the most important things you can do to deliver great customer service. This is when you have ticked all the standard boxes, yet you still want to do more.

When customers feel like you value them, like they’re truly special to you, they’ll keep coming back. This may be linked with the phenomenon of reciprocity in social psychology: if you do something nice for your customers, they will want to do something in return, like buy your products!

All of the elements above combine to produce great customer service and it’s great customer service that keeps your customers loyal to you and your business.

Residentsline provides weekly training and support for each member of its team to ensure that they know their product and can articulate the benefits to their customers. We pride ourselves on continued 5-star ratings, we’re happy to see our efforts are appreciated.

Head to the Residentsline website for information on all of our products and services or, if you’d prefer to speak to a member of our fantastic, specialist team, give us a call on 0800 281 235.