If you have your own business, you might be feeling threatened from all of the big companies merging and getting bigger, offering better deals. How can the little guys compete? The answer is in the customer experience and customer service. As the big guys get bigger, they also move further away from their consumers.
This is where you can step in, offer a great customer experience and garner loyal customers who appreciate being treated better; they will even pay for it. This article will explore the areas of customer service that need improvement and offer up seven tactics for your business to utilize and give your customers a great customer service experience.
The Consumer Landscape
If you have had anything like the same customer experiences I have had over this past year and especially leading up to the holiday shopping season, then you are probably just as frustrated, if not more frustrated with the way you have been treated as a consumer. Where has customer service gone? I have seen companies that are already failing on the verge of bankruptcy but not doing anything to improve their policies and systems to win customers over one experience at a time.
“Toys R Us is one such company who is in trouble, at risk of bankruptcy. They used to be the place to go for toys, but the big box companies have come in to compete with the convenience of one stop shopping.”
This isn’t meant to bash the toy company, but rather put a spotlight on an area of opportunity where you can learn from them and improve upon your own business.
Toys R Us has missed a big opportunity to be the toy specialty store and make it “fun” as well as convenient for the consumers to shop there. However, they are losing customers because they make it hard for them to shop there and don’t offer simple merchandising opportunities that should be possible with the size of their business. Yet, if you want to buy a toy and it isn’t at the store you are in, you are out of luck, they will not get it from another store and don’t offer an option for an in-store kiosk to order it online and have it shipped. Kohl’s has this in-store kiosk option available in all their stores, and their customer service experience is much different and has them competing with the big box stores and online giants.
In many cases, missed customer service opportunities would have also been areas for points of extra revenue. Analyzing these areas of weakness in your company or your company’s competition can shed light on ways you can improve your business through customer service and the consumer experience.
Winning Customers with Excellent Service
Just about everywhere you go; you can expect to have a bad customer experience. No one seems to care about customer service any more.
On a daily bases, you are likely to hear from your social media network about a bad experience that a friend has had. Why is this happening? In a world with such tough competition, why not attract customers and entice them with good service rather than ignoring them and turning them off (and away)? Here are tips that will help you get a competitive edge on other companies by employing these seven customer service tactics.
- Train for customer service across all departments of your business. Everyone in your company from the management down to the accounting staff, and even janitorial staff should be trained in customer service. Everyone that your customers might encounter has to be trained to put them first, before billing, before stocking the shelves, before everything, service and attention should come first.
- Make sure that everyone in your company understands that customers come first and that they will be rewarded for following that policy above everything else.
- Develop a loyalty program that makes customers feel special.
- Employ CRM tools and other technology to help you keep your relationships with your customers fresh, exciting and customized or personalized.
- Research your competition and make improvements where they are failing.
- Understand your consumer base and be involved in what they want and what they need. Usability testing is a big part of this for online businesses, but for brick and mortar businesses, this can be achieved with surveys, secret shoppers, and just simply by getting to know your consumers and asking them what they want.
- Meet your customers’ technology needs and expectations. Today’s educated and tech savvy consumer wants to be able to have the conveniences available in current technology. This can apply to websites, shipping, CRM tools’ communications, and even your in-store inventory and processing as well as so much more. Part of #6 above, getting to know your customers’ needs will also mean fulfilling their technology needs and expectations.
Summary and Takeaways for Your Company
It isn’t always easy putting customers first. Many consumers have learned to take advantage of big corporation’s ignorance and that makes it hard for the smaller companies to keep up. However, you will see that a winning customer experience will help you win them over, gain their business and their loyalty too.
The key here is focusing on the big picture and finding those pockets of opportunities where you can develop a policy to provide excellent customer service and a much improved consumer experience than today’s average customer is used to. In some cases, the “usual” customer experience is so poor that it doesn’t take much to shine. At Webmoves, we help companies just like yours achieve your goals while delivering great customer service.