Customer service is the backbone of any successful business. It's what sets apart the great companies from the good, and it's what creates loyal customers who keep coming back for more. But what does it take to deliver truly outstanding customer service?
In this article, we asked 13 business leaders to share their thoughts on what it takes to deliver outstanding customer service in an increasingly competitive landscape.
These quotes will give you valuable insights into what it takes to create a customer-centric culture, and how to build a reputation for providing excellent service. From understanding the customer's needs to going above and beyond to exceed their expectations, these business leaders have mastered the art of customer service.
1. Recognition and trust is key
I think that recognizing and trusting employees can lead to high levels of engagement. Employee enthusiasm is a prerequisite for providing a positive experience for customers. Our culture centers on the empowerment and appreciation of our staff as the driving force behind our commitment to providing exceptional customer service.
Alex Contes, Co-Founder & SaaS Expert of ReviewGrower
Learn more: How to Hear Everything Your Customers Are Telling You
2. Customer support is the new marketing
Customers today are more informed and demanding than ever before. They expect more than just a product or service – they want an experience. Providing exceptional customer service is the key to making your customers feel valued and creating a lasting, positive impression. By investing in customer support solutions, businesses can create better experiences and build strong relationships with customers that will last well into the future.
Michal Suski, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer of Surfer
3. Pay attention to the details: Everything speaks
Everything the customer sees, hears, touches, smells and tastes creates an impression. Make sure the details are saying exactly what you want them to say.
Dennis Snow, Customer Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author at Snow Associates
4. Invest in your workforce
The key to providing excellent customer service is to invest generously in your people. Put simply, they’re your most important asset. Train them well, enhance their environment and elevate them to the next level through coaching, mentoring and quality courses. Apply this, and you’ll outperform your competitors every time.
Rachel Williams, Founder & Senior Consultant at The Experience Corporation
Learn more: 8 Forbidden Customer Service Phrases No One in Your Team Should Use
5. Listen with the intent to understand
Most of the time you’ll get emotions and drama clouding the root cause of a problem. It’s only when you take the time and necessary resources to actually listen that you’ll be able to prevent similar situations from happening again.
Erik Wagner, Head of Marketing at Plivo
Learn more: Listen Up, This is What Your Customers Are Trying to Tell You
6. Make them feel good
I’d say that the vast majority of individuals won't retain what you’ve said and won't be able to put together what it was that you did them. However, the way that you made them feel is something that they’ll never forget and you should be proud of that.
Adam Fard, Founder & Head of Design - Adam Fard UX Agency
7. Set realistic customer expectations
In my opinion, the goal is to build reasonable expectations among the customers, which must not only be fulfilled but also go above and beyond what was promised. The customers will be able to express the highest level of satisfaction as a result of this. This can be accomplished, in an ideal world, by utilizing tactics that are both unexpected and practical at the same time.
Lachlan de Crespigny, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Revelo
8. Communication is key
Customers must be heard and not rushed to a solution without first identifying their concerns. Too often, poor listening and lack of understanding creates a negative experience. Being an empathetic communicator is the key.
Kelly Hadous, CEO of Win The Room
9. Take stock of customer feedback
One way to think about customer service is to see it as a way to gather valuable feedback and insights relating to your business. By actively listening to your customers and soliciting their opinions, you can identify areas for improvement, develop new offerings and optimize your business operations. No matter the industry, customer service can be a powerful tool for driving growth and innovation in your business.
Bryan Jones, Founder & CEO of Truckbase
10. Personalization is king
How you treat customers today is the most critical factor in determining whether or not a consumer will select a particular brand over another in a market saturated with interchangeable products and services. With the help of analyzing customer data, our business can better cater to the specific needs and preferences of each customer. This method allows us to treat each individual uniquely rather than trying to find a "one size fits all" solution. By doing so, our company potentially gains more loyal customers, which is one of the most important assets a business can have in the long run.
Jeff Mains, a 5x Entrepreneur, and CEO of Champion Leadership Group LLC
Learn more: Use Real-Time Personalization to Create Dynamic, Relevant Experiences
11. Get to know more about your customer base
I highly recommend business leaders take time to engage with their customers whether in person or through social media outlets so that they can better understand the role that their company is playing in the customer's life. Once you know more about them, you can begin to get an idea of their expectations and standards, and you can make sure your company aligns with those standards every step of the way.
Kyle MacDonald, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio
Learn more: Are You Taking a Customer-Centric Approach to Marketing?
12. Don't make them beg
What I hate the most is if I reach out to customer service and I have to wait days before I can hear back or they just don't respond and I have to run after them. At this point, it doesn't matter how great the quality of your product is, people simply won't come to you if they think you're not going take accountability. On that note, if you feel that customer service representatives won't be able to cope with the load of replying efficiently, you should strongly consider getting AI that will get back to customers with their queries immediately.
Alex Alexakis, Founder and CEO of PixelChefs
13. Build strong relationships with your customers
Customer service is all about that personal touch, which seems to have fallen to the wayside for a lot of businesses. What many industry folks have forgotten lately is that a business deal doesn’t close when the sale does, because the relationship continues to live on. If you fail to maintain that relationship and begin to sour the impression you’ve given, you’ll see a decline in customer satisfaction, retention and lifetime value.
Follow-up phone calls, handwritten thank-you notes and other small but meaningful actions are the way to maintain your brand reputation when it comes to customer service.
Brad Hall, Co-Founder and CEO of SONU Sleep
Learn more: What Can You Learn About Customer Service from These 4 Companies?
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