This post isn’t exactly related to a specific technology, but the tips can apply to any tech (or other) company looking to improve or gain customer satisfaction.
In my six years with Articulate, one thing we as a company have always done well is provide excellent customer service and support. We hear it consistently. It starts with creating a customer-focused culture and practicing excellent service every day. Relentlessly.
Here are 7 easy ways you can build customer loyalty and keep smiles on your customers’ faces:
- Use common sense. Providing excellent customer service — be it sales-, technical-, or service-oriented — isn’t rocket science. It simply requires some common sense. Remember the Golden Rule? The whole “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” thing? Use it. Treat people the way you like to be treated. You will keep people happy.
- Be responsive. I can’t stress this enough: Respond to your emails and respond to your voicemails. It ties into the common sense thing. If you email or call someone, how do you feel when you don’t get a reply? The most important thing in providing excellent customer service is to respond. And do it as quickly as possible — within a couple of hours during the business day, or no later than first thing the next business day. “I get too much” email shouldn’t be an excuse. Filter out the email you don’t need. Stay on top of your replies. And be responsive. Your customers will thank you for it.
- Make it easy to contact you. In order to be responsive, your customers have to know how to reach you. So don’t hide behind your support site or your knowledge base. Use a contact form and put the link to it everywhere. Make sure your company has a contact form with a phone number. Use your email address and phone number in your email signature. You want to make sure people can actually contact you to buy your product or service, and contact you if they need help with it. Don’t be afraid of your customers.
- Listen. I’ve worked in customer support and service roles long enough to know that the old adage about the customer always being right isn’t really right. And that’s OK. The important thing is that you listen to the customer; let him vent; don’t tell him he’s wrong. Then acknowledge the issue, try to reach an agreement, and do your best to keep the customer happy. He may not be right, but at least you listened to his point of view, which is the important thing. Usually people just want to be heard.
- Adapt. Let customers drive how you interact with them. Though you may not always be able to offer the type of communication channel your customers want, you can still be responsive to their behavior. For example, Articulate does not offer incoming phone support, but we make interacting with our support team as easy as possible. Asking for more help after receiving an email from our support team is as easy as replying to the email. None of this “do not reply to this email” crap. We also don’t make people login to a support portal to contact us. Remove barriers.
- Embrace social media. Speaking of adapting, make sure you’re active on Facebook and Twitter. If that’s where your customers are spending their time online and asking questions about your product or service, make sure you’re there to engage directly with them.
- Honor your word. If you tell someone you’ll follow-up with them by end of day, then do it. There’s nothing worse than having someone tell you they’ll contact you later, then having to track them down again. Stand by your word.
Follow these tips and you’ll soon realize that the secret to successful customer service is really simple: Just do the right thing and your customers will be happy.
It’s beyond me why so many companies — especially large companies with massive call centers — just can’t get it right.[ Subscribe to gabeanderson.com via email or RSS feed. ]