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How to Get Your Customer Service Right for the Holidays

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Christmas and New Year are the most hectic period for most businesses during this time but if you want to stand out from your competition and be remembered by loyal customers all year round, then put a little more effort into helping out your customers during this “rush-rush” season and see how they reward you over the long haul.

Customer Service is Crucial for Businesses of all Shapes and Sizes

You have put so much effort into producing high-quality products and services and spent a lot of time and money in advertising them to your target audience, now why would you neglect the one thing that will bring those people back to your business time and time again?

Customer service may be difficult to keep up with but its philosophy is simple enough:

Go that extra mile to help out your customer and they will continue to do business with your company.

If you are thinking that the extra investment of time and money to go that “extra mile”, especially during the holiday season, may not be worth it, here are some facts that may help you change your mind:

  • Over $75 billion is lost by companies per year because of poor customer service.
  • Businesses who focus on and deliver a better customer experience (i.e. better customer service) produce revenues of 5-8% above the market.
  • Over 50% of consumers will pay more if they know they will get a higher quality of customer service and overall buying experience by doing business with a particular brand.

But, how exactly will you be able to accomplish it – how can you raise your business’s standard of excellence when it comes to taking care of your customers?

When it comes to customer support, it’s not just about hiring more social and caring individuals anymore, it is also about increasing your business’s technological capabilities as well.

With the advent of gadgets like the Internet of Things (IoT), which can control various items, mostly machine devices around the house, who is the customer supposed to call should something go wrong with one of those items that are being controlled by a singular device?

This is just one of the many challenges which some businesses may face in the future. What if the device your company sold is really not to blame but the central “run-it-all” device is causing the issue? Still, the customer does not really care who exactly is to blame because they are irritated that they can not get a clear answer from the IoT company or your company whose device is being controlled by it.

Confused?

So is the customer!

As technology advances and third-party devices like IoT become more popular and widespread in houses across the globe, businesses should look towards companies who they can outsource such issues too – companies that are well prepared to tackle these questions and keep the customer happy for all businesses involved.

Employees Matter

Although future technology is a serious consideration when providing a good customer experience when it comes to customer service, do not neglect the importance of your customer service team (i.e. your employees who actually deal with your customers).

People still want to talk to people, especially when they are facing difficulties after a purchase.

Good products and services along with great advertising and a good brand story bring customers in but employees keep them coming back for more.

Businesses should look to hire employees who are good at interacting with people. And it doesn’t matter whether or not they are customer support agents or salespeople, they should exhibit certain qualities that make them fit for dealing with customers.

Some other customer service traits which to look for in potential employees who will be dealing with customers on a one-to-one basis include the following:

  • Patience
  • Effective and clear communication
  • Attentiveness
  • Friendly attitude
  • Teachable
  • Compassionate

While starting with the right kind of employee is great, fostering a customer service atmosphere in your business is a must to keep your employees focused on what really matters most – the customer.

The following 3 key points should be taught and reiterated to your staff from time they are hired and reiterated from time-to-time to keep your business’s customer satisfaction levels above par:

1 – Caring (Empathy)

Showing empathy towards the customer involves two basic qualities. First, is the ability to read the customer – how they are feeling and what they might be thinking. Second, is to deliver a suitable response to the customer’s emotional and mental state at any given moment.

Observe your employees from time to time and see if these abilities are present during their interactions with customers. If not, sit down with them and discuss the matter and let them know how important these qualities are towards giving customers a good experience when interacting with your business.

2 – Customer Problems

Perhaps the most difficult part of maintaining high levels of customer service is dealing with customers when they are facing problems both during and after their purchase.

Often times, they can be quite unruly as they feel “cheated” in some way whether or not that be the case. Your employees are going to have to know how to deal with such situations and customers, so training them in this area is a must.

It is not just a matter of apologizing, which is necessary at times, but actually having the willingness to solve the customer’s problems as best as possible. This “willingness” is what should be emphasized to your employees.

If it happens that the problem can not be solved to the customer’s full satisfaction, the employee should go that “extra mile” to find other solutions, be they now or later, which is at the very least satisfactory to both the business and customer.

3 – Relationships

Make it very clear to your employees that customer service is more about building relationships than just guaranteeing present and future sales.

The key to establishing positive relationships with customers is to treat every interaction as important as the ones leading up to the purchase. From the greeting to the close and even during successive follow-ups, the customer should feel that there was never any lack of attention given to them.

Train your employees to be conversational from the get-go and to continue this conversational tone each and every time they deal with the customer. This is truly one of the best ways to offer outstanding customer service, the kind that will put your particular brand head and shoulders above your competitors.

Final Thoughts

While the holidays may be the most hectic time of the year for your business, it is probably also the most profitable time as well. These profits can be maintained throughout the upcoming year if those customers you serve now like the way you treat them.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88.

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