Without customers who make purchases, refer friends, and keep coming back for more, it’s very hard to grow a business. Making your customers feel important is a vital component of this cycle.
Businesses typically rise to the top when they offer the types of products and services that people want. But warning: This doesn’t mean you can take customers for granted just because you have something they crave.
The idea of customer support is more than a necessity for post-sale activities. It’s a mistake to view your customer support team as a cost center. When you make your customers feel important, your customer service team becomes a growth center that drives your revenue up continually.
The bottom line is you have to bolster your customer service efforts to deliver the experience your customers expect, and this, in itself, promotes brand loyalty.
The Importance of Making Customers Feel Valued
As a business owner, lots of people in your world are important—vendors, employees, partners, associates.
Before people become your customers, consider that they’re people first. Everyone likes to feel they have value and they have something to contribute. People are inherently drawn to others that leave them feeling like they’re valued. That’s a fundamental concept when you consider value as it pertains to your customers.
The very first opportunity you have to make your customers feel valued starts with customer engagement. But, it only begins there. You have many more opportunities to show your customers that you value them from the initial sale to after-care support, customer service, and new sales.
While good customer service will help you build revenue, it’s essential that you don’t overlook the impact of poor customer service. In terms of revenue, good customer service counts for a lot. Forbes reports that companies lost up to $75 billion in 2018 because of poor customer service. That figure is up by $13 billion from 2016.
According to the 2017 American Express Customer Service Barometer, 81% of Americans said that businesses were at least meeting, if not exceeding their expectations for customer service, which is nearly 8 of 10. This percentage compares with only 67% in 2014.
Customer service entails providing excellent service and support to current and future customers.
Customer service covers an array of services including:
- Delivery & status
- Product information and advice
- Account updates
This Aircall study showed that 69% of customers prefer to use the phone when they want to contact you. That said, 91% of those surveyed said they preferred brands that offer multiple customer service options.
Today, customers want and expect more than a basic product or service. They want the whole experience, much like the personalized service you’d expect to get at an elite spa or a 3-star Michelin restaurant.
How to Make a Client Feel Valued
The qualities that you extend to the customer relationship will come back to you. Honesty, trust, and mutual respect are the hallmarks of a solid relationship. These are the qualities that make your customers feel valued and appreciated.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What makes you feel like you’re valued when you’re the customer?
You want to know that the people you’re dealing with at a company are competent and that the employees are working hard on your behalf. You want products and services that make things convenient for you. If you’re like most customers, you want all that and at the same time, be treated like you’re more than a number.
The customer relationship isn’t over at the close of a sale. Consider it a continuation of the relationship.
It’s always hard to measure intangible things like character qualities. Yet, the right approaches to how your treat customers go a long way toward making them feel like you value the relationship.
Set up a call center
When you have a lot of employees and they’re all doing a multitude of jobs, it’s difficult for them to focus on customer service. A well-functioning call center is easy to set up and it gives you the opportunity to delegate a group of individuals solely to customer service.
Your customers are your livelihood so be sure to thank them for their business. Use tangible gifts like freebies, discounts, and special offers to show you value their business. It’s also appropriate to express thanks for their business directly in a thank-you email.
Whenever you’re dealing with someone new, there’s the fear of the unknown. Give your customers a great customer experience from the start and follow that up with even better customer service every time. Customers feel valued when they know they can count on you and a consistent response will yield customer lifetime value.
Listen to them
Don’t make assumptions during customer calls. While you may encounter similar problems or questions, approach every customer interaction as unique. Listen to their comments and concerns and respond accordingly.
Everyone in your company can’t be an expert in every area. This is where specialized call teams and advanced call routing are assets. By automating calls to the right people immediately, you demonstrate competency on a consistent basis.
Provide a human touch. Personalized service helps customers feel like they’re the only person in a crowd, and that has much value.
It’s very frustrating for customers when they’re waiting for a response from your company and they hear nothing. It makes them feel like they’ve gone into the black hole. By keeping customers updated, they are less likely to get upset when there are problems or delays.
Appeal to the need for convenience
Your customers are busy. Often, they reach out to you via whatever communication channel is most convenient for them. Give them the option of using a variety of communication channels.
These approaches to customer service translate into a positive customer experience that will lead to strong brand loyalty.
Strategies to Help Customers Feel Important
With the right approach, you can easily take some basic principles of courtesy and make them actionable. Here’s how:
- Use their name. People like to hear their name. Even if you have no other information about a customer, you can always get their name. Use it to personalize customer service and build on the information you have about a customer.
- Offer some type of membership program. People like being part of an elite group. When you invite them to register for a special customer program that qualifies them for special discounts, early-bird offers, and member-only coupons, they feel valued enough to buy again.
- Ask customers for advice. Keep in mind that they’re using your products and services and they may have strong opinions about what you may be able to improve upon or what new products they’d like to have.
- Acknowledge them. A phone that continually rings is a good thing. However, don’t keep customers waiting too long. Use call queueing, queue call back, automated responses, and personal responses to let customers know you haven’t forgotten about them.
- Apologize for their trouble. Don’t try to prove you’re right or make excuses. Acknowledge problems and mistakes. Apologize for them. Tell customers what they can expect moving forward, and when it’s appropriate, offer some type of compensation. Most of all, be empathetic.
- Surprise customers with an unexpected reward. An extra reward doesn’t have to be much. It just needs to be something that not everyone gets. A hand-written note or a gift card often goes a long way to preserving customer loyalty.
It is essential to training your call center agents in the area of customer relationships and customer experience. You also need to provide them the proper communication tools that will help them achieve the goals you set for them.
How to Ensure Strong Customer Engagement & Support
It’s often fairly easy to impress customers during the first contact, but how do you make customers feel important every time they contact you?
As with any job that you do, it always helps to have the right tools for the job. Call centers that ensure strong customer engagement and support implement when they use the advantages of a cloud-based phone system and call center software. The right software solutions allow you to take the steps that evoke positive emotions in customers, engage them, and ensure they feel supported.
Here’s how the right software solutions can take your call center from good to great.
Cloud-Based Phone Features
- Live feed – Gives call center supervisors full visibility of what’s going on in the call center, even when using remote or distributed teams. Insights provide the details to help scale the right number of call agents.
- Call whispering – Allows an individual to listen in on calls and whisper a few words of advice without the caller hearing them.
- Call routing – Automatically route calls to the right person or department for first-call resolution.
- Call queue and queue call back – Ensures customers get called back in order and in a reasonable timeframe.
- Automated surveys – Send a brief survey out to customers immediately after contact for instant feedback with little effort.
- Helpdesk – Automate and route tickets according to status for faster resolution.
- CRM – Use a cloud-based phone system, software solutions, and your CRM together so all call agents have access to the most current, real-time information.
- Analytics – Track key performance indicators for individuals and teams, so you can identify weak points, coach call agents, and make overall improvements in customer service.
- Productivity – Get desktop notifications, tag calls, and use click-to-dial to address calls quickly and personally.
Developing Strong Customer Support
Call center agents need customer service skills to be able to use the tools they’re given and communicate the quality of your brand. Coaching and training make a big difference in giving your customers the feeling like they’ve had a positive experience.
These are the top qualities to train for in support agents.
- Clear communication
- Product knowledge
- Active listening
- Time management skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to think on their feet
- Naturally use positive language
- Willingness to escalate difficult calls
- Being coachable
- Keeps their cool under pressure
It’s always nice to hire call center agents that have call center experience, but it’s sometimes better to train the right people. It’s often easier to train call center agents that have little or no experience because they don’t have bad habits to break that they learned at another company.
10 Best Practices for Making Customers Feel Important
Your brand is a big deal. You’ve worked hard to create it and you’re proud of it, just as you should be. When you’re able to put all these tips together and make your customers feel important, you’ll achieve brand loyalty in short order. Happy customers will gladly spread the word about your products or services. Customer loyalty will surely bring you referrals and that’s easy word-of-mouth marketing with no effort or expense on your part.
Here are 10 best practices to help customers feel more important.
1. Respond to calls right away
- If you have to call customers back, be sure to do so within 24 hours. Set up your workflows so you can handle their concerns on the first call.
2. Use self-service for simple questions and basic information
- An automated knowledge base will relieve your call center of many calls and besides, a lot of customers prefer using them too.
3. Use multiple communication channels
- The majority of people prefer using the phone, especially when a problem is involved. Consider the popularity of mobile, though. Customers like to be able to use text, chat, and email at home and on the go.
4. Pay attention to customer feedback
- Analyze survey responses, monitor your social media accounts, and listen to call recordings to learn what’s really important to them. Keep track of their suggestions in your CRM system and notify them when you’ve implemented one of their suggestions.
5. Keep track of your online presence and keep it updated
- Customers will be looking for you on various online sites. Keep your website, social media platforms, and online business listings updated with your address, website address, phone number, and business hours so customers can find you. Good customer service means paying attention to the details.
6. Apologize when necessary
- Things don’t always go right and sometimes, they’re out of your control. By acknowledging that you let a customer down and offering a simple apology, it goes a long way toward appeasing them. When you handle a problem well, it can actually improve brand loyalty.
7. Remember returning customers
- Call center software lets your call agents in on the customer’s history. When you acknowledge that they’ve called previously, it adds a personal touch and they feel valued.
8. Send them occasional information on news and trends within your industry
- It builds their trust in you as an industry expert and it will improve customer loyalty.
9. Be genuine
- Treat customers like people, not like a transaction. Treat them like you’d like to be treated if you were the customer.
10. Use tools that create a personalized experience
- Aircall and other integrated software (CRMs, Helpdesks, Sales trackers) can keep track of every customer interaction, from pre-sales through onboarding and beyond. When customers seek resolutions, it’s easy to delight them when agents have all the context they need at their fingertips.
Customer service entails providing timely help to meet customers’ needs with every interaction. Remember that strong relationships are at the heart of great customer service. To consider your call center successful in customer service, you have to make customers feel that you value them throughout every step of the sales cycle and beyond. Customers will return to you again and again when you treat them like a VIP every time.
This article originally appeared by our friends at Aircall.