Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny
Standing out from the crowd is becoming increasingly more difficult. However, the power and the influence of the customer voice is ever stronger. The question is; how can we turn our customers into ambassadors for our business, harnessing that power and making it a business strength?
There is one thing that we can be certain of, and that is the uncertainty of the business landscape. As such, it is critical that we focus on the fundamentals and build agile capabilities for the future. However, in focusing on the applications of this, the new protocols surrounding hybrid working, maintaining innovation in the new ways of operating and building resilience in your culture, for example, it is critical not to get caught up in the functions and forget what is important, your customers.
Without them you have no business. With them as ambassadors, advocates of your business, you will not only create a relationship of trust and loyalty, but also a connection, a loyalty that will strengthen your business. And, in doing so, reinforce your preparations to do business in an ever-changing business world. So, how do businesses turn customers into loyal advocates? From customers who have tried your product or service and loved it into customers who have tried your product or service, loved it, and taken the time to say fabulous things about it?
- WALK IN THEIR SHOES
It is understood that your product or service needs to be something worth shouting about. It
needs to fill a requirement and do so exceptionally, and the only way to do this is to get to know
your customers. In turn, the only way to get to know your customers is to communicate with them. True business partnerships are a two-way street and engaging with them, listening and learning is the key.
In changing times, it is ever more business-critical to be agile. Throughout these uncertain times, we have consistently asked how we can help our customers, offering genuine support. Asking them what they need and then facilitating a solution where possible. It may mean innovations from you, reminding them of a complementary service you also offer or speaking to a trusted partner. Either way, their business is your business, their success is your success.
Those businesses that can fully understand their customers and walk in their shoes are the ones that are setting themselves, and their customers, up for success.
- DELIVER EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE (whatever the weather)
In putting customers at the centre of all that you do, you are making the customer experience part of the DNA of your business, truly integrating it throughout every element. It is about more than simply serving them.
Regular reviews of a customer’s service are necessary, but they mean nothing if you do not take any notice of what they are saying to you. Use them for the good of your business, to evolve and work together.
Do this calmly, professionally and with a smile. You can always learn from feedback, positive or negative. Be open and request their opinions and suggestions, it lets customers know that you do value them, what they think and what they expect of you.
It is also important to think about the best way for you to deliver the information required by your customer. There are so many channels available to us today, choosing the right one to effectively deliver the message is crucial. To analyze this, ask the customer, use your data, and make an informed decision.
In doing just this, we discovered that despite the boom in social media and bots to contact business, the telephone remains the most important communication method for customers to connect with business. But your customers are unique so beyond this insight ask, how does this specific customer like to receive the information? Your customer service offering should include many alternatives, from phone and email to Live Chat and bots.
As for complaints, try and view them as opportunities for improvement. However hard you try; you cannot please everyone all the time. Do not shy away from the situation. Listening and reacting to what you hear can help to build a long-lasting relationship and that is the aim. Think of how you look from a customer’s perspective. If you want to excel, you need to make any customer query your own and walk in their shoes.
- SHOW YOUR HUMAN SIDE
Customer service is all about making customers feel valuable and important and all customers deserve your full attention and a positive attitude. You cannot treat them as a number or a one- off transaction. Care for your customers. Not with an agenda but with an offer of genuine support.
And remember basic manners, show your gratitude. A simple please or thank you is a powerful thing. The little things matter. They add up and make a wonderful thing and exceptional customer service.
We are all human beings and we all value human interaction. Businesses that show they care, innovate, and adapt to changing customer habits with ease will build the relationships that endure. It takes commitment to build this culture but by adding value to customers’ lives and businesses you will turn your loyal customers into brand ambassadors and steadfast supporters.