5 Secret Weapons for Providing Better Customer Service
Our partner site, Mint.com, recently shared some advice on secret weapons that consumers can use to get better customer service from the businesses they frequent. But if you’re on the other side of the counter, what tools of the trade do you need to give better customer service to your clients? Here are five weapons to win over any skeptics.
1) A call recorder - If you have employees or contractors dealing with customer service issues, it’s important to regularly monitor their calls to analyze their attitudes toward customers and the appropriateness of their advice. Call monitoring can tell you if you need to work on training your staff, or if a particular customer service representative isn’t working out. However, remember that you must always notify your staff and customers when a call is being recorded.
2) Google search alerts - Setting up daily alerts on Google for your company name and related terms will let you know when people are talking about your business online. They may have negative things to say, in which case you’ll be able to defend or correct your mistake. If the comment is positive, share your appreciation and the customer will be even more likely to return.
3) Surveys - It’s tough to give the best customer service if you don’t know what your customers want or need. Create a survey to assess their opinions, offering a raffle prize or discount as incentive for filling out the form. If you don’t have email details for your customers, ask them to fill out a paper survey in your store, but if you communicate electronically, use a tool like SurveyMonkey to analyze your data.
4) Database software - Use database tools like FileMaker Pro to track your regular customers. Record their past purchases, so if you order something you know they’ll like, you can suggest it immediately next time they're in the store. You can also use the software to take notes on details like their children’s names and their favorite sports teams if they bring them up in conversation. Customers really appreciate this level of attention -- but be aware that privacy laws may apply, especially with online purchasing.
5) A smile - Nothing goes further toward giving a customer a good impression than a genuine smile, so make sure that all your staff members focus on friendliness. Smiles, good manners, and a willingness to go beyond the basics to please your customers will help set you apart from your competitors.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.