Every company wants to please their customers, meet and exceed their expectations and leave them happy to return with more business at a later date. Whether this is achieved regularly depends on the quality of their customer service. Clients are likely to favour companies who are friendly, meet their needs and fix any problems that arise quickly and effectively.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to accurately measure something as huge as "our quality of customer service". Do we rely on reviews, percentage of recurring business, or some other metric? If we want to improve our customer service, the first step is knowing what about it needs to be improved.
Measuring Customer Service
An accurate measurement of your customer service rating will help you improve by giving you a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses in this area. The most important thing to remember is to keep talking to your customers. They are the real experts in your customer service levels and will usually be happy to discuss how you can better meet their needs.
1. Listen to what people say about your business.
It's likely you already have a basic idea of where your customer service quality sits. After all, you're more than likely having daily conversations with them already, be it through face-to-face meetings, when they place their orders or online interaction like social media and reviews. Gathering together all of this information can reveal if there are running themes and topics that many clients are talking about.
2. Measure customer satisfaction.
If you regularly measure customer satisfaction, for example through surveys, you can build a picture over time of how happy your customers are feeling with your service. It can also track changes in satisfaction so you know if your improvements are working. Also, take a look at your level of customer retention: are your customers returning time and time again or are they looking elsewhere?
3. Compare yourself to your competitors
Just as your clients are discussing you online through reviews and social media, they are likely to be discussing your competitors too. A look at your competitors' reviews and customer service-related selling points can give you ideas to improve your own offering and stand out from the crowd. For example, if your competitors all offer free delivery on certain orders and customers have responded positively, you might want to think about doing the same.
Upskilling your Staff
There's sometimes a misconception that customer service skills are inbuilt and can't be improved – you're either a "people person" or you're not. This couldn't be further from the truth. All personality types, including those who tend towards introversion, can develop excellent customer service skills – especially if they have the right training. Just like any technical skills, customer service can be learnt and improved upon.
There are many practical ways to do this. One is to make sure people from all areas of the business are well-trained in your products and services. If people feel confident discussing these to your customers, that confidence will radiate out in positive ways and their enthusiasm will likely spread to your customers and prospects.
Once you have a comprehensive picture of the strengths of your customer service offering and the goals you have to reach to improve it, you will know where to focus your attention. Remember that customer service skills are important throughout the business, not only for people in the customer support department (although they are of course vital there). Build a culture where colleagues speak to each other with respect and work to help each other with projects and this will likely have a direct effect on the quality of your customer service.