What Customer Service?

Have you ever encountered a company that had subpar customer service (you probably have)? Was the negative impact limited to yourself, or did you feel compelled to share your negative experience with others? Chances are, you shared your negative experience. It is also quite possible you are now avoiding that company as much as possible and trying to help others avoid it as well.

As a startup how do you ensure you provide great customer experience? You have to build your venture with an importance on customer service from the beginning.

Customer Service Considerations:

  • Enable Feedback - You must have ways to connect with customers and clients. These means should be obvious and easy for the customers and clients to use. Specifically regarding phone lines, be sure to give an obvious option to connect with a live person as quickly as possible (no one likes feeling stuck in automated loop limbo).
  • Gather Feedback - You should always be collecting feedback. This could be in person conversations with customers, feedback web forms, live chat, phone calls or emails. When gathering feedback you should ask for specific details so the feedback is actionable.
  • Enhance Feedback - Make the interaction pleasant and personable. Throw out closure rates, boilerplate scripts and letters. Let the individual know what is in and out of your control by giving clear answers. Be transparent about next steps that will be taken. Have a process in place to ensure that the feedback makes its way to groups or individuals that can track and prioritize incoming issues.
  • Reward Feedback - You would not be in business without your customers and/or clients, reward their feedback. Send out a personalized thank you to people whose feedback has been implemented.
  • Respect Feedback - Put yourself in your customers' and clients' place. How would you want customer service to treat you if you were the one calling? Make everyone in the company part of the customer service process. This can be accomplished by having employees answering phones, emails and feedback forms on a rotating basis. You may want each employee to have a set number of days per year to help with customer service. You may have each new hire go through an extensive customer service training before performing their normal job duties. Find out what works best for your venture.

Customer service is an important differentiator in market. Great customer service will retain existing customers as well as help grow the business organically through word of mouth. Remember we all want to feel like people are listening to us, not just saying they hear us.