The commercial marketplace is a competitive one currently. Customers are increasingly becoming more discerning; hungry for more information and demanding more for their money places a greater emphasis on Customer Service. Customers have more options and choices than ever before and as a result their expectation of the service levels they receive are also rising whilst the budgets that companies set aside for this type of thing are more than likely dwindling.
A common enough situation I can imagine many business owners can relate to but the question for them is simply:
“What can I do about it?“
Let’s further define the question into two core parts to look at some specifics:
How do you deliver the best possible customer service with limited resources and budgets?
How do you adapt to a changing landscape with regards to communication. Social Media is a popular way for companies to communicate but whilst utilising Facebook, Google+ and Twitter can be an efficient and effective way for staff to communicate it’s still vitally important to not lose focus of what your customer’s basic needs actually are.
1. The Basics.
Social Media is a buzz word for companies looking to interact with their customer base. Recent research by Vodafone however, has indicated that communication by email, phone or in person is still the preferred option for most people. Ensure these core elements are an integral part of any Social Media plan.
Bad things happen. Whilst customers aren’t going to be happy, companies that can resolve problems or errors quickly and efficiently will be able to identify potential weak spots in their sales processes and be better placed to make improvements. Social Media is a great way to get feedback from customers on processes, products and ways to improve your company’s service.
3. Social Media.
Social Media can also help improve a Company’s efficiencies when used as part of the overall Customer Service plan. Giving customers an alternative to calling can help a small business with limited resources who may struggle to handle lots of incoming calls. If this describes your company then consider creating a detailed Social Media infrastructure that allows customers to communicate & if necessary complain, but make sure you resolve these issues promptly and professionally – it won’t only be the customer concerned that notices, anyone else visiting the page will see how you have resolved the problem.
4. Breaking Down Barriers.
In small companies all staff members should be encouraged to or be able to resolve customer’s difficulties. Experiencing great Customer Service should be a smooth, seamless experience whether it’s delivered over the phone, in a shop or via the computer. Encouraging job shadowing will help create a mutual respect amongst staff as they better understand each other’s roles and encouraging managers to get involved is even better still.
5. Small Steps.
Whether adding pages to a website, introducing Social Media or any other future plans it’s important to take things one step at a time. Starting slowly may go against your inner instinct but this way allows you to gather feedback along the way from customer’s and staff alike and to refine the processes or systems as you go along and before you have fully committed to a course of action. Social Media is a great example for this type of thinking, confine responses to business hours which is standard practice for most companies, including the ‘big boys’ and will allow you a better work / play balance.