For many manufacturing businesses, the default approach in providing customer service is to respond to problems as they arise.
While this reactive method may satisfy the customer for that moment, it fails to take a more proactive approach in handling customer service issues. Instead, imagine if you could solve problems before customers had to call you. Or even better, if you could address issues before they even became aware of them.
This proactive approach is not only possible, it can also be profitable. Here are some tips on how to shift from a reactive to a proactive customer service focus.
Be a Good Listener
Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, their tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel. Beware of making assumptions – thinking you intuitively know what the customer wants. Only after fully understanding a customer’s wants and needs should you begin the process of giving them the benefit of your expertise.
Pay Attention to Social Media
You will learn a lot about your business from feedback posted on social media sites. If you’re not paying attention to what customers are saying about you online then you could be missing out on potential new business opportunities. Reaching out to customers who mention your company, whether it’s in a good or bad context, allows you to pre-emptively address their needs and increases customer satisfaction. However, don’t allow yourself to get dragged into a war of words on public forums. This is a no-win situation which will ultimately put your company in a negative light.
Every customer is different. You should be able to handle surprises, sense the customer’s mood and adapt accordingly. As your customers change and grow, so should you. Providing exceptional customer service is a continuous learning process.As your customers change and grow, so should you. Providing exceptional customer service is a continuous learning process. #business
Everyone on Your Team Can Serve as a Customer Service Ambassador
Teamwork is key to providing proactive customer service and everyone can play their part. Allow your employees to use their skills and know-how to interact with your customers. Provide your staff with a quick overview of customer service techniques so they can act as your ambassador when necessary. Your customers will be impressed with the level of service that they receive throughout your organization.
Make Yourself Available
Part of the personal touch is making sure your customers can reach you. If you primarily interact with your customers online or by phone, consider meeting with them in person to build that essential face-to-face connection. Consider making yourself available early in the morning or late in the evening when needed, especially if your customers are in different time zones.
Get Regular Feedback
No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. To make sure you learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly experience your customers have, create an easily accessible way for customers to give feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you could improve your service. There are several ways in which you can find out what customers think and feel about your services including phone and e-mail surveys, or by creating a feedback form on your website. This can also help in keeping unhappy customers from voicing their displeasure on highly visible places like your social media pages.
Make Customers Feel Important and Appreciated
Always treat your customers as individuals. When speaking with them, use their name and find ways to compliment them. Be sincere – they’ll value sincerity. Think about ways of generating good feelings about doing business with you. Customers are very sensitive and know whether or not you really care about them. Thank them every time you get a chance.
In conclusion, developing a proactive customer service approach does more than just keep your customers happy. It can also turn them into advocates for your brand. It can become a tool that drives new business. By investing a little extra time in fashioning a proactive customer service strategy, you can establish a valuable tool that can result in producing considerable dividends down the line.