In today’s ever-connected world, one bad review gone viral is all it can take to bring an entire business down.
This means that having great customer service is now more important than ever. BUT just as the internet can tank a business, its collective influence can also help your company flourish…if you do things right. The world is watching, so here are 5 ways to make sure that they like what they see.
1. Teach more than just how to do the job…
Better customer service starts with better training. Beyond the basic skills needed to do the job come the skills that actually make people want to write rave reviews – things like patience, problem solving, consistent communication, the ability to think on their feet, read people’s cues, and, most of all, empathy, are assets that will always make for better customer service. It might seem odd to teach things that seem innate, but everyone benefits from exercising their emotional intelligence skills.
2. …however, still make sure your employees are experts.
While many of your clientele may have a decent amount of knowledge about your industry, plenty won’t, and they likely won’t come back if they’re being “helped” by someone just as clueless as they are. Your employees don’t need to know every bit of minutia, but they should receive hands-on training and instruction that immerses them in your services and products. This may mean investing in supplemental training resources, but it’s an incredibly important way to instill complete confidence in your customers.
3. Lead by example.
In fact, employees in the millennial generation (which are now the majority in the workforce) have been found to consistently place more significance on business culture and company values than on anything else, even pay. A potential hire, or current employee for that matter, should immediately see and feel what sets you apart and why they should work for you vs. a competitor.
4. Get feedback…
All honest feedback is good for your business in the long run, even if some of it is negative, but it’s often hard to come by. People tend to ONLY write reviews when they’re thrilled or upset, so you’ll need to actively request and incentivize feedback to get a broader picture. Create an internal survey, run a contest on your social media that rewards your customers for their input, and follow your online reviews closely. Paying attention to ratings won’t be a perfect science, but once you get enough data, you’ll notice common complaints and compliments that let you know the direction in which to steer your company.
5. …and actually do something with the feedback.
Plenty of businesses make a point of gathering input, and will gladly display positive reviews like trophies, but many don’t take the next, most important step of actually making the most of that information. Reinforce what you’re doing well and look at your weak points by readjusting how you approach #1-3 on this list. Customer needs are always evolving and so your training and service techniques should, too.
When you do get negative feedback, give quick responses with personal replies and messages that exemplify how you want your company to be seen. And on the flip side, take advantage of positive mentions by building up your social media and online presence to create a loyal community around your business. Nothing will help that one-star review get buried faster than having your own online army of satisfied customers at your defense.