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LS Retail | 27 July 2015

How to step up your customer service now

How to step up your customer service now

A recent study published on Harvard’s Business Review reveals that your customers are your company’s most valuable asset. The researchers analyzed more than 6.000 mergers and acquisitions taking place between 2003 and 2013. The results show that in those 10 years the value of brands has declined, while strong customer relationships have become more valuable for companies. Recently big brands like Whole Foods, the supermarket chain, and spice company McCormick have started using their social media stats to measure the value of their brands. The number of followers, and levels customer engagement, are replacing sales and turnover as metrics for success. Companies are starting to realize that customers are at the heart of their business; increasingly, the quality of a company’s customer relations is becoming indicative of a brand’s worth. Is your company a customer-centric business? If the answer is “no”, follow these 5 steps to up your customer service, retain more clients and make your brand more valuable:

1. Be customer-oriented across your company

Customers have to become your first priority across your company. Make customer service an integral part of every aspect of your business – not just the marketing or sales department.

2. Respond rapidly to inquiries, comments and complaints

A new report from social media analysis firm Socialbakers shows that, in average, companies respond to only around 30% of the questions they receive on Twitter. Although common, leaving messages unanswered is a big mistake: remember that when you do not respond to inquiries or complaints on social media, it is for all your customers to see – not just the unhappy ones. Rapid, personalized responses on social media have now become a service benchmark: you cannot afford to leave your customers waiting – or worse, feeling ignored.

3. Engage with your customers

Let your customers know they are being heard. Embrace customer feedback, both positive and negative, and use it to improve your services and products. A Forbes study showed that the most loyal customers of Coop, a Switzerland-based supermarket, were the people who had made a complaint and had their problems resolved - not those customers who had never had an issue with Coop’s services. Unhappy customers can be a great driving force for your company: they drive process improvement, and if you deal with them professionally, they can become your most loyal advocates.

4. Use social media to take the pulse of your customer base…

Social media sites are not just platforms where you can interact with your customers and promote your brand. As modern consumers tend to publish pictures and comments about their purchases on social media, these sites are also valuable windows into your customers’ tastes and preferences. Amplify your social media presence to learn what consumers really want – and be the first to bring it to them.

5. …But remember to bring valuable content to the table

The social media game is not just about collecting consumer data or advertising your brand. If you want to draw valuable information you need to create real engagement; to do that, you must offer valuable content to your customers. Look at your social media accounts, and ask yourself: what’s in it for my customers? Are you offering them something valuable – whether it is useful content, incentives, exclusive information, or the ability to directly influence your decisions – or are you just promoting your brand? In the second case, it’s time to change strategy – now. Are you running a customer-centric business? If you are not, the time has come to change direction: follow our advice, and bring extra value to your brand.
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