For as long as we’ve had customer-dependent businesses, we’ve contemplated what it means to provide “good customer service.” This is well-trod territory, so frequently discussed that many professionals have let the idea slip to the bottom of their priority list. To many of us, customer service is a given – a basic necessity for running a sales-driven business. Too often, this means that we rely on “checking the box” and getting by with the minimum required to maintain sales. My recommendation? Take a step back and think about how you can freshen your approach, specifically by considering these three tips.
1. Answer Questions Before They’re Asked
With the rise of digital communication, social media and lightning-fast search capabilities, today’s customer is accustomed to having instantaneous access to information as well as answers to any conceivable question. This means that a business must now think one step ahead of its customers when it comes to providing information about products and services, preferably by making the answers to all commonly asked questions readily and easily available on websites and social media accounts. If a customer has to hunt for information or, worse yet — has to make a call to the business to have a question answered — their reputation will undoubtedly be damaged and a sale could be lost.
Instead of creating work for customers, Pink Lily likes to go above and beyond, proactively sharing details that may or may not be requested. On our website, we share specifics on everything from the sizes the models wear to our shipping practices. All of this transparency is built around getting ahead of our customers’ questions before they’re asked, preempting any frustration, confusion or potential headaches. As a result, we win customer loyalty and cultivate even stronger relationships with our audience.
2. Emphasize Your Post-Sale Service
For most customer-centric businesses, good customer service means engaging with customers in a friendly and helpful way in order to lead them to make a purchase. Heavy investment is made in the process of engaging potential customers, building relationships with them, answering their questions and guiding them through the sale. What receives far less emphasis is what comes after the sale.
At Pink Lily, we believe that the real work of customer service begins once the purchase is made. It’s our job to use that sale as a jumping off point to build a meaningful two-way dialogue with our customer. We reach out following the sale to find out how the customer feels about his or her purchase. We ask about fit, satisfaction, quality. We even encourage our customers to post photos of themselves wearing their purchases to help other potential customers better understand the product. We engage customers via social media following the sale, and we continuously stay connected with them. This relationship-building work is incredibly important to generating and maintaining repeat customers, which are the essence of a thriving business.
3. Invest In Repeat Business
It’s a well-known reality that it’s much cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to create a new one. Investing in your existing and repeat clientele saves a bundle on the advertising and sales process for first-time buyers. But the payoff of repeat business goes much further than that. If you utilize strategies like post-sale customer service (as outlined in my last point) to curate rich and longstanding relationships with your customers, they will do more than come back to your brand for future purchases. They’ll also work as free brand ambassadors and salespeople for your organization, broadcasting their appreciation for you on their social media accounts and recommending your products to their networks of friends, families and colleagues.
We know that repeat customers lead to referrals and social media spikes because that’s exactly what’s happened for Pink Lily over the last few years. Our investment in ongoing and long-time customers has paid dividends over time and we don’t expect that trend to end anytime soon.
With a little time, attention and a small investment of resources — your organization can step up its customer service game and cultivate longer-term relationships with repeat customers. The results won’t disappoint.