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The importance of building a better customer relationship

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Can you think of a business that doesn’t have real ‘people’ customers?

There are businesses out there, but most of us get our money from real people, and they need great customer service.

We know what happens when there’s a communication breakdown. It can send even the most loyal of customers into the arms of competitors. It can be said superb customer service is the backbone to most businesses success.

What makes good customer service?

Customer service doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It doesn’t help that we all have a slightly different view of what is good service is and who is deserving of it. Therefore the starting point for a business is to get all their team on the same page.

The fear of losing a customer probably created the mantra: ‘the customer is always right’.

If a customer has an issue or a query, it is the business’s responsibility to resolve any issue in a polite, professional and friendly manner – anything to keep the retain the business.

70% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favour. In fact, 54% of millennials, 50% of generation X and 52% of baby boomers claimed they stopped doing business with companies because of poor customer service.

Customer satisfaction and retention is vital for any business in a competitive market, so how can your staff build better relationships with your customers? Investigate how your staff can build lasting customer relationships and why they are so important for the success of your business:

Social media

Most businesses are aware of the importance of having a digital presence in today’s competitive market – social customer interaction should be towards the top of your digital strategy priorities. Providing customer service through social media campaigns have become a popular line of communication between customers and businesses.

In fact, customer service interactions over Twitter have increased 250% in the last two years, and the first most influencing factor in gaining customer loyalty is the reduction of customer effort.

If you have a line of communication open via social media, which customers can use, this takes away the effort of picking up the phone and waiting on hold for an advisor or walking into a store and speaking to someone. Instead, they can simply send a message across using your social media platform and wait for a reply, all the while being able to get on with other things.

Customers have admitted that phone and voice communication is the most frustrating customer service channel – with over 32% of respondents in a recent survey agreeing. This could be because a quick response is a high priority for customers, and being put on hold and listening to a scripted staff member can be time-consuming, and the message can be lost in the script.

Setting up social communications creates a platform for quick responses. Speedy responses on social equals willingness for customer spend. You’re likely to find bad social media reports if your customers must wait days to hear a response.

Personalised customer service

Do you think it’s important to give a customer your name? Whilst over the phone customer service appears to be the least favoured line of communication, that doesn’t mean the personal aspect of customer service needs to disappear. Face-to-face and social media platforms can offer in-the-moment resolutions with a human touch. For some customers, a personal touch is important for good customer service – knowing your name, as well as having you use their name to address them instead of sir or madam, can make all the difference.

But how do you differentiate between customers who want to be addressed formally or as Mr or Mrs Smith, for instance, or by their first name?

Over the phone, it’s as simple as asking the customer what they would be preferred to be called – with social media, the overall vibe is more relaxed and informal, so it’s generally the norm for companies to address you by your first name, using an informal yet professional tone.

Communicating with customers on a human level, using names rather than titles, is the building blocks of building a relationship. Customers need you to communicate like a human being, not a robot that has been told what to do. Each opportunity you have to interact with the customer can build a better relationship where the customer can begin to trust you.

Trust is vital for both customer and business relationships. If a customer trusts your staff, they are likely to be loyal to your business.

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