Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eight easy rules your business should follow for positive customer interactions.

Customer interactions (the positive ones at least) are of paramount importance to us here at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier choice for Salesforce consulting and customization. Over the last couple of weeks we've surprised you with some pretty shocking statistics about how negative customer interactions can cost your business big time, and now we're going to clue you in on how to make sure those negatrive experiences never happen.

These are the general rules we've found through our research on customer interactions that every business can follow when dealing with customers:
  1. Be available. When it comes to customer service you don't have to be on-call 24/7/365 but your customers should be able to reach someone at a reasonable hour if they need help. 
  2. Don't make promises you know (or aren't sure) you will be able to keep. It's always better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. And going beyond expectations always leaves a lasting impression.
  3. Pay attention. Don't just let your customers run off their problems then respond by rattling off some prepackaged responses. Hold an actual conversation with them and give off the feeling of caring for what they have to say (even if you don't). 
  4. Then again, don't just pay attention but also act. Listing is well and good but you have to actually act on customer complaints, not throw them aside. Chances are that for every one person who actually gives voice to an issue there are many more who will just choose to take their business elsewhere. 
  5. Live in the now even if it doesn't mean money at the moment. Always be willing and ready to offer help to a customer even if it's a small favor with no expectation of return. It might seem like that favor is you doing something for nothing, you're potentially winning their favor which can lead to much greater returns in future. 
  6. Train your support staff so they can represent your business well. If you have employees chance are they're the face of your business. And while you yourself might be great at dealing with customers, if your customer service reps/cashiers/waiters/etc. don't share the same gusto for positive customer interactions it will eventually destroy the image you've so carefully built. Take the time to teach your staff how to treat customers the right way (or get new staff). 
  7. Put in the extra effort. Nothing is more irritating to a customer with a problem than being told to "check the website" or being told to just go to another part of the store. Going the extra mile to walk customers through issues, check inventory for them, or lead them to a specific product's location will pay dividends when they spread the word to others. 
  8. Surprise them with a little extra something. A simple example would be throwing in a sticker or coupon into the box when shipping an order. Those two things would probably cost your company close to nothing but it can mean free advertising or a more likely follow-up purchase, respectively. Just like in Rule 7, putting forth a little more effort can go very far. 

While industry and type of business can vary the exact lengths to which your business may have to go to please customers we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting and customization company, believe these eight rules provide a good base from which any business can develop its core customer-interaction plan. We'd love to hear the steps you take to make sure your customers come away with the best experiences possible so leave a comment or shoot us an email here. We look forward to hearing from you!