Customer care is not always given the focus it deserves. That’s unfortunate, because the truth is many consumers are willing to pay more, and in some cases they will even accept less than the highest-quality products if the customer care is top-notch.
Make Customer Care a Priority
When customer care is a priority, the customers wins and the business wins. Customers like to feel they are appreciated. And they should be. After all, they make it possible for a business to survive and for it to be successful.
Customers want to know that what they have to say really does matter. And they want to know that their concerns will be taken seriously.
Appreciation and Respect
When you strip away all the new-age terms attached to customer service, what customer care is really about is showing appreciation and respect. It is simply getting back to the old-fashioned and basic principles of things we all learned as kids.
But even though this stuff is basic, some people just seem to get it better than others. There are some stores and even some websites that make customers feel welcome and at ease when visiting. These businesses have tapped into a secret of mankind – that is, people like to be treated with kindness and respect.
Customers at these stores (and websites) know that if they have any questions or concerns, they can get answers. They are confident about shopping with the merchant because they feel a connection with the people there.
FAQ, Chat Lines, and More
Customers like to have information. You can provide that to them in a proactive way with an FAQ page at your website. You can also have online chat lines available and representatives available by phone.
In a brick-and-mortar store, you can have a customer service desk that offers all these functions and more. You can even offer a suggestion box for customers’ ideas and feedback.
Why This Matters to You
As a business owner, there are lots of reasons to be concerned about this issue. For example, it’s not uncommon for a large corporation to do test purchases before making decisions about ongoing investments for the firm. These are the kinds of clients that small business owners dream of. But if the test purchase doesn’t go well, the deal is off.
Even more common is the simple fact that when businesses ignore the importance of customer care and they don’t handle customers’ questions and concerns appropriately, the business’s reputation can suffer. Even a great reputation can be damaged by just a few negative online reviews that are left unchecked.
Monitoring Online Feedback
Sometimes finding customer feedback is the most difficult part of the process. With that in mind, you should make it a habit to routinely do online searches for the name of your business, your product or brand name, and other keywords associated with your business. This will bring up a list of various places around the Internet that mention of your business or product.
With routine monitoring, you can keep up with what is being said, and therefore you can respond to customer reviews and comments. In this way, customers will know you are listening and that they have been heard.
Keep in mind that even if the feedback is negative, you must respond in a professional and positive way. If at all possible, try to find a way to make the customer happy. Remember, other people are reading, too. You may turn this ‘complainer’ into a loyal customer, and others may be so impressed that they want to visit your website and try your products.
The real takeaway from this information is to carefully assess and evaluate how you currently handle customer care. Are the concepts of appreciation and respect discussed with those who have contact with customers? This is especially important when it comes to customer service representatives. Your customers should feel special.
Consider your storefront or website. Does it have a welcoming appearance? It is sometimes helpful to compare your own store to one that you like to visit. This is a good way to get ideas for improvements you can make.
Consider setting up a suggestion box. One way to encourage participation in this is to offer a weekly or monthly prize for the selected idea. In this way, customers know their message is being heard and you get some great comments that can be used to make improvements in your business.
Reputation management is an ongoing part of business management. It cannot be neglected. Be sure to add in a few minutes each week to do searches for pertinent terms related to your business.
This list of steps is certainly not complete. Please feel free to add your own suggestions.
About the Author
Debbie Allen is an online marketer and professional content writer. Besides writing about reputation management and customer service, Debbie also writes about topics related to home issues such as the importance of furnace maintenance and effective window treatments.