Great customer service creates repeat customers and spreads positive word of mouth, two invaluable revenue channels for small businesses. A study by the Harvard Business Review shows that increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by anywhere from 25% to 95%, while a study conducted by Ogilvy, Google, and TNS indicates that 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key consideration.
The numbers are in and they all say the same thing—customer service is as important as ever.
There’s no shortcut to making stellar customer service the focal point of your business. But we’re happy to share a few concrete techniques you can use to improve your customer service experience right out the gate.
1. Start with a Smile
Any receptionist at Ruby can tell you that smiling is important, even over the phone! A smile infuses your voice with warmth that your customer will immediately respond to. Studies have shown that smiling can create a more positive mood from within—improving your own day and spreading the joy. So, start your customer service off with a smile to set your business up for success.
2. Say Their Name
Be personal. Be relatable. Connect with your customer by using their name! You might recognize this tip from the charisma handbook, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and it’s just as applicable in customer service as it is at a dinner party.
Be sure to ask for the customer’s name at the beginning of your interaction. Then, integrate that name into your dialogue with phrases like “Of course, Barbara,” “Is there anything else I can do for you, Andrew?”, and “I’d be happy to help you with that, Susan.” You’ll instantly create a more natural conversational rapport.
Show that you care by empathizing with your customer’s concerns and communicating that empathy verbally. Be sure to use phrases like “I understand that…” to repeat your customer’s concerns in your own words.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey identifies rephrasing as one of the key components of empathetic listening. Rephrasing your customer’s comments demonstrates that you are listening closely and that you’re addressing their unique needs. Practice empathetic listening to turn natural rapport into personal connections. It’s a key element of emotional intelligence.
By paying attention, and showing your customers that you care with a few small tricks, you can make any conversation into a great one!