Improving customer relationships is the best business strategy of all.
The earlier you realize this, the higher are your chances of taking your business to great heights.
Needless to say, building a strong relationship with your customers is directly tied to providing excellent customer service. But what many business owners fail to realize is that customer service is not just about handling customer complaints, or providing assistance and advice during the purchase process.
More than solving their problems, customer service is about solving them on time.
Put simply, if you want to improve customer relationships, then you need to focus on being more responsive to their complaints and queries.
Customer Responsiveness – What Is It and Why Is It Important?
Customer responsiveness can make or break a business. This is especially true for small businesses because if you take too long to respond to your customers, they will switch to one of your competitors without missing a beat.
According to survey results published in The State of the American Small Business 2019, one in every two small business owners said that they feel pressurized to deliver rapid service. And being stressed about improving response times is quite justified.
This is because another survey reveals that 77% of customers expect businesses to improve customer experience by improving their responsiveness.
The good news is that customer responsiveness does not involve any rocket science.
It is simply about being fast and being right. If you are quick in responding to your customers’ complaints and queries, and fulfill their demand on time, rest assured that you will win them over for a lifetime.
Here are a few tips for improving customer responsiveness that will, in turn, prove useful for improving customer relationships.
1. Find Out What Your Customers Want
The easiest and most effective way to find out how your customers expect you to handle their problems is to ask them directly. Survey your existing customers to identify the mode of communication that they prefer most.
Alternatively, you can use previous data from customer support to analyze how customers usually approach your company when they have any queries, or need help regarding the purchase or use of your goods or services.
Do they drop an email or prefer to call instead?
Would they like to get in touch with you online?
For example, if you run a plumbing service, your customers might like to have an option for booking appointments directly through your website.
You can ask potential customers to highlight their preferences for customer support by filling an online questionnaire.
2. Manage Customer Expectations
Whether it is phone calls, emails, text messages, or queries posted on your social media pages and website; you must strive to be more responsive on each communication channel.
However, you should also help customers identify which platform will best serve them if they have a certain query.
For instance, if they need help regarding general topics like business working hours, payment methods, product delivery, or shipment, and so on, the live chat feature on your website may come in handy. But if they need help in installing or using your product, recommend them to make a call instead.
Make sure to mention the average time you would take to respond to customers if they send you an email. This gives them a fair idea of when to expect a reply.
You can state the approximate turnaround on your Contact Us page.
3. Train Your Customer Support Team
Develop a proper procedure for how your customer support team needs to respond to different queries on different platforms. Make sure that every employee is well aware of the plan and follows it to a T.
This is important for ensuring that your staff members are consistent in what they tell the customers – because if their responses vary from customer to customer, it will not only create confusion but also affect your brand image.
The best way to provide reliable customer support is to create a knowledge base that your employees can refer to when needed. Write down the answers to common questions asked by your customers, as well as ways to solve problems that typically arise in day to day operations.
Tell your customer support agents to use this guide whenever required.
4. Use Technology Effectively
Is your website hard to navigate? Does it take a long time to load? Does your telephone line tend to be down sometimes? Do you skip or forget checking your business emails on some days?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are already doing more harm to your business than you might imagine.
All of these factors can severely affect your customer relationships because they disrupt the way in which they connect with your business.
You need to leverage technology to enable customers to quickly get the information they want.
Using technology effectively to provide better customer support includes, but is not limited to, the following aspects:
- Enhancing your website layout in a way that it is easy to navigate
- Improving your site speed – higher page load times increases your likelihood of losing existing as well as potential customers. Based on survey results, a few seconds delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%, whereas a mere one-second delay in page load reduces page views by 11%.
- Automating telephone lines so that calls from customers who need to be given a high priority are directed to more knowledgeable/ skilled employees
- Simplifying telephone queues so that customers don’t have to waste time listening to numerous options from an automated receiver when all they want is to talk to a human representative.
These are some simple ways to be more responsive to your customers. Make sure to implement them accordingly, as they are crucial to improving customer relationships and, in turn, helping your business to achieve long term success.