Best-kept secrets for improving client relationships and driving sales.
If you look at national brands like Zappos, Harley-Davidson, and Disney, you may notice something they all have in common: they’re utterly obsessed with their customers. From personalized experiences to loyalty perks, shoppers or guests get the royal treatment. And what company doesn’t recognize the value in that? With costs between five and 25 times higher to acquire a new customer than to retain your existing ones, businesses need their customers. Over the last 12+ years, we’ve identified several successful customer service strategies that have resonated with the clients we are so grateful for, and we’re sharing them – and other expert trade secrets – with you.
Here are some of the tools you can use to help improve your customer service skills:
- Reach out
- Show your support
- Help them buy
- Spread kindness
- Be available and ready to help
- Make it easy
- Walk a mile in their shoes
Continue reading to learn more about each of these customer service strategies – and let us know how they work for you.
1. Reach Out
Developing personal relationships with your customers is key to establishing trust and boosting brand loyalty. Regardless of your company size, there’s always room to make customers feel heard and understood. On a regular basis, and when it has nothing to do with closing a deal, make a point to reach out to your customers via phone, email, or in-person to discuss business – or not. You may want to invite them to a networking event or accompany you doing something you love. For example, we’re avid hikers and have invited fellow business leaders to hit the trails with us – in the Madison area and beyond. It’s an invigorating way to share our passions while building personal and meaningful relationships.
2. Show your support
When you have a need for a product or service your customer provides, look there first. Supporting one another in this way is especially important for local companies dedicated to growing their business so they can provide for their families. When possible, we buy goods and engage service providers from our local customers and other hard-working Dane County-based suppliers.
3. Help them buy
Savvy businesses are keen to the hard-selling practices of the past. They don’t want to be strong-armed into buying goods and services they’re not sure they need. Instead, we use a softer approach in that we don’t sell anything – we help our customers buy. We are steadfast in this belief and we weave it into our company culture and use it as a foundation for our business.
4. Spread kindness
Another tip to improve your customer service skills is to kick up the kindness – and random acts go a long way. Being kind is a virtue that never goes out of style. Imagine how your customers would feel if you sent an unexpected thank you note, delivered flowers when they’re ill, or donated to a cause they support? Drawing on your innate goodness and regard for others, your kindness can pay dividends for your business and your well-being. We like to brighten our customers’ day with a sweet chocolate treat in every office supply delivery. And rather than simply dropping off an order at a customer’s front door, we unpack it and place its contents where they belong. Your gesture doesn’t have to expensive – the key is to simply be genuine.
5. Be available and ready to help
If you’ve ever had a frustrating experience calling a customer service hotline only to be ignored, shuffled around, or left on hold, you know how assuring it can feel to have a live person available to help. On a harried day when supplies run out or an office emergency arises, our customers know they can call our office and someone on our team will be available for immediate assistance. No hassle, no stress.
6. Make it easy
Your customers lead busy lives, just like ours do. From kids’ doctor appointments and extra-curricular activities to other family and work demands, they’re pulled in many different directions. Sharpen your customer service skills by thinking about ways to save them time and money. Through our easy online ordering process, quick credit on returns, and convenient office supply recycling pick-ups, we want our customers to feel like it’s a breeze to work with us.
7. Walk a mile in their shoes
Another one of our tried-and-true customer service skills is to walk a mile in their shoes. Take the time to understand where they are coming from. What are their daily experiences like? What is important to them? Learning more about your customers can help you cater your approach to their needs, which can lead to a stronger business relationship. For us, we know that our customers have a job to do – and buying office supplies isn’t at its core. We work to provide products and solutions that will help them get what they need so they can get on with their day.
No, customer service might not be what it used to be – we think it has the potential to be even better. With these new customer service skills in your arsenal, we hope you’ll enjoy the success and satisfaction of doing good while also boosting your bottom line.
Log into your account to shop our office products online or call our local customer service representatives at (608) 310-4300 today.