In our impersonal, technological age, it is hard to believe that personalized service is still preferable to the high efficiency and accuracy of a computer. However, in order to build customer loyalty and satisfaction, personalized service is absolutely necessary for successful businesses today. Customers do not want to be treated like a number; they want to know that their business is valued by the person on the other end of the phone or behind the counter.
Take advantage of these tips to help you provide customer service that is personalized to your customers' direct needs.
Know Your Customers
When you take the time to get to know your customers, you begin the process of building relationships with them. The first step in developing that professional relationship is to learn their names.
Customers love to be called by name when they walk through your door, so make a game of it with your staff. Offer rewards at the end of the week for the staff member that can remember the most customer names. You might be surprised at how quickly it becomes second nature to use names when interacting with your regular customers.
Regular newsletters that keep customers abreast of your latest products and promotions is another fabulous way to keep in touch with your customer base. However, do not settle for the standard form letter addressed to "Dear Customer," or "To Whom it May Concern,". There are software programs that allow you to personalize your mass email to each recipient, which offers a friendly touch to all of your correspondence. Customers are much more likely to read emails addressed directly to them, rather than "Occupant," or another such generic title.
Set Up Client Histories
Another computer trick is to link a customer’s history into your system so it comes up every time your customer comes in to make another transaction. When your customer service representative pulls up your client's name, they will also find previous purchases and other pertinent information that allows them to customize their service approach. Perhaps they will find that this customer typically buys a product that is soon due to go on sale or is going to be discontinued. This allows your staff to share pertinent information with customers every time they visit your business.
When your customer has an issue or complaint, this is when personalized service should rev into high gear. The initial employee that hears about the issue should be the one to see it through to its resolution, even if other staff members must get involved in the process. Train your employees in the fine art of follow-through to ensure complaints are dealt with to the finish. There should also be follow-up contact with the customer after the resolution to ensure the customer was satisfied with the response of your company.
While automated processes have diminished some of the personalized customer service today, they can also be used to take your service to a whole new level. By utilizing these tools to your fullest advantage, you can continue to delight your customers with service that sports a decidedly personal touch.
- Meredith Estep