In this technological era and with digitization taking over human interaction in customer service, simple gestures like kindness and respect seem to have taken a backseat. With sophisticated technologies, we are able to track what they search for, what they like, what they spend on, where they go and how often they return. In spite of all this new big data and the insights it can deliver, customers still appreciate certain “Old School Customer Support” practices.
Here are a few Old school customer service techniques that have been time-tested, they work today and forever.
- Thank your customers: Many a time, you may think that a customer has chosen the competitor for better prices or offerings, but most of them leave because they don’t feel valued. When someone chooses you, make it a point to show your appreciation in a manner they will truly notice. Instead of just sending an email, follow the “Old School” technique and send them a handwritten note. If there is an appropriate situation, send them a “Thank you” note with some flowers or a box of chocolates.
This does not have to apply only to your customers, you might as well appreciate your colleagues, suppliers, vendors, customer service representatives, and other business partners. That will not just make their day, it also helps them in going a mile further to help you in the future.
- Build personal relationships: In this age of rapid technological innovation and rat-race to prove our efficiency, we sometimes forget that it is extremely important to build personal relationships with our customers. Customers are not just numbers, they are human beings. Personalization and humanization of websites create convenient communication channels and build trust in the customer.
Though it is impossible to meet every customer in person at a global level, get connected to them through phone calls rather than just finishing it off over an email. Also, give a modern twist to the “Old School” methodology by using technology to meet your customers face to face. Use Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and other platforms to personalize your customer service.
Use names to address your customers instead of addressing them with their order numbers. This will make them feel valued and respected.
- Deliver proactive support: This is called the gold standard of customer service. In order to maintain a positive customer experience, be there the moment a problem arises, and before they get frustrated. This way you will earn their respect and loyalty. There are chances that your timely support will make them recommend your brand to others.
Delivering proactive support is a matter of finding the moments in the customer journey that are likely to cause issues. Previously, it meant being patient and observing patterns in customer interactions in order to mitigate any issues. Now it can be achieved by using web analytics and customer feedback to identify those pain points in the buyer journey. For example, if a customer enters the wrong order credentials after checking out, you can implement a live chat at checkout and resolve the issue right away. This way you’ve earned a loyal customer by helping him get what he wanted.
- Follow up: Making customers wait is simply annoying and can adversely affect your business. Study your response time and find out ways to cut them down. How do you feel when you send a mail and receive no response even after a long wait? Or how do you feel if you are left waiting on the phone line by a service provider who forgot to tell you how long it would take? Similarly, your response also matters.
Respond quickly to a customer enquiry. Your response time can make you gain, keep or lose a valuable customer. These customer service skills have to be inculcated by every agent to retain a customer.
Further, after a sale has been made or a problem is resolved, contact your customers again. Make a phone call or send an email personally to find out their experience with you, how they feel, and what else you can do to help them. This little extra effort and the time you invest in this “Old School” technique will pay back handsomely in retaining your customer.
- Set right expectations: Apart from being confident and authentic in your customer interactions, maintain a transparent and honest exchange when dealing with any issue. Even before you dive into the details, ensure that you establish the right expectations to avoid further conflict. Never over-promise or under deliver. Being transparent from the beginning will help frame a customer’s expectations for the exchange and avoid any further confusions.
It is extremely important to set customer expectations right from the beginning to ensure that no stone is left unturned during the interaction. Any possible assumption by a customer is to be established and clarified to create a positive customer experience.
Further, inculcate other “Old School” practices like having extreme patience while interacting with an angry customer or responding to every customer with a smile. These are tried and tested methods that have been proven to give you extraordinary results. Once you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and reinvigorate your strategy with classic methods, you will create an unforgettable customer experience.