1. Respond! Respond, even if it's just to acknowledge receipt. Leaving the customer wondering if they ended up in the spam folder is very frustrating for them. We've all had the "black hole" experience, and I think we can all agree that it is THE WORST!
2. Keep the customer updated, even when they don't ask. Even if the update is "we are working on it", don't ever let them feel like they've been forgotten. Give them information before they even need to ask for it. 3. Be kind and human. We are all people here in this crazy world together, take an extra minute, and ask yourself if you are perpetuating kindness. We all have bad days, know that if someone is not being kind to you, they may be having one of those days.... Reflecting their tone back to them just feeds it. Kindness begets kindness. Let your personality shine through your communications to show your customer that they are not dealing with bots or just getting canned answers, plus it makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable for both parties!
4. Listen to the frustrations. If you have a frustrated customer, keep in mind that just because you understand the process, they may not. Look at them as a glimmer of insight into how you can improve your business. It really is a gift they are giving you! We strive to not have frustrated customers, but it happens to all of us. But I can tell you for every time a customer was frustrated, it led to a change in our business to plug a hole in our process or streamline communication further.
If you get a lot of inquiries, it is important to arm your company with the right tools so that you can be efficient and that things don't fall through the cracks. We utilize HelpScout, a platform that allows us all to share an email account, assign customers/conversations, add notes to one another and keep all the communication in one place and tied to each unique customer. This is especially helpful when your team is spread out across the country, like we are!
6. Slow down.
It can be tempting when the inbox is overflowing to get through as many requests as quickly as possible! But the problem with this is that while your response volume goes up, the quality is sure to go down. Be honest with your customers, if your inbox flooded because of recent good press or because you are short-staffed, let them know! For example, with HelpScout, we are able to create workflows to send a specific email to customers we select. So when we get inundated, we let our customers know that we are experiencing higher than normal volume, and set expectations as to when they will hear from us. And then we honor those expectations and deliver quality responses. Your word is everything.
7. Value your staff.
While your customers are important, so is your staff! They are your face to the world and they should feel appreciated every day. Create an environment where they can contribute their unique talents and points of view. Your crew on the front lines is very aware of what works and what doesn't, it would be remiss not to listen to their ideas and feedback. Give them as much autonomy as possible to do their jobs. And don't ever neglect expressing your gratitude for a job well done or a great idea.
8. Know when you are not your best self.
Some days you just hit your limit. Acknowledge it for yourself and be there to support your staff and co-workers when it happens to them. Sometimes we all need to walk away and take some time to recharge before we can return and do quality work.
9. Monitor all the channels
This one can be exhausting! In today's world, we are all being hit from so many places - email, voicemails, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Reddit, etc etc etc. While I'm sure we all wish at times that everything flowed through a single channel, that is just not the case. Assign specific people to monitor specific channels so that customers are not neglected, regardless of their chosen communication platform.
And do not forget to monitor your brand out there on the internet. Make it a habit to routinely search for your company and see what comes up, it is what your customers also see. An out of control Reddit thread or Yelp review could quickly spiral into bad news for your business. Take control of any negative feedback by responding, acknowledging, and then making changes to your organization if the feedback does, in fact, point out an area that needs improvement.
Ask your customers for reviews! They help future customers know what it is like to do business with your company and establish a level of comfort and trust. Did you know that 81% of customers are more likely to do business with you based on honest positive reviews? On that note, if you've done business with us in the past and haven't left us a review yet, we'd be oh so honored if you shared your experience for those that are new to us!