Much more is required to deliver exceptional customer service than simply saying thank you at the close of transactions to purchase goods or services. Whether in a business-to-consumer (B2C) environment or a business-to-business (B2B) interaction, customer service is the one area where small-to-mid-size businesses need to shine. Every time, the desire to “get it right for the customer” should be a driving principle. While every customer is essential, the financial stakes are even higher when maintaining a business-to-business relationship with professionals, companies, schools, and government agencies.
These relationships can be complex since multiple individuals may be involved in the procurement process. These are valuable contacts, with each touchpoint being an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in customer service.
- 95 percent of consumers indicate good B2B customer service is essential to win their loyalty
- 75 percent of consumers prefer to interact with a person rather than chatbots
Keep a Positive Attitude
Everyone has bad days. However, the #1 rule of customer service is to greet customers with a smile on your face and in your voice. Being friendly, courteous, and respectful can go a long way in business negotiations. Share your expertise and focus on what you bring to the table to help your customers meet their objectives. Always make servicing your customer a priority, even when they are short-tempered, unreasonable, or forget how often you come to their rescue.
Take the time to get it right.
Few things are as frustrating as receiving information that seems to change every hour. Businesses base their decisions on receiving accurate information. Although there is a tendency for customer service interactions to bounce back and forth without making progress, limit messages to those that move the needle in the right direction. It’s better to take the time required to get the correct answer than to inundate customers with updates that can potentially change. Research indicates that customers prefer to have issues resolved in one interaction and are willing to invest whatever time is necessary.
Know Your Stuff
It may seem obvious, but you should have an in-depth knowledge of the subjects discussed. Giving excellent service depends on your ability to understand the benefits of the products and services you sell. How are they used? What are the advantages for the customer? Is another product better suited for the project the customer has in mind? Be an asset that helps customers feel that they’ve made a wise investment by doing business with your company. When you are passionate about what you sell, it shows in your delivery and convinces others you know your stuff.
Provide a timely response
One of the customers’ biggest complaints is their inability to get a quick response. Phone calls go unanswered, or emails or texts seem to be ignored. A good rule of thumb is to return phone calls within 24-hours. Providing a specific time frame sets realistic expectations for customers. It’s up to your team to deliver on the promise.
Ask for Feedback
Some of the best recommendations for improvements in products and services come from customers. What they want may be out of your comfort zone, but sometimes that’s what it takes to move to the next level and stay ahead of competitors. Reach out to your customers and let them know you appreciate their feedback and want to understand their point of view better. If you have a team that services business clients, share the comments to give them insights that can help them build better customer relationships.
Be Sincere and Say thank you
Customers have other options, and they choose to do business with you. When simple courtesies are often forgotten, saying thank you can be meaningful. Like a warm smile, it is an essential element of customer service. Thank you can also be offered in the form of a hand-written note, lunch, or gift during the holidays. Customers will remember your sincere gesture of appreciation.