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How many times in the last month have you contacted a business and not been able to get through to anyone? Or worse, been stuck on the phone for hours listening to some shaky hold music vowing never to use this service again? 

First impressions matter

They’re formed in seconds and shape our views and opinions of someone or something. So, when it comes to first impressions of you and your business, it’s essential that you make those first few seconds count.

A positive first impression can be the difference between making the sale and not making the sale. Getting a five star review at the end of the day or just one star and the feedback, ‘if I could score zero I would’ – Ouch!

When you’re busy working in the business, it can be easy to justify poor customer care because ‘we’re just really busy at the moment’. But your customers don’t see everything that’s going on behind the scenes in your business. And a lot of the time, quite frankly, they don’t care. But what they do care about is that you haven’t followed through on your promises.

So, what really happens if your customer receives bad customer care? Even if it was just that one time…

According to this Forbes article, 96% percent of customers have said they will stop working with any business as a direct result of poor customer service. This isn’t what anyone wants. 

Whether it’s the first conversation they have with you, or they’re checking in after being a loyal customer for 5+ years, it’s essential everyone receives the same level of care and attention. If they don’t, it’s easier than ever to jump ship and be picked up by one of your competitors. And the biggest problem with this is that once the trust is broken, it’s near impossible to build back. 

What a lot of people forget is that customer care isn’t just about answering the phone or an email right away. It’s also affected by your ability to:

✔️  Set clear expectations for your customers and follow through, every single time.

✔️  Deliver on your promises. Whether that’s honouring your money-back guarantee, sticking to time frames, or transferring them to the right person in the business who’ll be the most helpful to them.

✔️  Follow up effectively. If you’ve told someone you’ll get back to them within so many days and you don’t, your customer will be disappointed and won’t care how busy you’ve been. 

✔️  Deal quickly with problems that arise so that everyone walks away happy at the end of the day. 

✔️  Support people throughout their entire time working with you. Whether it’s sending a quote, answering an enquiry, updating a client on the progress of a project, or following up with them for feedback at the end of a project. Breaking a customer’s trust at any point in their buying journey can bring the whole thing crashing down.

✔️  Having a clear point of contact for your existing customers who they trust and feel comfortable picking up the phone to.

When you get this right, it can directly increase your sales and improve your brand loyalty. People will come back to your business time and time again. 

But, get it wrong, and you can not only lose customers (and potential sales) but it can also have a huge impact on your business’s reputation. The last thing any business needs is a bad review or a dissatisfied customer telling potential referrals about their experience. 

So, how can you set yourself apart from competitors with great customer care? 

Here’s just a few ways to get yourself started…

Set your customers expectations wherever possible

Make sure potential customers know when they are going to hear back from you. And stick to the date you agreed! 

You might consider having a personalised voicemail service on your phone so potential customers know they’ve got through to the right place and that you’ll get back to them asap. Another great way to set expectations is to set up automatic replies to your emails advising that ‘you’re super busy at the moment but will get back to them within 48 hours’. This helps to overcome the concern that their email wasn’t delivered or went straight to spam. It also means they won’t follow up as quickly, leaving your inbox as clear as possible.

Have a plan in place in case anything does go wrong

Sometimes, complaints about customer service are inevitable. Emails can be syphoned off into your spam folder and missed, someone might be ill and fail to follow up in the specified time frame. Let’s be honest, we’re only human and when you’re juggling lots in your business, things can be missed. 

Getting a complaint isn’t the end of the world. But how you deal with it can make the difference between a good experience and one which sends them running for the hills. So have a plan in place. Is there anything you can offer to soften the blow if someone’s dissatisfied? If you have a customer services team, is there someone that the call can be escalated to immediately, so the customer feels like something is being done?

Use your reviews and testimonials effectively

Feedback is one of the most important assets within your business. It’s the easiest way to check how your customers are feeling about the service they’ve received. And, if it’s positive feedback on sites like Tripadvisor or Google reviews, it can be one of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from your competitors and demonstrate why potential customers should choose you over them.

Get someone in to help

When you’re busy and your business is taking off, jugging your enquiries, quotes, calls, admin, and everything else that’s involved with running your business is a big task to handle alone. Plus, if it’s not something you enjoy doing, customer care can easily be bumped down the priority list. 

If you’re not quite ready to start building your first customer services team, then a VA might be a good option to help bridge the gap in your business. If you need a helping hand to ensure you’re getting back to your customers, clients and leads in a professional, timely, and friendly manner, then head over to our services page to find out all of the things we can support you with.