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The Secret to Awesome Customer Service - Be Proactive!

Updated on April 1, 2015
Putting your customer at the heart of everything htat you do will help your business to flourish
Putting your customer at the heart of everything htat you do will help your business to flourish | Source

Providing great customer service is one of the main challenges that any successful business has to get right. What many business owners don’t realize is that you don’t have to wait for something to go wrong before you provide excellent customer service.

In this article we’ll explore the proactive things that you can do right now to minimize issues, improve how you interact with customers and help your business to flourish. The steps you can take include:

  • Testing your own products & services

  • Testing your website and business processes

  • Creating clear instructions

  • Getting a good customer service tracking system in place

  • Making it simple and easy to get in touch with you

Testing your own products & services

The first thing you should do is to extensively check out your products and services to identify potential problems before a customer experiences them. You can do this in several ways:

  • Testing the product or service yourself

  • Getting colleagues or business associates to help you

  • Getting a focus group of potential customers to test it

  • Asking your friends and family to try things out

  • Hiring a professional testing group

You will need to try out the product or service in real-world settings and use them as your customers would. The idea is to comprehensively understand any risks, issues or problems with your business offerings; you can then create an action plan to resolve those issues.

Once you have carried out the action plan, it is worth re-checking everything to make sure that you have fixed all of the problems.

Testing your website and business processes

Checking that your product or service works as intended is only part of making sure that it will support your customer’s needs. You will also need to make sure that your various business processes support your customers, every step of the way. This includes:

  • Helping your customer find out about the product or service

  • Providing useful information, benefits and details on the product or service

  • Making your website easy to navigate, use and understand

  • Having a robust ordering and payment process in place

  • Delivering the product or service to your customer

You can do this by putting yourself in your customer's position and going through every step of getting your product or service, from start to finish. You can also use the groups listed in the previous step to test each of these areas for you. Again, you will need to create an action plan that addresses and fixes any potential issues.

Creating clear instructions on using your products and services

One of the best ways to empower your customers is to provide them with clear, easily understandable instructions and advice on using and getting the most out of your offering. You can achieve this through:

  • Creating comprehensive instructions and guides for the products

  • Providing a knowledge base and frequently asked questions list on your website

  • Ensuring your website has a comprehensive 'support' area, including guides that can help your visitors troubleshoot their issues

  • Getting a support forum in place where users can help one another

Providing this kind of proactive support can significantly reduce the number of issues, incidents and questions that your customer service area needs to deal with.

Getting a good customer service tracking system in place

You will want to get a good customer service and tracking system in place before you sell your first product; this will make it much easier for you to track multiple incidents and respond properly to each one.

There are lots of options out there for customer service tracking and monitoring including Zendesk, Salesforce, UserVoice, Groove and many more, including free open source systems like osTicket. There are free trials available for every application, so try a few of them out and see which one works best for you.

Making it simple and easy to get in touch with you

You’ll want to provide several different ways for your customers to get in contact with you, in case they have an issue, question or need advice. Depending on how much time and effort you can dedicate to customer service, you could have the following:

  • Contact form on your website

  • Email address

  • Ticketing form on your website (linking into your customer service tool)

  • Dedicated support forum

  • Chatbox on your website

  • Telephone number

  • Social media tracking for mentions, questions and problems

Whatever contact solution you decide to use, it’s vital to make it as clear and intuitive to your users as you can.

In closing

Once you have all of these steps in place, your business will be very well positioned to deal with specific customer questions and issues.

This will help to create a positive experience for your customers which will ultimately benefit your business reputation, trust and success.


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