Growing up, getting called “easy” was an insult. The I’ll-see-you-at-the-flagpole-after-school type of an insult. But in the world of customer service, being called “easy”, or a customer-friendly business, is one of the greatest compliments a company can receive.
It’s sad to say, but people expect difficulty when communicating with most companies. We have trained ourselves to accept (and unfortunately expect) slow service, inaccurate results, and general aggravation. That’s why when a company quickly does what it says it will do, customers are amazed. It does not take much to make a customer happy – and when they’re happy they will talk about you; they will post about your company on social media and business review sites, and recommend you to their friends and family. As we continue in this article, we’ll explore some ways to make your customers consider you a customer-friendly, easy-to-work-with business in no time. Let’s dive in!
What Makes a Company Easy?
Are you ready to be called an easy customer-friendly business by your customers? Here’s our list of ten things you must do if you want people to call you easy behind your back. In the good way, of course.
1: Give Your Customers Choice
Let customers communicate with you using whichever method they prefer: phone, email, web chat, snail mail or even social media! Your customers’ days are just a busy as yours, so give them the freedom to connect to you quickly in a manner that is convenient to them.
2: Create Simple-to-Read Billing
Simplify your communications with customers, including your bills. I can’t tell you how many bills I receive where I have to sit there and figure out how I am being charged. Why all of the complexity? If your billing structure is so confusing that customers can’t follow it, you need to overhaul your systems. Consider a flat-free pricing structure if it’s feasible in your business. If it’s not, make sure your terms are clear and offer an explanation on the bill itself.
3: Provide Customer Self-Service
Let your customers self-serve. Many customer-friendly businesses create an online community where customers can post questions and get answers from each other! You can also add in helpful articles, videos or responses where appropriate. This not only makes your customers happy to do business with you, but it decreases the cost of support. Check out Get Satisfaction for a great example of an easy to build online community.
4: Make Like an All-Night Diner
Be available 24/7. This can be a combination of things including an online presence with a fully supported community, a live answering service that can answer your calls and route emergencies to the appropriate person, or even an auto response to emails that tells customers you’ve received their email and when they can expect to hear from you. The customer doesn’t necessarily need to get a resolution to their problem at 3:30 AM, but just knowing that their problem has been received and will be addressed as soon as you open can often reassure a customer that you are making it easy for them to do business with you.
5: Play Customer
Or better yet, ask a friend or close family member to pose as a customer of your business. Don’t give them any advance information, but instead ask them to express interest in your product or service. This is a great way to get feedback on the customer experience. If they were confused or aggravated by any step of the process, fix it!
6: Be Proactive
Solve your customers’ problems before they start. An easy way to do this is to track why customers are calling for support and then find a way to solve it before they even need to call. For example, if your customers are all calling one week after buying your product because they can’t figure out how to configure a feature, now’s the time to be proactive. You could email customers 5 days after their purchase with a step-by-step explanation. Send a video email using a service like Bomb Bomb to wow them even more!
7: Survey Your Customers
Use a tool like Survey Monkey to email your customers and ask them to score how easy or difficult it was to do business with your company. Surveys are best kept short, and you often get better responses by offering a prize to survey respondents. Follow up with a thank you email to all participants. If you get great feedback and take steps to improve your business, let all survey participants know that you listened and took their advice. Customers love to know you are listening and reacting to their feedback.
8: Keep Notes on Your Interactions with a Customer
If you don’t have an in-house tool for keeping track of your interactions with your customers, consider using a cloud-based CRM tool like Sugar CRM, Zoho, or even Sales Force. Your customers can avoid starting from the beginning of their issue every single time they call, and the employee can review their account knowing exactly what steps need to be taken to resolve the issue.
9: Really, Really Good Staff Training is Invaluable
Train your staff. Then train them again. Never let an employee answer the phones or speak to your customers until they can demonstrate competency on your services or products. Never put the burden on your customers to train your employees.
10: Respond Immediately
If you don’t know what your response rate is to customer interactions, you need to find a way to figure it out. Audit emails to and from your customers to find out just how long it is taking your company to reply. Establish clear expectations to your staff specifying how many hours you will accept before they respond to an email or voice message (ideally, it’s immediately – but this is not always practical). For even easier service, tell your customers in an auto email response and in your outgoing voicemail greeting what those expectations are – that way, your customer won’t have to stress about when to call you again for follow up to their inquiry.
See, it’s a good thing to be called easy – well, it’s a good thing when it comes from your customers expressing what a customer-friendly business you are. Those customers are worth the time and energy it takes to put some systems in place that will ultimately make doing business with your company easier. The easier the customer experience, the more likely your name will land on the tips of their tongues.