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Building Customer Loyalty: Strive for Spectacular Customer Service

March 03, 2015

To truly stand for superior customer service, you must go the extra mile. Successful businesses today incorporate three key principles into their customer service approach: empathy, flexibility and personalization.

This is part three in an eight-part series on building customer loyalty. Read part two

To truly stand for superior customer service, you must go the extra mile. Successful businesses today incorporate three key principles into their customer service approach: empathy, flexibility and personalization.

Customers who come to you with a problem or complaint provide a unique opportunity and a fleeting moment to make it right. And how you handle it can determine whether the customer leaves or becomes more loyal to you. Use empathy to deal with the customer and back it up with action. Even if you perceive they are wrong, it’s usually better to take the loss and compensate the customer – especially in this day of social media. One unhappy customer can do a lot of damage to your reputation very quickly.

The next principle – flexibility – builds upon empathy. Flexibility allows you and your employees to feel empowered to deliver whatever is necessary to build trust and loyalty. Find the quickest, most effective solution to demonstrate that you’re the kind of company that will do whatever it takes to keep your customers’ business. A customer who feels cared for is also likely to assist you in solving the problem and identifying how to prevent that same problem in the future.

The last principle concerns personalization. Show your customers you care about them as individuals. For example, give your customers a choice in how they pay their bills, add a chat function to your website to quickly help people online and be sure to quickly answer the phones with a live person – not a recording.

Consider a national fast food chain that sets out to do more than provide a good sandwich. Their mission is to create a positive influence on all who come in contact with them. If you have the opportunity to grab a bite there, you’ll quickly see that part of what makes this restaurant special is the “my pleasure” concept. Ask for an extra sauce? “My pleasure.” A table topper for the kids? “My pleasure.” A bag to go? “My pleasure.” And, it goes beyond that. While diners may only be there for a short time, employees walk the restaurant with beverage pitchers to provide refills to those may have ordered a tea or soda. Now, that’s one way to up the ante on customer service and redefine fast food!

Next: Establish loyalty through incentives

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