Customer service can be the make-or-break factor when it comes to customer satisfaction. A study from Zendesk found that 53% of customers expect companies to respond to their service requests within the hour, and over 80% of customers said they would purchase from the same company again if their first experience was positive. This means that businesses need to make sure they’re providing high-quality customer service at all times, or risk losing their customer base altogether. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key ways businesses can improve their customer service and ensure their clientele remains loyal in the long run.

Customers are people

The people you interact with in business are just that—people. And, like you, they’re human beings with a full range of emotions and behavior. Some are excited to talk to your customer service representative (CSR), others are irritated because they’ve waited on hold for twenty minutes. Your CSR should be patient but also assertive; friendly but not too chummy; cheery but not saccharine.

Customers matter

A customer isn’t just a person with money to spend, they are an individual who may affect other customers’ perception of your brand. Good customer service shows that you care about each and every one of them as individuals, and there’s no better way to get a loyal fan than by treating them right. So, yes, it takes time and effort to provide excellent customer service—but it can easily pay off.

Having exceptional service goes beyond your company

Customer service is a defining factor of your company, which helps you stand out in today’s cutthroat market. Your customers rely on you for superior service and for reliable, consistent communication about products and services. If something goes wrong with their purchase, they need to know that you’re listening, willing to work with them, and accountable for your mistakes.

How to deliver exceptional customer service

Most customer service reps and customer service training articles will tell you to listen to your customers. It’s good advice, but there’s a problem: When someone is upset about something, their emotional response kicks in before they have time to hear what you have to say. All they can think about is themselves. To deliver exceptional customer service, you need to turn that around by calming them down first so they can fully hear what you’re saying.

Treat every interaction as an opportunity to delight

One of the best ways to delight customers is to treat every interaction as an opportunity to provide amazing service. Whether you’re on social media, in your store, or just chatting with someone who contacted you online, take time to understand what you can do better and do it. And don’t be shy about asking for feedback from customers as well; good customer service stems from great listening skills.