5 Customer Service Rules to Boost Your Profit by 18 Percent

5 Customer Service Rules to Boost Your Profit by 18 Percent

Customers may have to wait an hour for a table, but they are happy to eat free food and drink at the bar (which allows the business to make more money!) In my grocery store experience, none of the store or corporate workers ever asked me if I wanted a card or why I did not want to use one. If the store had sought feedback, perhaps they would realize that having that information stored on an app on a smartphone might be a better idea. An app that improves customer service can differentiate the experience. Ninety-one percent of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Cashiers can ask questions like, “Is there anything we could have done to make your experience better?” Most customers will say no. Typically, companies use a third-party firm to respond to online comments, if they respond at all. You should respond to both positive and negative comments quickly with tailored responses. This differentiates them from other healthcare providers who do not share this focus as part of their corporate DNA. Use email lists or apps to provide discounts or exclusive deals to loyal customers.

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5 Customer Service Rules to Boost Your Profit by 18 Percent

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By 2020 customer service and experience will overtake price as the essential brand differentiator. Eighty-six percent of buyers are willing to pay more for excellent customer experience. Customers will spend 13 to 18 percent more for excellent customer service. Here are five rules to set yourself to take full advantage of this trend.

1. Never make your problems the customer’s problems.

Recently, at a large grocery chain, I had a very frustrating experience. I attempted to use the self check-out express lanes to purchase three products. I was not able to do this because I did not have a store card. After finally being able to buy my items, I emailed the corporate store. I got a response the next day that said that cards were now required and this was a new policy due to a large amount of theft. This did little to ease my annoyance.

Excellent customer service means you fix your problems without the customer knowing the problem. Years ago, when a Red Lobster got behind and had a long wait, they gave out free fried ravioli in the lobby. At Target, store cards are not required, but they have cameras at every self-checkout register. Giant Eagle requires cards at the self-check registers, but the cashier keeps a generic one for customers without a card. There is no reason for customers ever to see the back of the house problems. Never put that burden on a customer. As in the Red Lobster example, sometimes problems can even be turned into positives. Customers may have to wait an hour for a table, but they are happy to eat free food and drink at the bar (which allows the business to make more money!)

2. Seek reviews and encourage open dialogue.

In my grocery store experience, none of the store or corporate workers ever asked me if I wanted a card or why I did not want to use one. The issue is, I have about 20 cards from random stores that I rarely visit inside my purse that are hard to find. If the store had sought feedback, perhaps they would realize that having that information stored on an app on a smartphone might be a better idea. For example, Macy’s has never been a store where I was a frequent customer. However, in recent months, I have found their app so convenient that I have started shopping there again.

An app that improves…

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