We all know that what differentiates us from our competition can be customer service – with all things being equal, the one with the best customer support will win every time. But how do you create a culture of customer service that you can be proud of and that reaches to every element of your organization?
Be responsive. Customer expectations have risen – if they send an email, they want an immediate response (or at least within 24 hours). If they leave a message, they want a call back. If they send a text, they want a return text. It requires you to be savvy in all aspects of communication – it is crucial to providing good customer service.
Be personal. Get to know your customers and encourage friendly interaction, even when they are not ordering. They want that connection to be strong and positive – tell them what is happening at the winery, ask them how they liked the latest release and if they have any plans to visit. Treat them like a friend and they will respond like a friend.
Find out what they want and give it to them (or explain why you can’t). Customer satisfaction surveys can be immensely helpful in understanding your customers and what they like about you. Making decisions in a vacuum may be easiest for you but if you really want to please your customers, bring them into the conversation.
Choose your partners wisely. This is one of the most important things to consider. There is a process to the customer experience – if your website makes product information or ordering difficult to find, the customer will get frustrated. If your contact information is not readily available online for questions, the customer won’t search it out. If your online store doesn’t work properly, you won’t get the order and the customer will go somewhere else. And it doesn’t help if the whole ordering process goes smoothly and then your fulfillment company fails – the whole system breaks down at the end and that is what the customer remembers. So make sure your vendors have the same high standards that you do in order to make the customer service experience seamless and pleasant.
Accept responsibility. Yes, everyone knows things happen. But how you handle difficult situations should make all the difference between a good experience and an unsatisfying one. Do whatever it takes to fix the situation – and let the customer know that you are on it! Customers can be very forgiving if you show that you care and are taking steps to address their concerns.
Commit to excellent customer service and you will enjoy continued success and growth!