The following excerpt is from the article Ten Golden Rules for Providing Successful Customer Service, with our own suggestions added in. Read the full article for more ideas on how to better serve your students.
Provide quick responses and solid answers.
Customers don’t want to wait around for answers and your first response should be the answer they need. Being available 24/7 online is a great way to offer service that’s on par with bigger companies. Even if you simply provide a frequently asked questions section on your website, you offer timely answers in a world where minutes matter. Offering virtual help through chat on your website or a knowledge base of informative articles can set you high above the competition.
College Stores Could: Create a service hashtag that lets customers reach you anytime from anywhere. For instance, if a student is wondering the hours you're open, and doesn't want to call, they could tweet you with the hashtag #MBSStoreHelp. With services like TweetBeep, you can then receive an email notification every time the hashtag is used, so you can respond almost instantaneously.
Most customers aren’t looking for more than a listening ear. It’s just like in any relationship, the person on the other end of the line just wants to know that they were heard, understood and that the company can identify with their situation. Even when outcomes don’t necessarily meet the initial expectation of the customer, showing empathy can create a satisfied customer and maintain positive brand impressions.
College Stores Could: Use social monitoring systems such as SocialMention and Twitter lists to keep an eye on what your customers are saying about your store. You may find students who are complaining about small issues, such as a long line at your store. You can then brighten their experience by commenting back to apologize for the inconvenience and thanking them for waiting it out with you.
Learn how to apologize well
Recognize when circumstances have turned for the worst, graciously accept the blame and admit you were wrong. Humility can calm anger faster than a refund. Don’t just give angry customers their money back and let them go away still angry.
College Stores Could: Admit you were ￼wrong, accept the blame, and issue a great apology.
Appreciate your customers and show respect
Use friendly greetings, customer’s names, and by all means thank them for their business and loyalty. Even if you don’t plan on implementing customer loyalty programs, at least create a culture of gratitude. It can be as simple as having a “customer appreciation day,” or the pleasant greeting of a customer service representative who uses positive language to create a satisfying experience.
College Stores Could: Offer rewards or special events for your best customers. We have several ideas in our Marketing Plans section such as our Win the Window contest.
Invite feedback & accept criticism
Your customers have some of the greatest ideas that can grow your business, right on the tip of their tongues. All that you have to do is ask them to tell you. Feedback from a reasonably critical voice can be the key to understanding exactly what you need change in order to really appeal to your customer base.
College Stores Could: Ask your social followers how you can improve. We suggest keeping the question as direct as possible, so you don't get silly suggestions or ones that you can't control. Or, create a survey and simply post the link to your social pages to keep the answers a bit more confidential.
What's your #1 customer service tip? Add yours to the list by posting in the comments section below.