Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading about predictions and trends for 2018. It got me thinking about the actions we must take to be competitive. Regardless of your industry, everything has changed about the way we do business. There are some businesses that claim they’ve done things the same way for years, decades, even a century. They claim they do business just as their fathers and grandfathers did. Nothing has changed. I disagree.
Take a taxidermist, for example. Things have been the same in this business for over 100 years, stuffing and mounting animals. The owner claims nothing has changed… Except for today, he has a website, a Facebook page, and a mobile phone. None of these were around when his great-grandfather started the business. Much has changed.
A business must keep up with the times. If they don’t, they will be disrupted and find themselves either playing catch up or worse, shutting down altogether. With that in mind, I’d like to share five customer service tips every business must do to stay competitive in 2018:
- Embrace the changing expectations of your customer: This one I’ve touted every year. The customer expects more than ever. They no longer compare you to just your competitors. They compare you to any company they like doing business with. So, be prepared to keep up.
- Personalize the experience: The concept of personalization has been around for a long time. Make recommendations that are specific to each customer. Whether you invest in sophisticated software that tracks and analyzes customer data, or you simply remember them when they walk through your doors, recognize your customers want and expect you to give them a personalized experience.
- React quickly, especially on social media: When a customer needs support or a question answered and they email it to you, they don’t want to wait two days to get a response. They don’t want to call and be put on hold for an hour. They want a resolution now. If you don’t already offer good self-service solutions that will get customers their answers immediately, at least be able to respond to them in a reasonable amount of time, not hours or days.
- Don’t let technology pass you by: Invest in the right technology to drive a better customer experience. High cost is no longer an excuse. Many software solutions have come so far down in cost that even the smallest businesses can afford them. Stay up-to-date with the solutions available to you that can help drive a better customer experience.
- Be more convenient than you’ve ever been before: If you want to separate yourself from your competition, be more convenient. How easy are you to do business with? It could be extended business hours, more locations, or an easy-to-use website. The company that makes it easier and more convenient for the customer wins.
There you have it, five ways to deliver a better-than-ever customer service experience. Are there more ways? Sure, there are! I’ve written books on many, many more ideas, tactics, and strategies. But, these are what I’d call “keep-up-with-the-times” types of tips. So, go out there and take care of the customer like you never have before. That’s what it will take to make 2018 great for your business.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVIII, Shep Hyken)