All businesses interact with customers in one way or another. Without customers, your company would most likely not exist, as companies depend on their customers for business. This is why it is essential to follow the #1 rule of customer service:
Your customer is your best friend.
In many ways, your customer is indeed like a best friend to you. You have an open form of communication with them, you seek to build trust with each other, and you respect each other. Note that this doesn’t mean that you have to call each other all the time, or tell each other your deepest, darkest secrets. There is a healthy balance of friendship and customer service, and it can be achieved by paying special attention to the way you treat your customers. This might seem like common sense, but the surprising statistics show that this is something everyone can improve on.
At the very least, be on a first-name basis with your customers. Your customers will know that you actually care about them and see them as more than just “some customer.” It is incredible how simply knowing someone’s name can help you feel connected. This may sound like common sense, but did you know that employees only ask for the customer’s name only 21% of the time?
Best friends communicate with one another. They are open and friendly about everything. You should always keep in touch with your customers as often as necessary. Every once in a while, schedule a phone call just to say hi. Sending a birthday card is an incredibly effective way to establish a connection with your customers. And remember, always respond to emails and phone calls within one business day, at the very latest. In fact, about 41% of consumers expect an email response within just 6 hours. Responding within this 6-hour time frame will really help you stand out and put you ahead of your competitors.
Best friends respect each other. Always say “please” and “thank you” when talking to a customer. Manners are essentially mandatory in the professional world. Knowing when to say sorry will get you far in life. When interacting with customers, it is much better to over-apologize than to under-apologize. Even when the customer is wrong, apologize to them. Just like you care about your best friend’s feelings, you should be keen to making sure your customers are happy. The number one reason for customer loss is customers feeling poorly treated.
Best friends love introducing each other to other friends. This is especially true in the customer service world. Customers talk among themselves, for both good and bad. Happy customers are very likely to leave positive reviews and tell their friends about you. This is why a lot of companies have referral systems -- in fact, studies have shown that people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Beware, however, of unhappy customers. When best friends get in fights, they sometimes say hurtful things. Unhappy customers will do the same. Social media sites are a common place for people to vent their negative emotions. Unhappy customers are likely to spread the word about their bad experience with your company, which could be very damaging to your company. Once again, your customer is your best friend. You don’t want to upset your best friend, do you?
Viewing your customer as your best friend will significantly improve your relationship with them, thus increasing your sales. In fact, about 90% of U.S. consumers say that they would pay extra for superior customer service.