How to provide good customer service

Good customer relationships are at the heart of great customer service. Whether you're interacting with a long-term client or a first-time buyer, developing a strong rapport with your customers is an important part of building good customer relationships.

Face-to-face customer service

If you have a physical, bricks and mortar business, here are some tips for developing good customer relationships:

  • Greet your customers as they walk through the door. You can ask them how they are, or how you can help them.
  • If your customers have to wait to be served (e.g. waiting for a table at a café, waiting to be seen in a doctors' office) it can be helpful to have someone, like a receptionist, greeting your customers and letting them know how long the wait is expected to be.
  • Checking in on your customers while they're in your shop can also be helpful. Examples include asking them if they enjoyed their meal, or if they'd like you to help them find a different product. This can also give them a chance to ask any questions they might have.
  • Knowing your product inside out is invaluable, particularly in a face-to-face business setting. Being able to immediately answer any tricky questions from your customers can help build trust and credibility.

Customer service online

If you run an online business, or interact with customers over the phone or email, here are some tips for developing good customer relationships:

  • Answer emails promptly. A general rule is a 24 hour turnaround. If you know that you take longer to respond to emails, it can be useful to publish your expected turnaround time on your Contact Us page on your website, or even in your automated email responder. This can help to manage your customers' expectations.
  • Consider a live chat service. Whilst this may require extra staff and monitoring, a live chat may be switched on and off during certain hours, and allow you to communicate instantly with your customers to help with their queries.
  • Consider adding a 'request to call' option on your Contact Us form. This option may allow customers to request a time and day they would like to receive a phone call from you.  This may also allow you to gather specific information about their request before calling them back.
  • Keep a log of any phone interactions you have with your customers. Write down the date, time and any issues discussed. This information can be useful to refer back to when making contact again.
  • Publish important information about your business, like your mission statement and your business history, on your website. This information can help your customers get an understanding of your business and its values.
  • Add a feedback form to your website. This will allow you to collect valuable feedback about your service and may provide you with insights for new product or service ideas to grow your business.

Check and maintain your service standards

Taking the time to seek customer feedback and to follow up on feedback you receive is great way to measure and improve your customer service. Your customers will appreciate it if they can see you have acted on their feedback, or addressed it in some way.

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