How To Improve Your Business’ Customer Service

If you want to grow your business, then customer service is one of the most important things that you need to focus on. Each interaction that a customer has with your business will either build it up or tear it down. Great customer service leaves customers satisfied, and when they are satisfied they’re more likely to continue to do business with you, and possibly refer you to others. And bad customer service? Just remember that customers tell an average of 15 people about a negative experience versus the 11 they tell about a positive experience, and 51% say they will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience. No matter how focused you are on your customers, there’s always room to improve your customer service so that you can increase your sales performance.

make a great first impression written on an orange notepad
First impressions are everything when it comes to attracting a customer.

Your First Impression Is Everything

We have all heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And it holds true; first impressions are powerful and memorable. Within a few seconds of meeting you, a customer will have a solid impression of who you are. Studies show that 55% of first impressions are made by what people see (visual), 38% are made by how you speak (vocal), and 7% are the actual words you say (verbal). So if you are meeting a client, make sure you look professional yet approachable, and when speaking with a client, focus on both your tone and what you say.

Feedback Is A Plus

One of the best ways to improve your customer service is by asking your customers for feedback, and learning from it, whether it is good or bad. You can do this by asking your customers to complete a brief phone or email survey at the end of your interaction with them. Use the responses that you get to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can make improvements.

african american woman sitting in front of a laptop, holding a cellphone to her ear and laughing
Customers want a personal connection with you, so make sure to build a rapport with them.

Build Rapport

All customers want to feel like they are more than just a customer. Build a rapport with your customers by showing them that you care about them. Use their name often and try to build a personal connection with them. Don’t just focus on automated email responses or run-of-the-mill check-up calls. Make your meetings more personal by showing sympathy with and empathy for your customers. Listen to your customer’s complaints, allow them to get it all out, and show that you care while being respectful. If it is something that you can help them with, then make it your problem so you can help them find an appropriate solution. Use phrases like “I’m sorry to hear that…” or “I can understand how frustrating it is to…”

Respond Quickly

Make sure that your customers can easily get in touch with you, and make sure that you respond to any messages within a reasonable amount of time. In a world of advanced technology and social media, there is plenty of opportunity to connect with your customers faster than ever. Return calls within a reasonable amount of time (88% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes), follow through, and always establish the next steps, so that your customer knows what to expect and when they can expect to hear from you.

Communicate Clearly2 women sitting across from each other talking.

The insurance world is a complex one, and it has a language all its own. Customers are coming to you to find the best deals, but they are also coming to you for help translating that language, or because they don’t fully understand the process. Simplify the process as best you can and make everything as clear as possible for your customers. Always end your conversations with a question like, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” or “Is there anything you would like me to go over again?” This gives customers an opportunity to ask questions so they are not left lost or dissatisfied at the end of the conversation.

Admit Mistakes

If you make a mistake, always own up to it, even if the customer hasn’t noticed it yet. This not only builds trust, but also restores your customer’s confidence in you, and allows you to control the situation. After you correct a mistake or solve a problem, be sure to call and follow up so that your customer stays satisfied with your service.

thank you note surrounded bu flowers, macarons, and a pen
Thank your customers so they feel appreciated.

Thank Your Customers

Always thank your customers for entrusting you with their business. Make them feel appreciated and thank them after they provide you with a new referral, or give them an incentive for providing a referral to you. There are different ways you can show how thankful you are, such as buying them a cup of coffee or sending them a thank-you note. A little appreciation can go a long way.

Why The First Call Is The Most Important Call

Studies show that around 78% of people say their opinion and perception of a brand permanently changes after the first interaction with a sales rep. And any good sales rep will know that the first call – especially the first 30 seconds of that call – along with the timing of the call, is everything. So, when is the right time to call, and how exactly do you win over a customer?

clock with alarm on top sitting on a table
Knowing when to call is important to speak to a person. Ideally 3-5pm is best.

Time Is Of The Essence

Sometimes, it is not about how you do it, but when you do it that makes all the difference. Thinking of calling a prospect in the morning? Think again! No one wants to be bothered in the morning when they are at work, or trying to get ready for work. Studies show the best time to call a customer is in the afternoon, ideally any time between 3 pm and 5pm. Studies show that customers will stay on the call longer during these times.

Relevancy: The Right Kind Of Questions

First things first: never ever wing it when it comes to your initial phone call. It takes strategy to get someone to listen and want to stay on the phone with you. The more organized you are, the more likely the customer will want to work with you. Start with small talk, and then make sure you are staying focused on what they need and asking the right kind of questions.

Get to know what the customer is looking for. Why do they need insurance at this moment in their life? What is their budget? What are some of their concerns? Help them to walk you through why they do not have insurance and/or why they are now looking for a plan. Try to find out how you can make their life easier.

pile of black question marks with one orange one lit up, and one blue one lit up.
Know the right questions to ask, and be prepared to know your stuff when answering questions.

Know Your Stuff

When you are on the phone with someone who seems unsure of themselves or doesn’t know the answers to your questions, you will not want to work with that person. In fact, you will be happy to get off the phone with them and you may feel like you dodged a bullet. The same goes for your customers. They want to speak to someone who knows the ins and outs of the products they are selling, and who will provide them with accurate, helpful information.

The more you know, the more a customer will feel confident signing up with you. People want to feel secure with the person handling such a major purchase as insurance.

Rapport

Building a rapport with someone just might leave you with a customer for life. When you genuinely build a relationship with your customer, they will feel more comfortable with signing up. And even if they do not decide to sign up with you at that moment, you will have left them with a good impression. And, when the time is right for the customer, they will remember you and hopefully give you the sale.

Know When To Talk & When To Listen

hand over an ear with sound waves coming to the ear.
Determine what kind of call it is so you know how much talking and listening to do.

Many agents will get carried away with doing all the talking when on the phone with a prospective client. This can either hurt you, or help you, depending on the type of call. If it is a cold call, then it is best to do more of the talking. However, if this is a discovery call, then you need to press mute and let the customer talk. Listen to their needs, and engage back in a 50-50 manner.

That first call can make a world of difference in how much and how often you sell. You will want to get the customer at the right time, with the right tactics. When a customer feels informed, listened to, and genuinely helped, they will be more likely to want to want to work with you. Set the bar so high, that even if they do decide to go with your competition, they will demand nothing but the best. And when they don’t get it, they will know doing business with you is the right choice. Make that first call count!

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