Not only is customer service important, it may, in fact, be the most important thing you attend to each day. There is evidence that some other industries are shifting from a supply-driven to a demand-driven model. While the field of insurance is quite a bit different from many other industries, customer service is still a top priority.
In Forbes Magazine, entrepreneur Matt Mickiewicz wrote, “Treat your customers as if they were newspaper reporters.” More than ever before, clients are sharing their experiences on the internet. That’s an army of citizen journalists publishing across platforms from Facebook and Yelp. Customers are connecting with friends and strangers on a daily basis through the web, and this can help or hurt you. Staying on top of your internet presence — and responding kindly and in a genuine way to negative feedback people have posted about you — is vitally important.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AS A MARKETING INVESTMENT
Never think of a client’s criticism as an invitation to argue, or a contest you need to win. Think of it as an opportunity to market another benefit of working with you: you value your clients’ concerns and take them seriously. When you can turn a negative interaction into a chance to listen to and retain that customer, you’ve just leveraged that relationship. In this way, you will gain not only the client’s trust and loyalty, but their platform. If you can successfully salvage the relationship, the happy client will tell everyone they know about how you are willing to go above and beyond for your clients.
EDUCATING AND EMPOWERING STAFF
Not only should staff be trained to treat customers with respect, even in conflict, they should also be able to deal with lower-level grievances without having to ask a supervisor. Your staff is the first point of contact for clients, and empowering them to rectify customer issues immediately will please customers and can keep the situation from escalating. Make sure the staff knows what situations they can deal with quickly and confidently. Also, be sure to train them on how to handle issues that will require a supervisor’s attention. Effective training can be the difference between a client feeling like they’re getting the runaround and one who feels valued enough to warrant you spending your time with them to find a solution.
Customer service is incredibly important in the arena of sales. But it is a skill that you can hone and excel at, which will delight your customers. By monitoring your online presence, treating service as a billboard for your business and empowering staff to deal with issues quickly when they arise, your business will be poised to receive glowing customer recommendations. That’s advertising that money cannot buy.