8 Strategies to Improve Customer Service

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What do the industries of software, heating and cooling, insurance, painting, and plumbing all have in common? Every one of them must provide an exceptional customer experience in order to remain competitive. We asked eight local business leaders of companies both large and small to share with us their philosophies on customer service. Plus, we added in some insight from one of the largest crowd-sourced review forums—Yelp. We hope you gain as much from their wisdom as we did.

“Whether we like it or not, the customer expectation of quality service is rising because of all the businesses that are really doing it well. We're seeing more companies promote their values and culture, building a more meaningful experience. That shows up in the balance sheet. The bar is constantly being raised, and when we create a more memorable experience, it benefits both our clients and our team.”

-Brian Schutt, Owner, Homesense Heating and Cooling

"Great customer service starts with engaged employees. Think about some great customer experiences you've had—they almost certainly involved an employee who went above and beyond. Companies that invest in their customer-facing team members and empower them to make decisions will see that translate into better service and higher customer satisfaction scores."

-Nicole Klemp, Content Marketing Manager, Emplify

“Your customer calls you because you’re an expert in your field. They may not know all the proper terminology so it’s very important to remain patient while trying to fully understand and grasp the issue at hand. Equally as important is empathy because it lets the customer know that they are dealing with someone real. They feel more secure and confident in their choice of a provider because you can relate to their issue and reassure them that you are going to be able to take are of it right away.”

-Kara Schaefer, Customer Service Training Coach, Hope Plumbing

“Today, people expect fast and impactful service, and in markets where products have become more homogeneous, service is often the only differentiator for your brand. To ensure Seven Corners consistently delivers excellent customer care, we promote a company culture that empowers team members to develop innovative and thoughtful solutions for our customers. To help with this, we have innovation contests where team members identify methods for improving service levels. This approach has worked well—in many cases, we’ve seen surprising enhancements with big impacts for our customers.”

-Justin Tysdal, CEO and Co-founder, Seven Corners

“In the competitive world of software and technology, it’s important to remember that innovation is driven by customers’ needs consistently. In order to provide exceptional customer service, take the time to understand the customer’s needs, and then work towards solving that critical problem. Taking this step will not only ensure a positive customer experience but will dramatically improve your odds of successful innovation.”

-Kevin MacCauley, Founder and CEO, Upper Hand

“Customer service plays an incredibly crucial role when it comes to having a strong or poor rating on Yelp. Our search and data mining team found that if a yelper mentions good customer service, they are more than five times as likely to give a five star review rather than a one star. Consumers are looking for knowledgeable staff that will go the extra mile to find answers, explain the product, and above all else, do it with warm and friendly energy. Something as simple as a smile and greeting when a customer walks in the door goes a long way in creating a warm and positive experience.”

-Brittany Smith, Midwest Associate Director of Community & Marketing, Yelp

“My customer service philosophy is simple: Indianapolis is a big small town. If I treat a customer or prospect unfairly, I will eventually run into that person at… the coffee shop, a restaurant, a Pacers game, etc. This has been my motto for years and has never let me down.”

- Scott Schmitt, Owner, GreenBrush Painters

"Starting a business is easier than ever before, but sustaining and growing it is also more difficult than ever due to increased competition and customer expectations. Offering a proprietary product or service is difficult and rare. Businesses must differentiate themselves from everyone else and they can do that in the form of exceptional customer service. Training employees to see the problem from the customer’s point of view is one of the most important aspects of great customer service because it puts everyone on the same team, instead of a combative, “I'm right...you're wrong” interaction”

-Mike Feldman, Real Estate Agent and Partner, Corbett & Company Real Estate

Research shows most businesses lose between 10-15% customers each year. BoxScore is a feedback tool to gather real-time assessments on your customer interactions. We believe real-time feedback enables real-time results. With BoxScore, businesses have been able to increase their customer retention rates by at least 10% and in most situations saving just one customer who had a bad experience pays for the BoxScore subscription. To learn more, or to get a free trial, visit www.boxscoreme.com.

Bill Burke