In the cutthroat world of 21st-century retail, whether face-to-face or telephonic, there is little room for poor customer service. People who are treated badly just never call or come back. There are several things companies can do to increase customer satisfaction through exemplary customer service. Some of them should be obvious; others are less so.

1. Be Polite, Friendly, and Firm

customer serviceAlways treat the customer with respect. Answer all questions truthfully. If you don’t know the answer, you should know where to go or whom to ask to find it. Never be wishy-washy. State things confidently and never promise something unattainable “just to get the sale.” Never allow the customer to control any conversation. You are the expert. That being said, never be mean, condescending, or rude. Also, remember that saying, “No,” is not rude if it is truthful.

2. Take Accountability and Provide Solutions

No one likes to hear, “I’m sorry, but that’s not my department.” Empower your representatives to handle as many tasks as is practicable. If the situation comes to a head, back your representative within the limits of company guidelines. If the representatives are to be accountable for making decisions as part of the process of solving a customer’s problems, then they must be given the authority to make those decisions.

Provide for situations that require the company to give adequate recompense to the customer. Codify a clear and concise set of guidelines. Of course, it is impossible to plan for every contingency, so it is essential to empower someone in the chain of command to use his or her discretion to satisfy a customer. Never undermine your representative, however, because it creates unnecessary tension and discontent, which might lead to uncaring and poor performance on the part of the representative.

3. Create Value

Whether you consider “value” to include top-quality products for reasonable prices, efficient, polite, and effective customer service, or both, it pays to make the customer feel valued. Customers who think that your company cares about them will return even if your prices are higher than those of the competition because they feel valued. In the modern age, streamlined customer service provided through social media and/or smartphone apps will go a long way toward providing value. Many people prefer the speed and ease of one or two gestures rather than even the shortest phone call.

core valueHow Do You Know if Your Strategy is Working or Not?

Over the last 40 years, the concept of big data visualization has been integral to the science of data collection. There are dozens of possible metrics by which you can measure your company’s performance, such as age, income bracket, gender, and cultural strata. It would be impossible to look at a gigantic wall of raw data and know exactly what you have.

Big data visualization collates the data into substrata that you define beforehand. For example, let’s say you want to know how your new customer service program is affecting widget sales among women between the ages of 18 and 25. From a compiled database, you could use a filtering algorithm to see how those women answered survey questions at the end of their retail experiences. Based on their answers, you could make decisions about either changing your customer service policies or keeping them the same.

Big data visualization tools also include graphs, charts, trend forecasts, and other physical manifestations of the desired data. Through the power of the most modern computers, you can manipulate such data and present it in almost any combination. When using such big data visualization tools, there a few simple rules to follow to maximize comprehension of the data:

  • Present the data so that it appears more important than the metrics themselves.
  • Encourage the comparison of data sets.
  • Compare several sets of data from the broadest overview to the smallest detail.
  • Above all, be clear in the presentation of the data.

By following these precepts and using advanced big data visualization tools, you can accurately assess performance, see the effectiveness of retaining old and attracting new customers, and potently analyze trends.

Once you have determined what your customers prefer, both in terms of products and customer service options, you can make decisions for the good of your business that are grounded in facts borne out by analysis and big data visualization.