No matter how excellent you think your business is, or how competitive your product, when it comes to building a loyal customer base, the reality is that what customers are most likely to remember is the direct contact they’ve had with your business.
As a commercial gas and electricity supplier working in a highly saturated and competitive energy market, we understand the importance of looking after our customers in order to develop relationships with them, ultimately leading to loyalty and trust.
We’re proud to have a 5* Excellent Trust Pilot rating, and a plethora of repeat customers that underpin our growth and stability in what can be a capricious market, highly influenced by a “switch and save” mentality.
In this post, we share our top 10 tips to delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Tip 1: Make it personal
We’ve all heard it before – people buy, (and keep buying), from people. Therefore, show your customers that you’re human. Give them the opportunity to know you and demonstrate that you’re interested and have empathy for their situation. Whether they’re a new or long-standing customer; whether they’re connecting with you because they have a query or complaint, developing a rapport with a customer will make resolving conflict easier and a long-term relationship infinitely more possible.
Tip 2: Be honest & transparent
Always make sure that you are straight talking with your customers. Baffling them with industry jargon will do nothing but confuse them, so speak to them in the language of their world and not yours. Be honest at all times. All businesses make occasional mistakes and it’s important to own up to these rather than try to hide the truth. Your customers will respect you more for owning up and this will ultimately help to build a trusted relationship with them.
Tip 3: Feedback, feedback, feedback
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Giving your customers the opportunity to let you and others know how they feel about you gives them a voice and makes them feel that their opinions and experiences count.
Tip 4: Learn from experience
It’s great asking for feedback, but you should also use it to assess your performance and improve customer experience. Good customer service is a continuous learning process. Companies that use feedback to measure their performance at a business, team and individual level, as well as question how they may improve, develop a deep understanding of themselves and their customers.
Tip 5: The customer always comes first
The very best customer care professionals understand the need to accept feedback, no matter how negative and keep their calm at all times. Being patient and empathetic about your customers situation is essential, even if you don’t necessarily agree with their perspective.
Tip 6: Think of the future
Each conversation you have with your customer represents a point in their journey with you that greatly influences your future relationship with them, as well as your reputation and potential referral business. By valuing the relationships that you have with your customers and paying attention to their experience, you’ll underpin the future success of your business.
Tip 7: Be self-aware
Know what you do well, and do not be afraid to admit when you don’t have the answers. Over promising leads to a miss-match between customer expectation and experience and will be interpreted as dishonest. It’s always better to be honest and manage expectations, even if that means you’ll need to ask someone else for advice or pass the customer to someone more knowledgeable.
Tip 8: Hire the right people
Great customer service starts by hiring people with the competencies and personality traits suited to operating within a customer-oriented environment. From your sales staff, through to your operational, back-office and customer service professionals, each employee must be capable of delivering a consistent experience throughout the customer lifecycle. It’s also important to think of the dynamics within your customer services department and ensure that the people you hire fit the culture and dynamics of the existing team.
Tip 9: Value your values
Most organisations now boast a set of corporate values. However, values in themselves are meaningless unless they underpin how that company operates each time it deals with all of the key stakeholders to its business. It’s highly worth developing operational guiding principles that set out exactly how the core values should come to life in your dealings with stakeholders (internal as well as external). By nurturing a culture based on values, you’ll encourage your people to be happy at work, and in turn they’ll share that happiness with your customers.
Tip 10: It’s an attitude, not a department
The responsibility for delivering exceptional customer care lies with each member of your business, not just your customer services department. To succeed, we believe that organisations should put customer care at the very core of the business, gaining feedback as frequently as possible and focus on continual improvement. Each individual, from the business owner, to the newest member of the team, has an important role in the development of a culture that delivers great customer service and turns the customer relationship from supplier to trusted partner.
To talk to United Gas & Power about how your business can benefit from a business energy supplier that truly puts you first, call us on 0844 3180044.