Back to Basics on How to Improve Customer Care

Figuring out how to improve customer care is one of the age old thought exercises and conundrums of the business world. The customer is king, and any business worth its salt knows this. As a result, there have been any number of philosophies and sciences formulated around this topic, and that’s not a bad thing. Advanced theories and philosophies on the topic of customer care are a wonderful thing to have and to contribute to.

Unfortunately, sometimes with any problem, we just need to get back to basics, and look at the problem from practical, common sense perspectives. This applies to how to improve customer care, as with anything else. While theories and sciences are terrific, there’s something to be said for real world experience applied through learning, to solve a problem.

For a moment, let’s just look at this with this point of view, with all of the dynamics, logistics and business models and theories set aside. Let us look at this through the eyes of the customers, and what they want or expect out of their experience with a service and the company which renders it.

As human beings, we appreciate being appreciated. We like to know that when we patronize a business, that they are grateful for our choice of their service. We like to know that the company respects that their success and continued perseverance is solely due to our choosing to use them.

With this in mind, one of the most important things is to show appreciation of our customers. Not only does this include the a priori “service with a smile”, but it also includes rewarding them for loyalty. Let’s take inspiration from companies like airlines and ISPs which provide discounts or free upgrades to customers who have been with them for a period of time. Let’s show our customers that we appreciate them, that we respect them and that we want to give back a little, after they’ve given so much to make us what we are today.

Second, customers hate red tape. One can’t really blame them, honestly. Red tape like this shows up mostly when it comes to handling customer service and problem resolution. It’s been said a million times that hold times and slow responses through help desks are something that is severely detrimental to the customer experience.

We as businesses must spend more time working on how to make this aspect less horrible, as it’s one of the glaring flaws in customer care in modern times. We need to spend a little money fully staffing our call centers, and we need to adopt new technologies to remove ancient help desk systems that clearly don’t work.

Finally, let’s not jump the shark with technologies, at the same time. We’re all guilty of being a little biased toward people who have access to the latest and greatest gadgets. This results in us requiring customers to have a mobile phone for texting or calls, or to have some kind of high speed connection to access some digital feature we’re offering.

Some people have no way of accessing these things, some people choose not to have them because they either feel no need for them, or don’t want to be bothered with them. Let’s be forgiving of those who’re not yet interested in the mobile trend, because there are still many out there who are not.

Of honorable mention in this vein is being more forgiving of payment methods too. Not everyone uses credit cards, and thus supporting less obnoxious payment gateways such as PayPal (without card validation) is a great way to improve our customer care.

Customers just don’t want nonsense, or to feel put upon just to use our services. These are just basic ingredients for how to improve customer care.

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is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe