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I waited at their concierge for an hour. After which the receptionist informed, the meeting has been cancelled.

Or,

As soon as I reached their concierge, the receptionist guided me to the Director’s cabin, for the scheduled meeting.

Which is an example of a good customer service experience?

In an ever-challenging market industry, customers have choices. They want quality, value and an experience to take home. Brands, on the other hand, are struggling on roadblocks of their own. They deal with growing market competition and consumer’s dwindling attention span.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rightly states that, “If we can arrange things in a way that our interests are aligned well with our customers, then in the long term that will work out really well for customers.It will work out really well for Amazon.”

Jeff is far ahead of his counterparts in customer service. Sole reason being, he works with an inventive, research-based and customer-driven mind-set. Jeff believes in creating ‘value’ for his customers.His team finds concrete proof of what will work out and what will not.

Let me share with you 8 awesome customer-service tricks to help your brand stay fresh and relevant.

# 1 Live like your customer

Merely knowing your customer will not help. To succeed, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. I mean, literally. Gather as much information about your customer as you can, such as user demographics, their interests, the price decisions, income group, age group, education level, relationship status, to name a few.

Devote a day or two to a place your ideal customer would hangout or make a purchase.  Talk to your customers directly. Look for online channels where they are most likely to open-up. Only when you empathize and understand their aspirations: would you be able to create the right solutions for them.

# 2 See your customer

Your customer might not sit with you in boardroom meetings. He or she might not even know your name. That must not let you keep them out of mind. Whenever, you pin down a new product launch strategy or a sales-plan – imagine your customer. How will he or she react? Will they understand the message? Will they be willing to buy from you?

Marketing and sales plans are built around your customer and not the other way round. Be a trouble-shooter. Offer them what they are looking for, via the best channels you can. Strive to create a niche and relatable identity for your end-customer.

# 3 Listen to your customer

Carry out quarterly surveys to understand the immediate needs and concerns of your customer. Ask the right questions. Go to the right places. Explore new user markets and do the same. The more you probe you will likely get better answers.

Be a good-listener and tell your customers you ‘care’ for them. Request for customer feedbacks and suggestions. Create regular records of such important information. Brainstorm, compare and compile this data to improve the health of your products and services.

# 4 Show care, to you customer

Create slide-shares, e-books, e-guides, white papers your customer might need from you. Distribute free content, as much as possible. Show your customers you care. Attract potential customers by acting as a free knowledge resource.

Educate the customer what the product or service is about. Tell them that you genuinely care for their well-being. Offer valuable insights to what good you are offering them. Give them a reason to contact you for more clarifications and any assistance they might need regarding your offering.

# 5 Network smart

Bring targeted users to your brand on LinkedIn. Drive meaningful engagements by offering the right content. Initiate building client-centric relationships via LinkedIn groups and forums. Ask questions, answer queries, address user concerns. LinkedIn is a great platform to build authority. Let your customers know, you are working hard to fulfill their aspirations.

Build trust on this highly crowded yet channelized network. Pull in the right people. Offer them the best advice. Listen to their chants and rants. Appreciate their loyalty and trust in your brand. Create a LinkedIn culture for your company. Don’t forget to ‘wow’ your customers.

# 6 Get social

Your consumers are looking for you on social media channels, online discussions, review portals, competitor’s network, among others. Kick-start a blog to keep customers engaged. Send them e-mails to inform about new offers or to stay in touch.

Do not offer them an e-mail or a toll free number, when they ask for help. Shorten your response time by boosting personal interactions on social media. Share inspiring stories about your brand. Be proactive by offering instant help on your social media channels.

# 7 Pitch it right

Write precise and effective copy-writing. Do not mis-guide the customer, while creating adverts or offering information about products or services. Tell them whether an offer is absolutely free or has a hidden fee attached to it.

Do not fool the customer into buying any product or service, which they might regret later. Create customer-focused publishing material. Don’t be lazy to put in the research and effort to create an effective copy.

# 8 Pluck negativity

Clean the air of negative opinions, your customer might have of you. Religiously track changes in customer-satisfaction levels. Make sure your customers Google positive things about you. If you get criticized, be wise, to address it as soon as possible to maintain trust.

Don’t be shy to apologize and take the onus of the blame.Stay away from the blame-game, especially online. Never use your social media to argue with your competitors or to make your customers feel silly. Act mature.

Some more cute tricks…

# 9 Act friendly

Send hand-written post-cards to repeat customers. Remind them of events or thank them for their contribution. Just remember, a personalized, hand-written post-card will go a long way to create a lasting impression. It will ease recall and polish your customer-service skills.

Send post-cards at regular intervals. Just the excitement of receiving a very personal message will thrill your customers. Besides, it’s a cute and easy way to stay away from all that digital-clutter.

# 10 Don’t be too loud

When setting expectations, it is always a good practice to under-state your offering. Deliver more than what is expected. This will in turn help you gain more trust and followers.

Be punctual with delivery. This way you will never leave a customer complaining. In the long run, you will accumulate more positive feedback and appreciation. Setting the just the right expectation is a subtle way to delight your customers.

Stay Connected

Stay relevant. Interact with your customers. Give them a platform such as a forum, a social media channel to voice out their concerns. Do not settle for less. Strive hard to build result-oriented and satisfying experiences, across customer-service platforms.

Embrace change as part of the growing process. Learn from the best marketers and customer service experts. Incorporate new practices to personalize your customer-service.

To drive innovation and productivity, make ‘customer’ the nucleus of your business.

Pratik Kanada is Founder & CEO of 360 Degree Technosoft. His vision to re-innovate and re-set the technological trends. He likes to blog about ‘tech that touches life’. An avid reader, he loves interacting with bright spirited technocrats, in his spare time.  Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Image Credit: sprudge.com