Note: While the title says, “19 Industry Experts…” you’ll see that the post features over 25 industry experts (at this time of writing, at least).
We will continue to grow this post since we hope to make it the ultimate hub where people who need help with providing stellar customer support can go to.
That being said, if you’d like to be included in the list and you have an important tip that you can share about providing stellar customer support, then please reach out to us.
The customer is king! That is a creed that most (if not all) successful businesses live and die by.
Take good care of your customers, and your business will grow. Treat your customers poorly and you can say goodbye to your business.
Competition is cutthroat in the realm of business; companies do all sorts of marketing gimmicks to capture the attention of prospective customers.
The good news is, not many of these businesses give as much emphasis on customer loyalty. For some reason, a good number of these businesses are only keen on acquiring new customers, and are neglecting to provide stellar customer support to their existing customers.
If you fall within that bracket, and are looking for ways to start providing stellar customer support, then you’re in the right place.
We’ve asked 19 experts from different industries for tips on how to provide the best customer service. If you’ll pay heed to their tips, you’ll surely get the information that you need to transform your company.
Let’s dig in.
1. Megan Dougherty – Firepolemarketing.com
We do not believe in “Customer Service” as it’s generally understood. What we try to practice is partnership.
Partnership, to us, means that we will do absolutely everything in our power to help, support, encourage and serve someone who is as invested in their success as we are. When someone is NOT invested in their own success – and does not approach our content in the spirit of partnership, then we fulfill our terms of service to the best of our abilities – but that is all.
Partnership means that two parties, in this case us and our students are both working towards a mutual outcome – the success of our students, and so calling it customer service would be a misnomer. We are not merely serving – we are actively working towards this outcome, and we expect the same of our community members
This takes a lot of time and energy (we currently have 8 full time people to work with our students in this way!), but it gives our work so much meaning, and allows us to have real relationships with our students.
So I guess that is my biggest customer service tip – if you can avoid framing the relationship as customer-provider, and look at it as partnership, you’ll get the best possible outcomes.”
2. Deborah Sweeney – MyCorporation.com
“Follow-up after completing an order. This has to be one of the easiest, quickest, and most effective ways to beef up customer service. One of the most common complaints we hear from new customers who used competing services is that, once they paid for their order, they never heard from the company again. Their order was processed, shipped, and closed. That just sends the wrong message – that, once you get paid, you don’t care about your customers anymore. I’ve integrated following-up after an order is completed into the sales process since it helps ensure our customers are happy with their order, and if there are problems, we get to nip them at the bud before anyone feels they have to officially complain.”
3. Michel Fortin – Workaholics4hire.com
“Customer support is a disguised sales position as far as we look at things at Workaholics4Hire.com. It’s what happens AFTER the sale is made. Everything on the frontend — the website, the sales copy, the advertising — all of that is happening before the sale is made.
But what happens afterwards is just as important. It’s the part that makes or breaks a business in the long run. And it’s also the part that many business owners ignore.
You can have beautiful product launches. You can advertise your face off. You can do everything it takes to attract customers. But if you don’t follow through on the other side of things, if you don’t make the backend seamless, if you don’t make it possible for people to connect with you on a personal level, then you’re going to end up with the kinds of customers you DON’T want.
Stellar customer support is creating the systems on that backend to retain customers, to reduce refund as much as possible, and to make it possible for customers to love you and not just buy from you. Your philosophy on how you run your customer support has to be customer-focused; not business-focused. Because customer support has nothing to do with you.
This is where a lot of people drop the ball. They think, “Well, if I’m hiring a customer support rep, then they are my employee.” No, they’re NOT. They work for your customer. They are your customer’s advocate. They represent the customer to you, not the other way around. They shouldn’t answer to you.
Customer Advocates, as we like to call them, are your liaison between the world/public and the way that you run your business, because when you are in your business it’s very often easy to ignore big signs that there’s a problem.
Business people don’t know what their customers see. They’re so busy in the back-office wondering why they’re not making money that they’re not seeing what the customer sees. So walk through the purchase process, from the front to the back.
Take some time to go through the entire process, like your own customers. Go through the front door. See what your customers see. Get down on the floor and see the “dirt” your customers are looking at. And you have to be willing to do that with open eyes and an open heart.
And that’s what your customer support team needs to be doing for you. They are the voice of your customers. They are not the voice of your politics. They’re not there to please and appease customers. They are there to make sure the customers are getting what they want out of your business.
That’s critical and oftentimes the sole determinant of how successful your business becomes — and how successful it remains.”
4. Kevin Rocci – Magoosh.com
“Be a Teacher
Great customer support is not about speed, and it’s not about handle time. The true measure of greatness for a customer support team, and any customer support agent, is how much you teach your customers. Be a teacher—not a customer support specialist!
Ask anyone—who was your favorite teacher? The responses will be diverse, but there will be a common thread among the teachers mentioned. The teachers cared about them, empathized with them, and helped them to achieve something they didn’t think possible.
Delivering great customer support is no different.
Think of yourself as a teacher when handling issues with customers. Listen to what their issue is. Empathize with how they are feeling and their situation. Find a solution that solves the problem right now. Then do something truly unique. Begin to teach that person. Provide that person with something extra. Teach them so that they can do something they couldn’t do before. Maybe it’s as simple as teaching them about your Knowledge Base or Help Center. Maybe it’s teaching them how to use the feature so they don’t need to ask the question again. The goal should be to empower the person you are helping so that they can help themselves next time.
At Magoosh, we are incredibly lucky because we work with students and part of our goal is to teach them. But I’ve seen how this mindset of teaching is so helpful in every aspect of customer support. Whether a student wants help resetting their password or figuring out how to review questions from their practice test, we are always approach each student and each problem as a teacher, and I think that’s why we are able to maintain such a high customer satisfaction rating (98%).”
5. Alex Hillsberg – FinancesOnline.com
Alex Hillsberg is a leader of a team of experts writing software reviews for FinancesOnline.com, a top review platform for companies looking for B2B and SaaS solutions.
“Use customer support to get more customers
Many companies don’t realize that customer support is a great sales tool. You can leverage it to get new customers (or upsell to an existing customer). For example, start dishing out customer support to your qualified leads even before they become customers.
Buyers today take the initiative to assess you and won’t wait for your sales rep. This is highlighted in the latest Google/Millward report. They do online research to check your social proofs and read customer feedback about you.
In the SaaS industry (which is my area of expertise), I believe the best way for vendors to showcase exemplary support is to give it to prospects who subscribe to a free trial offer and make an impression on them right away. Give them the attention early on and they’ll carry this positive opinion about you throughout their relationship with you. That means not only replying to their email queries when they have a question, but assisting them through the free trial phase, when they likely need help. Don’t wait for their questions because many won’t bother to ask; they’ll just leave out of frustration.
Of course, you cannot attend to all your leads, so you need to qualify the prospects with the most promise. Run your metrics on how to identify these promising leads. One good technique is to provide proactive customer support like sending prospects the next tutorial stage, one email at a time. Those who accept the offer, you know, are interested, so you move them further down to the next tutorial stage until, at the last email, they’re ready for a paid plan. That’s customer support with a direct ROI.”
6. Sean Ogle – Seanogle.com
“The one best customer service I’ve got is pretty simple: reply to email – personally. When people get an email from me, especially one in a timely manner, it says a lot about the business and my commitment to them. Even though it might take a few extra hours each week to give email a bit more personal attention, I’ve found it’s paid off both financially and in the relationships I’ve grown through the business.”
7. Penny Gardner – Careeraddict.com
“Sell to yourself
One of the most significant pieces of advice we would give is putting yourself in your clients’/customers’ shoes. How would you like to be approached when you called or contacted a customer service representative? No one would want to deal with a perpetual cycle of call transfers while slowly going insane because of the same loop of Kenny G soft jazz, you would want to talk to a single, very knowledgeable individual that will help you solve your issue with minimum exposure to aforementioned psychosis inducing soft jazz. You’re calling customer service soft jazz is unavoidable but the less of it you have to hear the better. You’d also want someone that treats you as a human being and your issue with a certain level of concern, if possible the same level of concern you have even if that’s an overly-optimistic expectation. Finally never forget that the person on the other side of the line needs help and you are the person they turned to, with great power comes great responsibility (I know that’s a Spiderman quote but it seems more than appropriate for the matter at hand).”
8. Kathryn Aragon – Kathrynaragon.com
“Treat them (your customers) as people, not just customers. Treating people with respect includes respecting their time, being polite, and giving them choices. Do that, and you’ll not only win their business but their loyalty as well.”
9. Sudipto Basu – Onecentatatime.com
“Stellar customer support comes from the ‘wow’ factor. Do something for the customer when it’s least expected. Offering to return items even after the return by date, is one such example. Other examples could be offering alternate solution when what customer is asking for can’t be met.
A customer is the lifeline for any business, they are also the investment for future growth. One happy customer can bring 5 other customers to the business. On the other hand if you lose one customer then you are in-fact losing unlimited number of future customers.
So invest a portion of your revenue in improving your customer service.
For my blog readers, I always try to provide superior content so that they get more than what they asked for in a Google search bar. I improve so that my regular readers are ever engaged and are always wait for the next article to come out.
In social and online economy not only the good words spread out loud and fast, the bad words also go viral and go on to kill businesses. Never let customers complain.”
10. Prof. Arpan Kumar Kar – Business-fundas.com
“Today depending on the business nature and its dynamics, customers engage with the firm through multiple communications channels like email, facebook, twitter, and other offline channels. It is important to listen to the voice of the customer at all times. Typically every highly satisfied customer brings in 3 times the revenue from his own business and from his network, as compared to if he is less than satisfied. And don’t forget the consequences of customer churn. It takes 5 times more cost to acquire a new customer than it takes to retain one. In view of these facts and statistics, it is of utmost important to develop systems and enable them using technological platforms. Social CRM is one such on the cloud kind of platforms which may enable you to listen and address your customers in a way that benefits their business and yours. You may be able to connect and leverage upon the knowledge residing in your customer networks to actually design or redesign your offerings in line with the needs of the market. Further the analytics may enable you to leverage upon the data and make informed business decisions.”
11. Chance Madsen – Socialbarrel.com
“The best I can say is to listen deeply both to the people you are helping and to the data you are looking at. Make sure that everyday your main goal is to be the absolute best that you know you can be and do not be afraid to be different as this is what makes businesses great.”
12. Melissa Bolton – Themogulmom.com
“When it comes down to it, as entrepreneurs we’re selling solutions, not products. That’s why making an emotional connection with customers is so important. Anyone can sell a product, but your customer is buying into you. By providing offerings that make our customers’ lives better and by going above and beyond to ensure they’re thrilled, we strive to not only earn mindshare, but true loyalty. Brand evangelists are worth their weight in gold. “
13. Mike Vardy – Productivityist.com
“I think the best tip I can offer is to ensure – even when starting out – that you have a separate email account just for customer support. Too many solopreneurs use email filters instead to segment out the types of email they are receiving but if you have a separate account for sales-oriented queries and deliverables (like Productivityist did even when it was just me handling them), it allows you to see them and focus on them almost immediately which keeps them from falling through the cracks. In addition, once you are able to bring on someone on board for customer and sales support, you simply hand over the keys to them with virtually no friction involved.”
14. Marko Saric – Howtomakemyblog.com
“One best tip for providing stellar customer support is to actually acknowledge the customers writing to you and do your best to help them out. A recent study I’ve done showed that 87% of all customer posts were ignored by brands in social media. So if you can do this part right you will be ahead of the majority of other brands on social. Acknowledge your customer, try and help out, or at least refer the customer to the best place where they can get help. This will work wonders and improve your relationship with your customers.”
15. Jesse Eisenstein – Webpagefx.com
“Aside from genuine politeness and positive language, it’s always helpful to ask if a customer fully understands a service or report. Using data points and comparison metrics such as month-over-month and year-over-year help many customers visualize results better and can help them be more excited about growing their business. Going that extra mile to translate data for your customers demonstrates you truly care about and understand their business.”
16. Tresha Moreland – hrcsuite.com
“The best customer service advice I have comes down to one word – listen.
Companies over time tend to get lost in their own policies, procedures and methods, that listening to the customer has almost become a lost art. Think about it. As a customer ourselves we are told what to like, how to dress, what to eat, and what care products to use. In essence, customers are ushered into pre-made boxes without another thought.
A successful business leader or owner will leverage the lost art of listening. By mastering the skill of listening, a business can become innovative leader in the marketplace.
I do have a featured article on customer service if you wish to include it:
17. Branden Williams – Brandenwilliams.com
“My biggest tip is: Be sincere. People can read your body language and know if you don’t really mean what you say.
My post on customer service remains one of my most popular.
18. Inan Iftekhar – Pagewiz.com
“When you are conversing with a customer – think of him/her as your friend, and act/talk the way you do when trying to help a close friend achieve their goal. I’ve found that this approach helps me maintain a positive attitude, and keeps clients happy time and time again.”
19. Charlie Nadler – Simplemachinesmarketing.com
“Client support always goes smoother when you set expectations. Set clear expectations for meetings and for next steps so that there’s no confusion or unpleasant surprises.”
20. Roland Hanekroot, Owner and Founder of New Perspectives Business Coaching
Existing customers are your greatest source of new prospects. Prospects who are referred to you from existing happy customers are far more likely to buy from you than any other prospects. They buy quicker and more and are less likely to want to haggle over price. Best of all, you don’t need to spend money on marketing to have them come to you. I often say to my clients: Consider your annual marketing budget, stop spending half of that money and spend the remaining half on turning your existing customers into Raving Fans, people who go out of their way to refer their friends families and colleagues to you.
Ask yourself, every day: How can I deliver just that little bit more than my customers expect, every day, across all facets of your business: Quality, delivery time, friendliness, access to warranty, service and maintenance, responsiveness, cleanliness, you name it.
They say you never get a second chance at making a first impression and in your quest to turn your customers into Raving Fans, the first thing to consider is how your customer support staff answer the phone. Start there and then work your way through all the other aspects of your relationship with your customers. It will change your business and your life… I promise you.
21. Jon Covey, Multi Award Winning Success Coach at JonCovey.com
I feel many people put lots of energy and focus on providing the greatest customer support, yet fail to realise that they need customers to support before they can offer stellar customer support.
What do I mean? Simply put, get the customers first… Dedicate a significant proportion of your time generating new business, winning new clients and selling more product.
I’m a firm believer that you have to give more than you get and not a huge fan of the term win/win. You see the only win should be for your client, give them so much that they want to not only work with you but want to recruit and hire you! ‘Give more than you get, and eventually, you will get more than you give’.
So to summarize, if you want to provide the greatest customer support, first get the client, then give them everything you have to give, and when you feel you have amazed yourself in the execution and delivery, give a little more. This extra 5% is all it takes to disrupt the entire market because everyone stops short of the 100%, by you going all the way and beyond, the market is wide open for you to take.
Give more than you get! That’s my number 1 tip for giving world rocking stellar customer support.
22. Jennifer Dawn, Owner and Founder of Jennifer Dawn Coaching
Focus on just one big problem to solve for your clients and then do it better than anybody else in the world. In today’s market it’s very easy to solve lots of issues for our clients, but then our offering can get watered down, and we feel stretched thin trying to be an expert in so many different areas. My solution to extraordinary customer service has been to focus on doing one thing really, really well. Not only can I deliver better results for my clients, I enjoy my work more because who does not love being the very best in their field!
23. Tammy Adams, Founder of The Local Small Business Coach Podcast
Over the past 30+ years of working with customers and clients in various fields and businesses, a nugget I learned a long time ago is just as true today as it was 30 years ago, Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.
When you have a team, they are the face of your company. They interact with most, if not all your customers and clients. You personally can be the poster child of customer service, but if your team doesn’t believe in your customer service vision, or feel you are just as passionate about them, why on earth would they provide great customer service?
Your folks need to feel that you care about them just as much as you do your customers or clients. You already know that great customer service comes from listening to your customers, resolving their problems, coaching them along the way and helping them with a smile and genuine concern. Guess what? That is all your employees want from you as well.
So if you want to take your customer service to the next level, then make sure you employee customer service is top notch too!
24. Adrian Miller, President & Founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training
Stellar customer support means doesn’t mean that the customer is always right but they are always the customer and so if you want to retain and grow their business you will attempt to make them feel appreciated, recognized and ultimately satisfied with your product or service.
25. Patricia Fripp, Presentation Expert at FrippVT.com
To improve service every team members says, “Consider it done” to each client request and follow through.
26. Jack Daly, CEO of Professional Sales Coach
Ask questions and listen.
27. Donald C. Kelly, Chief Sales Evangelist at TheSalesEvangelist.com
One thing I alway share with my podcast community and clients is that in order to be successful, you need to treat others the way THEY would like to be treated. This essentially is the idea of empathy. Too often businesses seek first to fulfill their own needs and growth objectives, that they neglect to offer their buyer’s the thing they need the most. Often time this leads to a disconnect and a decline in customer retention. However, when businesses seek first to help their clients find success, the business in a whole will increase in sales. Therefore, help your customers by giving them what they want and they will help you achieve what you need.
28. Peter Gianoli, Sales & Marketing Strategist, Author, and Public Speaker at Petergianoli.com
The best tip I can offer when it comes to providing stellar customer support is to always deliver Awesome Cutomer Service. You should not be satisified with just providing good or great customer service as this will simply result in your customer continuing to do business with you. An Awesome Customer Service advocate does not rest until their customer becomes an ambassador for your business and is so satisfied with your service they will go out of their way to promote your business to their own network.
Believe it or not achieving this is often quite simple, generally all you have to do is honour your marketing messages and pledges.
29. Kim Orlesky, The Leading Sales Coach at KimOrlesky.com
Customer support comes from really listening to the client. Too often we hear a problem and we immediately want to solve it. However the client needs to have acknowledgement that you’ve heard them, feel validated if they are upset, have the problem reiterated back to them to test for understanding, and then offer a solution with the ask, “would that make your experience with us better?”. With this approach you aren’t just solving the problem you are creating a client that is brought back to loving their experience with your company.
30. Vladimir Gendelman — CompanyFolders.com
The key to providing great customer service is to provide unexpected services. For example, we don’t use the automated attendant on our phone system. We always answer the phone right away so customers don’t waste time navigating prompts. This allows us to learn more about the customers, their needs and their businesses by speaking with them directly. We also extend our services past the point of purchase by offering a lifetime warranty on all of our products. We put our money where our mouth is and provide long-lasting quality in a way no other printer does by providing this service.
If there are customer service tips that you feel we should added in the post, please share it in the comments section below.
We’ll be more than happy to update the post and add your tips in it.
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