The Internet. Social media. With the advance of digital technology, customers have changed. Today they can connect directly and faster, publically broadcasting their loyalty to your company, or their complaints. But, whether you own a valet company, parking garage or any other type of business, you can still delight your modern customer with five customer service tips that combine tried-and-true best practices with a few digital-age updates.
#1 Hire the Right People
Having a great customer service team isn’t enough. Great customer service happens when you maintain a high level of customer service across all departments and points of contact with your business. To achieve this, you’ll need to take the time to hire the right employees. Your agents are your company’s ambassadors. Once you’ve hired them, make sure they’re well trained so they feel empowered to make on-the-spot decisions. Then keep them happy by treating them as well as your customers. Offer competitive pay and benefits. Provide a clearly defined path of promotion. Make the job fun through rewards. If you hire and retain exceptional staff, they’ll deliver exceptional customer service.
#2 Make a Great First Impression
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is even more true as customers have become more connected. So give your agents the support and incentive to wow new customers. A relationship that starts off strong will be much more likely to stay strong. Customer engagement company Thunderhead.com found that 20% of customers stop trusting a company after one bad experience, and a 1/4 of them will instantly switch brands. If you’re in the valet or parking business, this is even more crucial as your staff may be the first, and final, encounter a customer has with a business. Two very memorable moments that can make a lasting impression.
#3 Manage and Exceed Expectations
Let customers know what they can expect. Then, exceed those expectations. Customers will know you’re willing to go the extra mile, and you won’t have to worry about unmet expectations. If you offer a guarantee, honor it. If you say you’ll respond to emails in 24 hours or tell a specific client you’ll call them by Monday, then commit to that. You can’t earn the trust and respect of your customers unless you deliver on promises. Also make sure you’re accessible. Today’s customers expect instant access and fast responses. So offer plenty of ways to contact your business like phone, email and social media. Then make sure these channels are easy to manage and well staffed.
#4 Always Take the High Road
Even if you’re dealing with an angry, rude, complaining or demanding customer, treat them with respect. Instead of arguing, train your employees to focus on what’s occurred and how to best resolve the situation. Scripted dialogue and emails can also provide your staff with the right tone and tools for tough conversations like these. If your business did make a mistake, admit it, apologize and do whatever it takes to make the situation right. Your customers will appreciate it and stay loyal.
#5 Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Too often, customer service is reactive. This happens when a business only communicates with customers when they reach out with complaints. “When customer service management systems operate proactively with customer experience solutions and are able to anticipate customer needs before they occur, you’ll have a more satisfied customer.” says Rita Tochner, head of corporate marketing at Pontis. Utilize big data, customer suggestion cards, or input from staff to proactively address issues before they become problems. You might also offer your employees incentives to brainstorm ways to impress and better serve customers.
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Follow us on social media for more customer service best practices, insights, updates and inspiration that will help your business grow and thrive in today’s market. If you’re a valet company or parking service looking for a professional kiosk to greet and serve your customers, we can help with that too! Contact The Valet Spot today at 877-977-8733 and we’ll work with you to create a custom valet or parking station that’s perfect for your company.