3 Affordable Ways to Improve Your Customer Service

With the right formula, you can create and maintain cost-effective customer satisfaction.

Louis DeJianne | UPS

From predictive analytics to intelligent chatbots, innovation is paving new ground in customer service. But you don’t necessarily need a flashy (or costly) upgrade to make customers happy.

Along with a committed staff, a productive retail environment and a strong handle on what your customers want, here are a few low-cost ways you can take your service to new heights.

Show Gratitude

Lasting relationships are the backbone of most successful businesses. But those relationships have to be earned — and gratitude is one important piece of the puzzle.

This means going beyond saying thank you. It means putting higher value on your customer’s time, patronage and feedback.

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Lasting relationships are the backbone of most successful businesses.

Retailers have ample face time with shoppers. However, during the brief transaction, sales associates must usually ask if shoppers are paying with the house-brand credit card as a way to encourage sign-ups.

While it’s doubtful that such a profitable selling tactic will go away, allowing associates to simply thank every fifth or sixth customer for coming in that day, without a sales pitch, could go a long way.

Conversely, businesses that have little or no face time with customers, such as e-commerce sites, might consider serving an automated pop-up message to thank a frequent customer as soon as they click order.

Of course it’s critically important to provide an easy and convenient way for customers to talk with you and buy from you.

But there’s danger in overlooking the power that sincere appreciation can have on a positive customer experience.

Listen to Your Employees

Decades of studies have shown that happy employees contribute to happier customers. But a recent Harvard Business Review article asserts that you shouldn’t always start with your customer-facing employees.

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Happy employees contribute to happier customers.

Customer service and customer satisfaction are equally affected by back-of-house services such as inventory management and order fulfillment.

Listening to your employees in all roles costs little or nothing and can often lead to small changes that improve employee morale and customer satisfaction.

It might be as simple as rethinking the inventory management process or arranging for a later order cutoff and pickup time. They’re small steps but they can lead to dramatic improvements on both sides of a transaction.

Flex With Your Customer’s Needs

Today’s digitally empowered buyers expect full visibility into the status of their orders, but they also demand delivery options that fit their individual needs.

These are the so-called omnichannel buyers, who expect a consistent experience across every point of interaction — mobile, online, in-store, or any combination.

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Customer service and satisfaction are equally affected by back-of-house services.

These buyers want service on their terms. More than 34 million UPS My Choice members around the world can choose to route their packages to a different address, say, if their plans change and they won’t be home.

Or they could have packages dropped at one of more than 26,000 UPS Access Point Network locations worldwide. We created these services because they help our customers serve their customers. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for us. goldbrown2

This article first appeared as sponsored content on The Wall Street Journal Logistics Report and was republished with permission.

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Louis DeJianne is the director of consumer goods, apparel and retail for UPS.

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