Richard Branson famously said: “A complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend.” This quote from the billionaire entrepreneur highlights how customer care can help you build connections with customers—even if you start out on the wrong foot.
A recent Statista study found 94% of customers were more likely to make another purchase from a brand after a positive customer service experience. To develop a base of loyal customers, brands need to treat shoppers fairly, listen to them, and go above and beyond to make sure they have an excellent customer experience.
Learn more about the importance of customer care and some best practices to set your company up for success.
What is customer care?
Customer care is the effort all members of a company take to make customers feel heard and valued. This method involves building an emotional connection with clients through kindness, empathy, and active listening.
Some examples of good customer care include staying late to help a customer with an issue and offering free products or discounts after a shopper receives an incorrect order. In both of these customer interactions, an employee has taken time to assess how to go above and beyond for the client. When a business prioritizes building relationships with customers, they increase the likelihood that the shopper might return to the brand or share their positive customer experience with friends and family.
Why is customer care important?
Exceptional customer care creates the opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers; they feel valued and you build trust among a loyal base. By addressing your customers’ emotional needs, you can also boost brand loyalty, improve customer retention, and increase customer satisfaction.
Incorporating a customer care strategy has the added benefit of creating a company culture that focuses on connecting with customers on a human level, which can lead to higher employee retention.
How is customer care different from customer service?
Whereas customer service focuses on assisting customers with specific actions like technical support and answering questions about products and services, customer care goes a step further.
Customer care is all about making an emotional connection with customers, listening carefully to what they want, and offering a solution that surpasses expectations for a customer service experience. Customer care is a way to create a strong bond with clients through personalized customer interactions. Every employee who interacts with customers has a responsibility to provide great customer care.
Customer service is about providing support through standard solutions like processing a return. It falls largely in the hands of the customer service team. Customer service is part of customer care, and it typically involves answering questions and troubleshooting problems.
Customer care and customer service are important aspects of the customer journey. Companies need both great customer service and customer care to create a positive experience for their buyers.
Essential qualities of customer care
A few qualities are at the heart of creating an exceptional customer care experience for your customers:
Customer care requires you and your team to practice empathy during all interactions with customers. Take the time to understand and relate to your customers so you can cater to their emotional needs. By placing yourself in your customers’ shoes and seeing their perspectives, you can facilitate an excellent customer care experience.
Essential to an empathetic interaction is active listening, or the process of being attentive to customers and communicating accordingly. Practice active listening by paying close attention to your customers’ verbal and nonverbal cues, withholding judgments, and asking open-ended or clarifying questions (such as asking if you have correctly assessed the situation). Take the time to get a grasp on the situation so you can address your customers’ needs effectively.
Problem-solving is an essential element of customer success and involves generating creative solutions to your clients’ problems. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of your products and services so you are prepared to answer any customer questions and offer specific solutions for each individual customer. This kind of tailored problem-solving enhances customer loyalty and increases the chances of positive word of mouth.
For example, if a customer orders a shirt in the wrong color, you might offer them the correct clothing item and let the shopper keep the other to give to a friend. This means the customer doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of figuring out a return, and they can treat someone in their life to a gift. This kind of generous and specific problem-solving creates goodwill with your customers on an individual level.
Rather than having your customer care team stick to a specific script, you can empower them to interact with customers on an intuitive level. While you need to provide your customer care service representatives with boundaries for what they can offer customers, you also want them to have autonomy. For example, give them a monthly quota of free products or coupons they can offer customers at their discretion.
Imagine a paying customer calls to express disappointment about a product or service. A good support agent will give the customer a chance to vent without rushing or interrupting them. If the customer care representative responds with patience, the client might feel more at ease, which can lead to positive interaction.
Customer care best practices
- Hire a team
- Choose an effective CRM
- Gather and analyze customer care data
- Train your team
- Admit mistakes and fix them quickly
Hire a team
To improve customer care within your company, hire a support team of emotionally intelligent representatives who can act as the foundation for customer interactions. A skilled customer service representative has natural communication skills and a penchant for active listening and empathy—especially during tense and difficult situations.
By hiring representatives who focus solely on creating personal connections with your customers and keeping them happy, you increase your chances of developing an effective customer care program.
Choose an effective CRM
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a software program for managing all interactions with customers. Businesses use CRM tools to track customer interactions, manage customer accounts, analyze demographic information, monitor sales transactions, and more.
An effective CRM tool helps customer care support teams keep up-to-date information on customer journeys, so customers don’t have to repeat information to multiple service agents or go through repetitive steps. Having this information handy can streamline communications with your customers whether you are interacting in person or through email, mobile devices, chatbots, or customer surveys.
Gather and analyze customer care data
Regularly examine how your customer care program performs based on key performance indicators (KPIs) so you know where you are excelling and where you can improve. Analyze your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) to understand customers’ level of satisfaction with your brand. Dig into your customer effort score (CES) to learn how easy or difficult it is for a client to get help from your company. Or look at your net promoter score (NPS) to discover how likely customers are to recommend your company, product, or service to another person.
Gathering feedback is another effective way to boost your customer care strategy. Send surveys and ask customers open-ended questions to gain more information on how customers feel about engaging with your business.
Train your team
Hiring emotionally intelligent and empathetic customer care representatives is only part of the process; your team needs regular customer service training to stay up-to-date on best customer care practices. Role-play different customer interaction scenarios with your team and provide constructive feedback for ways to personalize customer messages and communicate better.
A personalized response goes a long way with customer care, and empowering your team to adapt to specific customer situations and needs can keep your customer care strategy adaptable.
Admit mistakes and fix them quickly
When it comes to customer satisfaction levels, one of the best practices is to admit mistakes, apologize for them, and fix them with quick and creative solutions that surpass what customers expect. Although your customer care program should work to prevent mistakes, certain situations will still slip through the cracks.
Remember to stay open, patient, and kind in the face of negative feedback. Avoid falling into a defensive style of communication by graciously accepting responsibility for any negative customer experience. This way, you set yourself up for a better dynamic as you work toward a solution.
Put your customer data to work with Shopify’s customer segmentation
Shopify’s built-in segmentation tools help you discover insights about your customers, build segments as targeted as your marketing plans with filters based on your customers’ demographic and behavioral data, and drive sales with timely and personalized emails.
Customer care FAQ
What are customer care skills?
Customer care skills include empathy, active listening, and the flexibility to offer customers incentives based on their specific needs and experiences.
What is the role of customer care?
The role of customer care is to build an emotional connection with individual customers. Enhance customer loyalty by providing genuine communication and problem-solving strategies that cut to the core of what your customers want.
Can technology help a brand’s customer care efforts?
Yes, technology can help your brand’s customer care efforts through tools like CRM software that track customer interactions, manage customer accounts, analyze demographic information, monitor sales transactions, and more.
What role does empathy play in customer care?
Empathy is central to great customer care, which requires you to place yourself in your customers’ shoes and make decisions based on their specific needs. Taking the time to understand and relate to your customers’ experiences is an essential quality for an effective customer care strategy.
How can I measure the success of my customer care efforts?
You can measure the success of your customer care efforts by looking at metrics like customer satisfaction scores (CSATs), customer effort scores (CES), and net promoter scores (NPS). All of these give you an idea of whether customers have had positive or negative experiences with your company.