Customer RelationshipsThink for a minute about your favorite restaurant or retail store. What makes them your favorite? I’m willing to bet that it’s more than just the burrito or the shoes that keeps you coming back—positive interactions and a feel-good atmosphere probably contribute to your overall experience. When it comes to serving customers and treating every single one of them like a VIP, nobody does it better than rural telcos.

We’ve talked previously about making a New Year’s Resolution to win back customers. Why not resolve to make 2016 the “Year of the Customer” and let this goal permeate everything you do in the coming months? Building relationships with customers also builds loyalty and reduces the chances that they’ll want to look elsewhere for service. But truly great customer service can make your customers more than loyal—they’ll become walking advertisements for your service offerings!

So how do you strengthen this relationship? We’ve come up with a few tips to help you take your customer service to the next level of greatness:

  • First impressions are important. But what about the impression before the first impression? I’m talking about all of the ways your customers gather information about you before they actually become customers. How’s your online presence? Could your website use a facelift? Take a look at your social media presence too and make sure you’re giving prospective customers the impression that you’re friendly and easy to work with. Also be sure your customers and prospective customers have more than enough ways to connect with you and can connect in the way that best suits them (either by phone, email, or even written address). These ways to connect should be obviously displayed in multiple places on your website. This helps ensure that customers form a positive idea about you before they even sign up for services.
  • Is it easy for customers to sign up for your services? Try it out yourself! Periodically it’s a good idea to go through the purchasing process as if you were a customer to make sure it’s a quick and easy task. In the age of blazing-fast internet speed and on-demand technology, if your customers have to wait for more than a few minutes while making a transaction chances are good that they’re going to lose interest. Make the process seamless and quick, and they’ll have a better chance of becoming long-term users.
  • Up your game with self-service offerings. We’d all love to interact with our clients face-to-face, but that’s not practical or efficient. Instead, give your customers the tools they need to help themselves quickly. If your company uses an automated phone system, it’s very important to provide customers with a “connect me to a representative” option that directs them to a live customer service representative. Ensure that your online client portal allows customers to perform basic functions like making a payment, requesting more information, and changing account options quickly and easily. When your customers are empowered to help themselves, they have a better impression of your organization.
  • Be upfront and honest about your product offerings and pricing. Who likes reading fine print? Nobody! Nothing turns a satisfied customer into a dissatisfied one faster than hiding a major product limitation or extra fees in some fine print that nobody has time to read. Even if you’re not the low-cost leader, customers will appreciate a straightforward pricing approach more than they will appreciate an offer that gets them interested but ultimately disappoints.
  • If you want to know what your customers think of you, ask. Surveying your customers periodically is a really great idea for a few reasons. First of all, it can bring to light issues you never knew you had before they become real problems. It’s much better to have a customer give criticism on a survey than to lose that customer without knowing what went wrong. Second, asking your customers how they feel indicates to them that you care about their experience. Third, surveying your clients periodically can give you an idea of what new products or services may be on your customers’ minds so that your company can begin to set some goals and plan for the future. At Mapcom we are nearly obsessed with customer feedback—our comprehensive survey takes about 10 minutes to complete but gives us a wealth of information about what our customers are thinking and what we can be doing better. Plus, it gives us another chance to interact with our clients, which is always a good thing!

When it comes to creating a great customer experience, nobody does it better than small telcos. But learning a few small tips can really make an enormous difference in building customer loyalty. Make 2016 the “Year of the Customer” and resolve to create even stronger relationships with them in the coming months!

Want to learn more about boosting your customer service potential? Visit us at to learn how we can help!