As one of the worlds’ most inspiring businessmen and the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, is definitely a person that can teach us a thing or two when it comes to doing business and how to treat the customers that come along with it.
Whether its music, literature, airlines or hotels Virgin Group has been investing in a wide array of industries ever since the beginning of the 1970’s. While you may be surprised by the diversity of Branson’s undertakings, there’s one thing that all of his projects have in common; impeccable customer service.
Although you might think the Founder of a huge group is probably more occupied on a management level, he is extremely passionate about providing the best possible customer service. While many may wonder what the secret of successful long-term customer retention is, the answer is quite simple; nurture them and they will stay.
Here are Richard Branson’s top 5 hacks on improving your customer support which you can start integrating into your business today:
#1 Make it easy to get in touch
Have you ever wanted to get in contact with a company and couldn’t find their contact details on their website? It’s frustrating and according to eMarketer, the phone has become the most frustrating customer service channel.
At Branson’s hotel’s getting in touch with the hotel, personnel has never been easier. According to Inc.com, during a stay at a competing hotel, he was shocked to see an annoyingly complex set of icons on a support phone.
So he decided to create phones in his own hotels that only had one button. The red “YES!” button you press sends a positive message to customers before they’ve even made a request.
Making it complicated for customers to get in touch, just causes more frustration – make it easy for them to get in touch with you.
Try this instead:
- Simplify your purchasing funnel by reducing the number of required steps
- Redesign your e-shop to create for easier navigation
- Introduce live chat on your website for instant customers support
#2 Choose Friendly Over Formal
Even though Branson’s businesses are all about luxury and high-class services, he tends to use day to day language.
As stated in an interview for The Luxury Travel Bible, what makes a brand “luxurious”, according to Branson, is the understated excellence of customer service. The key to establishing a luxury brand is having personable employees ready to provide tailored experiences, emphasizes Branson.
No matter if your running a luxury or a street business customer support is nothing you should fall short on. 70% of buying intentions depend on how you treat your customers and how they feel throughout the purchasing process.
Here’s how you can make getting choose a friendly tone over formal:
- Avoid using over complex wording and jargon keep things simple and understandable
- Although automated and standard answers are very efficient, keep in mind that every customer is unique and answered should be tweaked to meet their very own needs
- Even though customers might be in the wrong always keep your response, friendly and factual. Weigh negative responses with positive messages and use softening statements to not come off as harsh
#3 Interact in Social Media Actively and Meaningfully
Even though we live in the era of social marketing, numerous businesses still neglect the importance of social media in terms of providing customer support. It has been shown that irresponsive social accounts may lead to a 15% increase in churn and Branson seems to agree with this one. He confirms that every successfully resolved complaint in social media keeps the guest close to your brand.
Accordingly, Virgin Hotels pay special attention to their social media channels, which just might be why they’ve got a huge following of 30 million online. In other words, their requests, complaints, and comments together with company’s feedback practically shape the brand’s public image.
If you want your business to succeed, you shouldn’t avoid customer support through social media. Just like your support channels such as email and phone, you should be ready to provide meaningful answers to your followers’ without keeping them wait.
Even if you don’t consider social media as a primary support channel, keep in mind that social networks are important when it comes to branding and developing communities.
#4 Be there for customers even if nothing is wrong
The Virgin brands are well-known for their viral social media campaigns. Branson himself confirmed that he spends a quarter of his time on marketing and publicity stunts.
Not only did he try to circle the globe flying a hot air balloon (twice!) but he also jumped off the roof of a hotel-casino, dressed as a bride, flight attendant, Zulu warrior, and so on. He practically did everything to make people talk about his brand and he definitely succeeded in it.
You may ask yourself how these hilarious actions actually affect your customer service but the answer is pretty simple. While it’s awesome to have your existing customers’ problems resolved, it’s equally important what you do to attract new, potential users of your services. And when it comes to millennials – they’re all about stunts!
To nurture your relationship with your customers on social media, you don’t only have to be available for their requests but also to stimulate your interaction even when there’s nothing wrong.
Your social media channels may be a perfect way for you to collect valuable information about your follower structure. That way, you’ll be able to recognize their needs, and why not, make them smile or laugh by creating a fun yet relevant content.
#5 Invest and Value Your Support Team
Who comes to your mind when you hear people say “value makers“? In terms of customer service, it’s definitely your support staff. No matter whether it’s call centre agents, live support chat operators, or your social media managers, it’s highly important to understand their role and give them credit.
According to Carmine Gallo, what Richard Branson considers the key to providing extraordinary customer service is:
- Hire the right people and provide them with the best possible training
- Let your staff express their creativity in the process of problem-solving
- Empower your team by recognizing their efforts and praising successful solutions
Your support staff members are among your most valuable assets, so you shouldn’t hesitate to invest them. Not only financially, by providing them training, education, and rewards for good work, but also by spreading the word about their accomplishments, no matter how small they seem to be.
As stated by Glassdoor, 81% of support staff will feel motivated to work harder if you make them feel appreciated.
How Can Richard Branson’s Models Improve Your Customer Service?
So, you’re ready to skyrocket your customer service performance? As you could see, some of the most important factors that have made the Virgin brand a synonym for high-quality customer support are:
- Make it easy to get in touch
- Choose a friendly over a formal way of communicating
- Meaningful social media support
- Show customers you care even if nothing is wrong
- Invest in and value your support team
If you want to bring your customer support to the next level – get implementing these top 5 hacks from Richard Branson today. We’re sure you won’t regret it!
Jason is a Sr. Technical Writer currently associated with ProProfs Live Chat Software. He enjoys writing about emerging customer support products, trends in customer support industry and the financial impacts of using such tools. In his spare time, Jason likes travelling extensively to learn about new cultures and traditions.