How to do good customer service for a loans company
The key to running any company is good customer service. Your customers are the ones who drive your company into success through re-using your services or recommending you to their friends and family. If customers are unhappy with the way they are dealt with by customer services, they will just simply never use your company again and will not recommend you, or worse, claim that their friends and family should not bother with your company.
Whether you offer personal loans, debt consolidation loans or a guarantor loan product, it is still a customer service industry which demands high standards, especially in the face of regulatory requirements.
In short, providing good customer service is in everyone’s interests. The customer wants service that goes above and beyond, and once a loyal customer, they will start spending more with your company. This also will eventually mean that you may be able to cut down on marketing costs that may be necessary to attract new customers to your business.
What is customer service?
In the wider sense of the term, customer service is the direct help, advice and general service that your company provides to its customers throughout their shopping experience or purchase will you.
For a loan company, this would start with the initial application/inquiry process of taking out a loan and ending with a customer choosing to take out a loan with you, as well as ‘after care’ support if they have any problems or questions. Throughout the whole process of each individual case, the customer will expect access to guidance and advice every step of the way.
Customer service also deals with customer complaints, and it is very important how these are acted. If customer complaints are dealt with badly, it can ruin the credibility of your company and discourage that individual to use your services again. If they have a problem, but it is resolved efficiently, it is unlikely that that person would be put off just by a simple problem.
How to give great customer service
There are many things that you not only should, but need to do. The best customer service is easily done, but it may cost you a little bit of extra cash and you may need to be willing to change up how you do things.
- As a loans company, you will need to follow Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- You will need to do identity checks on your customers like confirming their name, date of birth, their address etc. This is so your company is only dealing with legitimate customers, and in turn your potential customers can be confident in your ability to run a company and provide them with the service they are requiring.
- With all of the information, make sure you are confidential and that you let each customer know that any information disclosed will be confidential.
- Aim to empower your staff. Encourage the staff members who are working directly with customers to always do everything they can for each individual customer, even if it goes against the businesses processes. Staff who are aware that they will not face repercussions for helping a customer, will be far more willing to deliver the best customer service possible and be more flexible in their work.
- Don’t stick to one formula. Like with the bullet point above, it can be tempting to get into a routine and have a particular operation based around what is good customer service. But every case is different, and not all customers need and want the same thing. Encourage staff to disrupt the normal processes, if it then means delivering good customer service. Furthermore, regularly review your processes against customer feedback, this will tell you what you are going right and what you are doing wrong in general terms. You should then change the negative processes where they are not supporting good customer service.
- Solve a problem as quickly as possible. Be sure that all your customers questions and complaints are heard and dealt with promptly. Continue to monitor how quickly your business responds from the customer service department. Quickly answered questions and quires helps a customer feel self-assured in buying/borrowing from you and keep them happy overall.
- Keep in mind and understand the long-term value of a customer. Make sure that every member of your team knows the long-term value of the customer also, make it the ethos of your company. Obviously, long-term customers bring in more money and more recommendations, so it makes sense to keep them happy.
- Use social media to deliver customer service. This is a quick way to resolve any problems that customers have. Most commonly, customers can take a few seconds to write a tweet to your company twitter account and hear back from you in minutes, or even seconds. Always make sure to do not disclose any of their details on public social media platforms, rather ask them to message you directly on twitter (DM), for example.
- Go the extra mile for your customers. This can be as simple as little things like a small gift to say sorry/thanks, remembering dates such as their birthday etc.
- Keep in touch. Make sure that the customer service does not terminate with a sale. So that you do not just have a transactional relationship with your customers, make sure they are happy even after have used your services. However, do not bombard a past or present customer with marketing emails and calls – it is appreciated that this can be tempting.
The Role of Managers
Having an experienced customer service manager can be key to ensure it is carried properly. Ideally someone with years of experience, mature and responsible to overview younger staff. You need someone authoritative that others can learn from and lead by example.
Incentives can be given to those that reach targets, show good practice and sometimes sending an email to the team and showing them how good customer service looks like is a good practice.
Prioritise Treating Customers Fairly
The practice of treating customers fairly is something proposed by the Financial Conduct Authority and relates to putting customers at the focus of everything you do. This includes creating a corporate culture that makes TCF possible, including putting procedures into place, offering regular training for your customer service team and a way for standards and quality to be checked.