Customers that are delighted and truly amazed by your service, will not only remain loyal and profitable, they will also be an excellent source of referrals for you.
Create a culture of excellence.
In order to truly be a respected organization, it is important to instill an excellence culture in
the organization. Just as everyone is responsible for selling your offering, so is everyone responsible for servicing your customers.
It is important to utilise people's best skills in the correct positions in a team sport. The same is true in your company. There are many psychometric testing systems around that help determine what roles a person is best suited to fulfill. These can be used at recruitment stage. With existing employees, you need to introduce something like this tactfully!
Suffice it to say, that someone in customer service needs to be a caring type of person. Just for clarification, by customer service, we mean, ensuring that a customer who purchases your offering is able to make use of it in a way that will fulfill and exceed their expectations.
Set the customer up to be delighted.
When a customer orders a product or service, clearly demonstrate to them what they are getting, in terms of what, when and how, with what resource. Equally important, ensure that the people involved in providing that service, know exactly what the customer expects of them. Then your company is in a position to delight the customer, by delivering exactly what was said on the ad. And then some, always go that little bit extra!
Don't solve problems too quickly.
One of the hallmarks of good customer service is the ability to turn a complaint into an opportunity. When an angry customer is on the phone the natural reaction is to try to solve the problem as quickly as possible. However if you study those who are expert in this area, before they
solve any problem, they quickly and easily gain rapport with the customer. What an irate customer really needs is empathy. It is important to understand what it will take to cool him down, make them feel understood.
The customer needs to feel that their problem is being taken seriously.
Once this is done, the customer is ready to have their problem solved, and they will definitely appreciate the service. They are now in a position to become a delighted customer who, in all probability will continue buying from you.
Find what works and model excellence.
Let's say that one of your employees is already consistently delighting your customers with the level of service they provide. The key to success is to ensure that all employees model the same behaviour. This also ensures that the employee feels rewarded and appreciated, and are far
more likely to stay with your company. There are many different techniques to find out what it is exactly what it is that the model employee is doing well. Common
sense is a great technique!
Create a Customer Service Process.
Just as you have financial systems, manufacturing processes, sales processes and distribution processes, it is very important to have a sound customer service process.
Superior customer service is indeed alive and working at many progressive companies, both large and small. Customer service is not simply a term or a department, but rather an attitude and a
manner of doing business. It boils down to caring and adhering to the golden rule…"to do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Superior customer care has declined to such an extent that some firms are actually promoting their own efforts at providing customer service as a unique benefit of dealing with their firm. Unfortunately, that is an apt description of the current state of customer service provision from most companies. Most companies do not get it.
They are so consumed with the bottom line that they miss one of the most important factors in growing their business: The customer is king. He always has been and always will be.
Customers, customer satisfaction and retention should drive all other facets of a company.
The relevant cost of acquiring a new customer is high. Marketing, advertising and other
functions utilized to attract new customers are expensive and require a period of time to work
successfully. Many prospects do not become new customers until perhaps the 7th or 8th
exposure to the company's marketing efforts. Customer service then, is the cost of retaining
that customer. Customer retention should be a driving force behind the successful operations
of every company. It simply makes good business sense to keep that new customer as
well as those repeat customers. How often is a new customer "soured" because of a
perception of poor attitude or lack of caring on the part of an employee? Depending on the
type of business operation, companies must embrace developing superior customer service
in a variety of modes. In a small retail or food establishment, where minimum-wage workers
are often employed, this is difficult. One area that is destined to improve how customers are
treated is for the owner of the company to treat their employees fairly, with respect and
with a receptive attitude concerning their ideas. This attitude and practice will spillover
and the end customers will often be treated in the same manner. The mid-size and large
companies must provide specific training for all employees, especially for those with any
direct contact with customers. Employees must be cognoscente of what is expected by
their employer, the importance of their dealings with the customers and how the
implementation of these policies directly impacts their own success and employment.
Simply stated, if there are no customers, there is no need for their job.
Place yourself in your customers' shoes. That should be easy since we are all customers
sometimes, no matter what we do for a living. How do you like to be treated? Do you want to
be forgotten? Do you feel that the company you do business with should value you and
your business? Do you appreciate little "extras" that are not always necessary but
pleasant and beneficial? When you are pleased with your treatment from a firm, are you
happy to make recommendations to your family and friends about dealing there? Learn
to transfer these answers into the way you treat your customers. The golden rule applies.
Human nature, being what it is, is the common thread among us all. We all want to be treated
fairly, confirmed of the value we bring and have a sense that others care about us. We are
all other people! In many ways, regardless of ethnicity, religion or background, we all want
the same things. Remember this fact and do your part to offer superior customer service by
performing your duties in a manner reflective of the way you also wish to be treated. Your
success is guaranteed. If this attitude is encouraged in every department in every
company, customer service will never be a department, but rather the attitude or mindset
of the company. As the sum of its internal parts, the firm will reflect this mindset
guaranteeing superior customer service and previously unheard of customer retention.
There are many employees in the workforce who have brilliant customer service skills but
for a number of reasons find themselves being held back and therefore not being given the
opportunity to reach their potential. For example, the reason could be because of a
restrictive job description, managerial incompetence or a lack of communication
between staff and management. In some companies it can sometimes be an advantage
to have an innovative and enthusiastic employee who has the necessary customer
service skills and know-how to boost sales figures through superior performance.
It can therefore be beneficial for businesses to encourage and not hinder energetic employees
who are results orientated so they can increase turnover and sales through the use of superior
customer service skills. One effective method SMEs can introduce is to hold regular staff
meetings so employees can be encouraged to make suggestions and provide input into how
sales and services can be improved or enhanced. By collectively discussing and
working out better ways of doing things can have a beneficial spin-off by motivating and valuing
employees who may have had an input in the decision making process.
By empowering exceptional employees with a can-do attitude to make decisions and be selfmanaging, a business is able to tap into different ways of doing things and explore
new opportunities for the business that may not have been considered at managerial level.
It can also be a good initiative for businesses to introduce an incentive scheme to reward
employees who have displayed exceptional customer service skills that may have for
example increased sales turnover or enhanced the company’s reputation. Alternatively, small
tangible rewards from management such as shopping vouchers or thank-you cards can
sometimes be enough to express gratitude for a job well done.
To conclude, SMEs therefore need to ensure their key employees who exhibit efficient
customer service skills are encouraged, rewarded and kept motivated so they can
continue to produce superior performance for their business.
If you need any help in that area, let us know and we will be glad to perform a customer service assessment and suggest ways in which you can truly delight your customers every time.
- Is customer service a department in
- your company?
- Is customer service simply the title of
- an order entry department?
- Is customer service an empty shell,
- long on rhetoric but short on delivery?
Does the term customer service actually mean anything, or is it a leftover expression from an era of days gone by Send us an email or call us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 073 150 7724