Do you need to turn around your customer service fast? Here are 5 simple steps that you will help make a difference right away.
1. SMILE. I know, it seems too simple, doesn’t it?
Why would I need to point that out? It’s because I travel all over the country and consistently receive better service whenever I am smiled at. And I can always tell when I am about to receive less than average service when I don’t receive a smile.
In today’s faster, unfriendly and discourteous world it makes a huge difference.
It may not seem too scientific, that smiling thing. Just try not smiling to your customers for a couple of days and see what happens. Understand this is a big part of the perception. When people smile at us, we perceive it to be a much better experience, even if it was mediocre.
I recently had a meal at a restaurant that quite frankly, was average. It was not bad, it was not great, it was good. Average. However, if you asked me my perception of that restaurant I would say it was great! based on the interaction and smile quotient that my waitress gave me. She was outstanding! Smiles will make the meal taste better and the service sweeter.
2. Say their Name. It’s the most wonderful sound to our ears. Our name. And when someone takes the time to learn ours, we feel really appreciated and will respond appropriately. Even in a quick customer service environment like fast food or dry cleaners, we will always return to a place that remembers our name.
It’s quite simple to do actually. Introduce yourself, and ask their name. It goes like this, “Hello, my name is Leonard, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Your name is…?” Whew, that was hard, wasn’t it? Here is the trick. Remember it by focusing on their name and either the color of their eyes or an article of clothing.
If you are in the restaurant business, introduce yourself, ask their name and when delivering their order, set it in front of them and say “Mary, you’ll really enjoy this dish.”
3. Use Courtesy. Use those words you learned when you were little. They include “Please”, “Thank You”, “May I help you”, “How are you doing”, “Is there anything else I can do for you today”, “How did you find your service experience today”.
Courtesy also extends to actions, not just words. I worked at a dealership that emphasized things like walking your customer to the item they asked about, cleaning the bathroom sink with a paper towel after using it and presenting the best possible face to the customer along with other things that demonstrated their commitment to the service experience.
4. Ask for feedback from the Customer. Ask the right way. Instead of “How was our service today?” which will get you a “Oh, it was fine” kind of answer, ask “On a scale of 1 to 10 how would we score on providing service to you today?” (It is the “specific” question that gets results) You might get a lot more interesting answers especially if you ask the follow up question “Specifically, how could I make it a 10 in your eyes?” for any answer that is not a 10.
5. Invite your Customer to come back. The right way. It’s all in the presentation. “It was good to see you today, and I look forward to seeing you again. If for any reason you remember something we could have done better, call me at 111-111-1111 and ask for me personally.” If that is too long winded, say “My name is _____. Please ask for me when you come back.” You might even say “It was a pleasure to take care of you. Please come back and ask for me, ________.”
I read somewhere that the most complex questions we face in our society are often solved with the simplest of solutions.
Customer service is not that complex. It’s a simple business. It’s we who make it complex.
About the Author
Leonard Buchholz leads seminars in customer service, attitude and skills and management. He also provides coaching and consulting in customer service.