The key to customer service is providing a little bit more.
Have you noticed how much choice you have these days? If a product or service supplied locally isn’t exactly to your liking, you just go on the internet and order it from someone else.
The down-side to having so much choice is that customer loyalty is fading fast. A disappointed customer is less likely to give you a second chance whether it’s their first encounter with you or their twentieth. Now it’s more important than ever to consistently provide your best product and customer service possible.
What exactly is customer service? It’s providing what you say you will, when you say you will and how you say you will. Then you provide a little more to be sure the customer feels respected and valued. You can’t just provide good customer service anymore, it has to be consistently outstanding (no pressure). What does it take to provide such amazing customer service? It takes policy, systems, training and commitment.
Customer service should be built into the core of your business. It’s no longer enough to simply state that an unsatisfied customer will get a refund. State how committed you are to customer service and what you’re going to do about it. A simple refund policy let’s that customer walk away to examine all the other options they have. Wouldn’t you rather let that customer know that you want to work with them to make sure you won’t let them down again?
The best way to build consistent customer service is to create a system to manage it. You build this system by asking “how” a lot. For example, how will I gauge customer satisfaction? How can I use the service life-cycle to monitor customer satisfaction through each stage? How will I work with unhappy customers to improve my business? The answers to your “how’s” become “I will do this and then I will do that” etc. The answers become your system as they develop into procedures and templates for your team.
Now that you have a policy and a system, it’s time to share them with your team. Every member of your team needs clear direction from you; they need training. Training ensures that all members of the team know how to deliver exemplary customer service your way, using your tools. Periodic refresher training is also important because as people work and become familiar with systems, they tend to omit things that seem unimportant. Refresher training brings your purpose, policies and systems back to top of mind for the team.
The final and maybe most important factor for providing service customers can count on and talk about is your commitment. From the way you greet them to the way you deliver and show your appreciation for their business, if you’re not committed to the customers, they won’t be committed to you. If you consistently demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to amazing service your customers won’t want to bother thinking of other options.
About the Author
Carol Glover is the founder of FireHorse Consulting Inc. Firehorse is founded on over 20 years of Customer Service and IT experience in large corporations. Carol specializes in aligning strategies with daily operations. Her unique balance of practicality and imagination, management and operational experience ensures you will receive no-nonsense solutions.