Have you ever stood at a counter and felt like you were invisible as the staff served everyone else around you while you stood waiting for what seemed like an eternity.
Well I had such an experience this past week and it has prompted me to pen these few words on the importance of customer services in all our business dealings.
Our aim in business should be to not only deliver on our customer expectations, but to exceed these expectations as often as is humanly possible.
The key element in achieving this target is great customer service, as this will have the domino effect of creating happy customers who in turn will give you repeat business, and provided your customers remain consistently pleased with the service on offer, will create a strong relationship resulting in a lifetime of loyalty and value from them.
To achieve this ideal situation there are a few simple steps that all of us in business, large or small, need to remember (even if we’re very busy):
1. Staff Training:
Emphasise to all staff members the importance of good customer service – and how the goal is to gain from the lifetime value from customers. Offer customer training to staff and empower them to suggest ways that will help your business improve its offering.
2. Answer the Telephone:
Most people hate talking to answering machines, so if at all possible have real people answer your business telephone, and make sure that all calls are answered promptly as there are few more annoying things than hanging on the line for extended periods of time. (Is there anything worse than being told by a machine that “your call is being put on hold, and the waiting time is X minutes)?
3. Offer Help:
The goal of every contact with the customer is for them to have a happy experience with your company (remember the lifetime value concept), so make sure you, and your staff, are as helpful as possible, and don’t be afraid to go the extra bit by throwing in something extra.
4. Deliver on Your Promises:
When a customer first seeks out your business they have preconceived notions about what you can offer by way of product or service.
It is imperative that you deliver on what you have promised in your offering.
5. Seek Out Customer Feedback:
Listening to what your customers are saying has never been easier with the advent of Social Media, so make sure you constantly monitor the various social channels and take action accordingly to ensure your business adapts to your customers needs are requirements.
And do also remember to keep an ear open in the real world for the conversations that might impact on your business.
6. Dealing with Complaints:
We’re all human, and so mistakes and errors will sometimes happen, but what is important is that you have a complaints management procedure in place within your business. The old saying that “the customer is always right” should be kept in mind whenever possible.
Sometimes, while you might not agree with the customer, it might be worth considering the potential lifetime value on offer before taking a stand on an issue that might result in the loss of the customer.