Focusing on Customer Service
As we all know, customer service can make or break a business. You can slash your prices or offer all kinds of incentives but if your customer service is not good, customers will find somewhere else to go.
One of the definitions of customer service is “the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customers’ expectations”.
Accepting this definition means expanding our thinking about customer service. In order to exceed customers’ expectations, we must recognize that every aspect of your business has an impact on customer service, not just the face to face contact. Improving customer service involves a commitment to learn what the customer’s needs and wants are then taking steps to implement these actions.
Here are a few tips that if implemented will help your company have excellent customer service and grow your business.
Answer your phones: Studies show that a consumer who deals with a live person instead of an automated system is two times more likely to do business with your company. You should also have multiple options of communication – phone, e-mail, websites.
Listen to your customers: Take time to understand your customers’ needs, ask questions and pay attention to their words, tone of voice, body language and feelings. Don’t make assumptions. Find out what things are most important to your customer.
Don’t make promises unless you will keep them: Think about what you are promising. Don’t get carried away and offer more than you can deliver which will affect your quality of service. Not fulfilling the promises you make will then cause the consumer to lose trust in your business. A dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about it. It will take twelve positive incidents to make up for that one negative.
Deal with complaints: Solving customers problems quickly is essential in reducing customer loss. Here are some statistics from the US Department of Labor:
* 96% of consumers do not complain
* One out of 20 do complain
* 9 to 15 people hear of the problem
* 10% tell 20 to 30 people about poor service
* 54% to 70% return if complaints are resolved
* 95% return if problem is resolved quickly
Train your staff to ALWAYS be helpful, courteous and knowledgeable: Treating customers and employees well is equally important. If you treat your employees with respect they will have a higher regard for your customer. Recognize outstanding examples of customer service in your company. It is also important to make sure to properly train your service people who will be going to your customers locations. Make certain they are knowledgeable in your business and the services you offer along with basic communication skills.
Take the extra step: Ask if there is anything else you can do for your customer. Asking this simple question often results in increased business and a more committed customer. Be polite, respectful and attentive. Treat your customer even better than you would want to be treated. Think of ways to elevate yourself above your competition: what can you give your customer that they cannot get elsewhere? What can you give your customer that is totally unexpected?