When was the last time you received amazing customer service? Service that really made you say “wow!”? It doesn’t happen as often as it should.
Regardless of what industry you’re in or how long your company has been in business, there are certain customer service standards that need to be adhered to. Giving someone a “wow” customer experience will not only encourage them to come back, but it will make your own day more enjoyable as well. These cornerstones may not be new to everyone, but there are still too many businesses out there that still don’t get it.
So have a sip of coffee, think of something that fills your heart with happiness, and get ready to step up your customer service game!
1. Give the Customer Your Full Attention:
The minute a customer walks in the door or calls your office, make them your number one priority. Multitasking is great in the proper environment, but people aren’t dumb. They can easily sense when someone’s mind and focus is not on them. In person or on the phone, if you look or sound like you don’t care about helping them, your customers won’t care about your business. As Gary Vaynerchuk put it, “if you don’t care no one will”.
2. Know Your Product and Service
Be as knowledgeable as you can be about your products and services. People feel more comfortable and trusting when they are buying into something that is strongly backed by staff who are truly educated about what they are selling. This can be a fine line though – you don’t want to bore your customer with too much information that they do not necessarily need.
Knowing your product is only part of offering excellent customer service. You need to know your audience, and what they’re looking for. Bill Kerr of Coach Homes is a great example of this: he took the time to thoroughly research his product AND who would be interested in it, leading him to develop custom service packages that customers loved.
3. Customer Service is Everyone’s Job
Anyone in any position in the organization needs to fully believe that customer service is everyone’s responsibility. Front-line staff may have the most impact and contact with the customers, but the people leading them (high level managers, executives, etc.) need to set the tone. Many organizations famous for their customer service, like Zappo’s, have a policy where even the C-suite execs spend one day a month answering customer questions.
4. Ask for Feedback
You don’t know what you are doing right or wrong unless you ask. Feedback is not always freely volunteered. Go right to the source (the customer) and ask them what they think of your staff, service, products and their experience with you. This can be done via survey, a contact form on a website, a follow up phone call, or just in normal conversation. Sometimes it hurts to hear the truth, but extremely valuable information is often gained to create improvements in the long run.
5. Always Keep Your Word
No one likes a liar. If you say you will do something, make sure you follow through, whether it is big or small. Customers can be easily and quickly turned off by not receiving the fulfilled promise from the organization. Do whatever you need to remember your obligation to the customer; write it in a calendar, email yourself, tell someone else, or even tie a string around your finger!
The power of a simple smile is a universally understood gesture of positivity and friendliness. Strangely, we do not do this nearly enough. Try to always start an interaction with a customer or coworker with a genuine smile. “Enchantment” author Guy Kawasaki says “make crow’s feet” when you smile. Even if you are on the phone or typing an email, the recipient of your message will be able to hear or read your smile. The act of smiling lets the customer know that they are valued, creates an instant connection, and sets the attitude and tone for future communication.
7. Love What You Do. Have Fun!
It is so easy to spot the employee that loves their job and is having fun, regardless of the industry. Customers will naturally gravitate to that employee and want to work with them. The enthusiasm, energy, and passion just radiates off of them and can easily rub off onto other employees and customers alike.
8. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Sometimes we need to gain perspective and put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. If we were the customer, would we find the level of customer service satisfactory? Are the solutions provided acceptable? Would we walk away feeling good about the organization and want to return? This exercise is often overlooked, but is essential to understanding what the customer is experiencing.
9. Names, Names, Names
We all have names, and they should be used! Greeting someone by their preferred name or title shows personalization, friendliness, and respect. Customers are not a number, statistic or just a random “nobody”. They are paying for your product and service to support your business. Using names can make a huge difference between you and the competition. Customers will remember your company if you remember their name.
We all have our good days and our bad days, but really, life is just too short to not give what you’re doing your best. If you’re a manager, make sure your staff understands these essential building blocks, and lead by example. That means treating your staff like customers too! If you’re a staff member, don’t just sleepwalk through the day – give good energy to everything you do.
After all, you can only get out of life what you put into it.
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