Customer Service 101

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.

Today it’s more important than ever that you consistently deliver THE BEST product and customer service possible.

Just what is customer service? Beyond simply being respectful of the person you are working with, it’s providing what you say you will, when you say you will and how you say you will. Then you add authenticity and care to be sure the customer feels respected and valued. What does it take to provide such amazing customer service?

  • Policy
  • Systems
  • Training and
  • Commitment

Policy

Customer service must be built into the core of your business. It’s no longer enough to simply state that an unsatisfied customer will get a refund. A simple refund policy allows a dissatisfied customer to walk away, to examine options, and to tell others just how unhappy they are with you. OUCH! Articulate your commitment to customer service and what you’re going to do about it. Wouldn’t you rather let all your customers know that you will work with them to make sure you don’t let them down?

Systems

The best way to build consistent customer serivce is to implement a system to manage it. You build this system by asking A LOT of questions. For example:

  • How will I measure customer satisfaction?
  • What are the indications that a customer is dissatisfied?
  • What experiences have we had with customers?
  • Is there a trend within the service life cycle that could show us where we can improve right away?
  • What is/has been/could be required to turn unhappy customers into satisfied customers to improve my business?

The answers to your questions become your system as they indicate where your checkpoints occur and what you can do throughout the service life cycle. From here, you can develop standard procedures and templates for your team.

Training

Your team needs clear direction from you; they require training. Training ensures that all members of the team know how to deliver outstanding customer service your way, using your tools. Periodic refresher training is also important because as people work and become familiar with systems and your customers, they tend to get lazy (it’s only human). Refresher training brings your purpose, policies and systems back to top of mind and invigorates the team.

Commitment

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 a customer to the way you deliver and show your appreciation for their business.

If you’re not committed to the customer, they won’t be committed to you.

If you consistently demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to amazing service, your customers won’t bother to think of other options. I always think of the Disney franchise at this point.

Of course it’s easy to show existing customers your high standards of customer service, but how do you prove it to potential or new clients? Every company SAYS they’re customer oriented, they’d be fools not to, but how do you separate yourself from all the noise? Testimonials and word of mouth referrals speak volumes to prospective customers. Brag a little! Tell people what others say about you, or better yet, let the other’s say it for you. The options are endless for spreading the word: social media, video testimonials, print, websites etc. Don’t be shy; if you’ve got a great product or service and your customers love you… TELL THE WORLD

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