Customer Service: What do your customers say about you?

March 28, 2010

Customer service - what your customers say about you
Have you walked into a retail shop lately only to leave feeling frustrated with the sales person?
  • Have you had a bad experience with a call centre?
  • Do your customers or clients tell their friends what a great experience they had with your company?
  • Does the old adage “The customer is always right” relate to how you treat your customers?

10 Tips to Create a Great Customer Service Experience:  

  1. There is no way that the quality of customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it. If you are paying the lowest wage, giving the fewest of benefits, doing the least training for your employees it will show. Companies don’t help customers… people do.
  2. Realise that your staff will treat your customer the way they are treated. Are your employees happy and respected? Do you greet them enthusiastically each day; are you polite in your dealings with them; do you try to accommodate their requests; do you listen to them when they speak?
  3. Do you know who your customers are? If a regular customer came in to your facility, would you recognize them? Could you call them by name? All of us like to feel important; calling someone by name is a simple way to do it and lets them know you value them as customers.
  4. For good customer service, go the extra mile. Include a thank-you note in a customer’s package; send a birthday card; clip the article when you see their name or photo in print; write a congratulatory note when they get a promotion. There are all sorts of ways for you to keep in touch with your customers and bring them closer to you.
  5. Are your customers greeted when they walk in the door? Is it possible they could come in, look around, and go out without ever having their presence acknowledged? Respect dictates that assistance is offered to each and every person who walks through your door. If they are then happy to browse, BACK OFF, you have offered service and they will come back to you with questions. There is nothing worse for a customer than a pushy staff member.
  6. Give customers the benefit of the doubt. Proving to him why he’s wrong and you’re right isn’t worth losing a customer over. You will never win an argument with a customer, and you should never, ever put a customer in that position.
  7. If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say yes. The fact that a customer cared enough to ask is all you need to know in trying to accommodate her. It may be an exception from your customer service policy, but try to do it. Remember you are just making one exception for one customer, not making new policy.
  8. Are your customer service associates properly trained in how to handle a customer complaint or an irate person? Give them guidelines for what to say and do in every conceivable case. People on the frontline of a situation play the most critical role in your customer’s experience. Make sure they know what to do and say to make that customer’s experience a positive, pleasant one.
  9. Want to know what your customers think of your company? Ask them! Compose a “How’re We Doing?” card and leave it at the exit or register stand, or include it in their next statement. Keep it short and simple. Ask things like: what it is they like; what they don’t like; what they would change; what you could do better; about their latest experience there, etc. To ensure the customer sends it in, have it pre-stamped and if the customer has given their name and address, be sure to acknowledge receipt of the card.
  10. Smile when you are talking to customers. Whether on the phone or face to face, a smile comes through in your voice and is one of the details which will make your customer’s experience a happy one.
Remember that the big money isn’t as much in winning customers as in keeping customers. Each individual customer’s perception of your company will determine how well you do this and that perception will depend on the level of customer service you provide.
Make a promise to your customers and honour that promise.

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