If you are interested in improving your customer service, you must start with the little things. Once you and your staff have mastered them, then you can move onto more complex procedures. Please read and answer the following questions, then think of your own. Retail (small business): Does your sales staff make immediate eye contact when a customer walks in? If they´re busy, do they ask, "We´ll have someone right with you, sir/ma´am."
Retail (big box) Do you have enough sales associates so that if I have a question I don´t have to wait for 3 people to be checked out by the cashier? Are you listening, JC Penney? (I wonder if JC Penney corporate staff have ever been to a Best Buy.)
Restaurant: Does your host or hostess immediately greet people with a hello and a smile? Do they take the customer to a table or put their names on a list giving them the approximate amount of time they´ll be waiting?
Doctor´s office: Do you let patients know when the doctor is running behind schedule? Patients´ time is valuable, too.
Car dealership (sales): Does your sales associate qualify customers based upon what they want, not what he needs to sell? Does he sell your cars based on their merits rather than badmouthing the competition?
Car repair or car dealership (service): Does your service department listen to understand without trying to cross sell products the customer doesn´t need? Do they give the customer an approximate time the car will be ready?
Any business I contact by telephone: Are your customers able to reach a human being after touching the keypad three times or less?
Grocery Store: I realize you work on a tight profit margin, but can you assign at least one or two employees to roam the aisles ready to assist customers who don´t know where the honey is? Every time I´m looking for something, everyone is either bagging or acting as cashier.
If you answered "no," or "I don´t know," to any of these questions, you are not offering legendary customer service. You are most likely losing customers. Assess your business environment, including the customer service polices of your competition as well as your own. Then create a plan which includes a vision, metrics, how you´ll retrain your staff, etc. Put that plan into effect and continually evaluate and adapt so that you are exceeding the needs of your customers.
"Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people but you can´t be two people. Instead you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people."
–Lee Iaccoca, quoted on Quoteland.com