Customer care has become one of the most important issues facing businesses in every market. Keep your customers satisfied and returning again and again with these tips for good customer service.
Inconsistent customer care can have a negative effect on customer perceptions. Chain gas stations, for example, know customers should expect to receive the same standards of service no matter which outlet they are in, anywhere in the country. Nationwide consistency is essential when customers are likely to visit multiple outlets; one poor performance can threaten the customer’s perception of the entire operation.
Meet Customer Requirements
Motivate your customers to return with a few basic elements:
- Provide excellent personal service. The customer feels valued, listened to, and respected as an individual.
- Meet basic expectations when it comes to the quality of your product.
- Encourage customers to express their views and give feedback.
- Handle problems and complaints effectively.
Meet Staff Requirements
To keep customers happy, you have to have an energized, motivated staff that is on board with your company’s overall customer-service philosophy. Provide your staff with the following:
- Supervisors with effective management styles
- A suitable working environment, including good pay and conditions and the right tools for the job
- Relevant training to develop skills
- Career potential, avoiding the feeling of being in a dead-end position
- Clarity of role/job description
- Performance standards and appraisal systems
- A sense of involvement/value
- Open communication
- Rewards and recognition for a job well done
Meet Organizational Requirements
Organizations with a successful customer-care policy have the following:
- A mission statement
- Corporate structure
- Feedback and communication systems
- Human and technical resources
- Demonstrated commitment
To be outstanding, organizations must deliver excellence in both material and personal service. Customer service is no longer just a question of interpersonal skills. The difference between you and your competitors is achieved when expectations are exceeded. Doing the unexpected, going the extra mile, moves you from meeting expectations to exceeding expectations.
Enthusiasm is the driving force of quality service. Customers do not just want products, they want products plus enthusiasm.
Be the Best
Someone somewhere has to be the best at this job. Why not you? Decide to be outstanding, not ordinary. Use positive self-talk. Tell yourself, “Every day, in every way, I get better and better.” And develop a “how can I do it better?” mindset.
In a successful company, the number of salespeople equals the number of employees. Even if your primary occupation is customer service, by providing excellent customer care, you are in effect keeping your customers and providing for future sales for your company. So in a sense, everyone sells something: products, services, or even the image of the company.
Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author, and consultant who guides companies and individuals around the world toward optimum performance levels. He is chairman of the Sales Corporation, CEO of Top Sales Associates, senior partner at the JF Consultancy, and chairman of the executive board at Top Sales Experts.