So many things in life are inherent in nature — you either have them or you don’t, and there’s not a lot you can do about it if you don’t. Just like fashion sense, some people are just going to wear socks with thongs no matter what you tell them.
Thankfully, providing excellent customer service/retention is not one of these inherent skills. If you’re not born with it, (very few of us really are) that’s okay. You can still acquire all the skills you need to be fabulous at it. Start by keeping to the following Magnificent Seven of Customer Service Tips for any business.
- Appearance Matters – Contrary to what your mother told you when you five years old about how “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” appearances do matter in business. Make sure all of your customer-facing employees dress for success. Also, keep the office clean and orderly, and make sure the building’s exterior portrays a warm and inviting atmosphere that your customers want to actually step into. This is especially important for retail.
- Usability – Ensure that all of your interactions involving your online presence are user-friendly. Don’t make your customer fish around for vital information and answers to common problems. If e-commerce is part of your game, make sure you provide them with simple, easy online transactions.
- Punctuality – So many people in business take this one for granted and it is a huge NO-NO! By not showing up for a client meeting or appointment on time, you are telling that person that you simply don’t respect their time. You are saying that they are not that important to you, and that is just the worst customer service you can offer. Show up on time and ready for anything and everything!
- Feed off of Feedback – Your customer is basically handing you free customer service tips when you listen to their feedback. Don’t take it as an affront. Instead, use it as a weapon to beat out the competition with an ongoing improved customer experience.
- Benchmarking Bonanza – Measuring yourself against your competition is great, but don’t limit yourself to your own industry. Benchmark against customer service trend setters like Apple and Amazon, and other superstars of service. By adopting their proven methods, you can become the customer service leader within your own industry. Remember, there is no patent on great service, so adopt away!
- Recognition – The best way to ensure your staff doesn’t lose its way in providing consistently great service is to recognise it when it happens. If workers apply your service model and aren’t recognised for it, the chances of them repeating that productive behaviour become increasingly smaller as time wears on. Monetary rewards are nice, but so are less expensive perks like time off and better parking spaces. Sometimes, a proper shout-out at an all-hands meeting will even suffice.
- Commitment – Great customer service needs to be an organisation-wide commitment. Merely paying lip service to the ideals won’t make a difference. You need buy-ins from leadership and good communication to subordinates that the company is committed to great service. Post it on bulletin boards, preach it in meetings, and email it to everyone. However you have to do it, spread the word that your company is all about customer service.
So there you have it — The Magnificent Seven of Customer Service tips. If you want to know more about awesome business strategies and how to implement them Contact Us for a FREE Strategy Session.