Good customer service is at the heart of any business. You can use any mix of marketing tactics, from coupons to celebrity spokespeople, but its all for nothing unless you are providing your customers with the attention and support they deserve. Think about it—without time and attention given to customer service, all the money spent up front on new business is wasted if that business doesn’t stick around. Even worse, the damage to your reputation could cause really big problems in the future. Think about any time that someone has said to you, “Oh, Smith Industries? Never again—here is what happened…” Don’t let Smith Industries be you.
If you suspect your service can use some work or you just want your staff to sharpen their skills, here are a few simple tips you can use to deliver memorable customer service:
- Keep your promises: Companies often promise something to a client that they can’t fulfill. Whether guessing the date of delivery, or underestimating the overhead costs, over- or under-promising causes big problems for your customer service department. Tell your staff to be honest and set realistic expectations. Promote healthy communication with your existing clients so that if you run into an obstacle, you can feel comfortable sharing the issues and realigning their expectations.
- Be there: Want to frustrate your customer and guarantee they will leave you? Send a complaint call to the wrong department or a voicemail box. Now they are not only upset about the original issue, but may now be irate because they aren’t able to speak to someone who can help. It is the ultimate way of adding insult to injury. Consider using a telephone answering service to help manage and route your calls. That way, your customer always getting a warm, professional, live person when they call. Even if they need to wait for help, a sympathetic ear and a smile in someone’s voice can diffuse a tense situation.
- Train your staff: Untrained staff is like a litter of new puppies—incredibly eager to please, yet causes chaos and mayhem in your home. So, just like you would stop puppies from chewing on your expensive shoes, stop new hires from destroying your business’s reputation. Give them the tools they need to succeed. Have a training plan so you and your team are prepared. Role play, ask questions, ensure that new staff members understand the rules, the goals and expectation. Make sure that they also understand pitfalls. Good direction and training means they will handle customer service issues the way you would want them to.
Customer service is a priority for a successful, sustainable, profitable business. Instilling pride in customer satisfaction in your employees will guarantee happier customers, who stay longer and spend more.