Almost anyone will agree that customer service is one of the most important parts to conducting business. Without customers, well… you don’t have a business. So, if this is the case, why is it almost everyone as a consumer can easily point out an example of poor customer service in their daily lives? Every business either has or thinks it has good customer service.
To understand the importance of providing outstanding customer service, here are some suggestions:
1) The commitment to customer service always begins at the top, not only do you need to meet your customer’s expectations, you must strive to exceed them. You must develop a company culture that understands, embraces and executes this concept. In today’s world, business competition is tougher than ever. If you can’t provide goods or services when somebody wants or needs them, there are four or five other companies immediately ready to fill this void. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. If you are not willing to provide the necessary resources to meet your customer’s needs, you will soon find yourself scrambling for business.
2) Proper training is one way to develop a company culture that embraces excellent customer service. If you have employees, you must ensure they understand implicitly what is expected of them when interacting with customers. Is there an established, uniform way to answer the phone? Are there set procedures in place for instances when a customer has a question or problem? Is there an established chain of command to make sure that issues are handled in a timely fashion? And most importantly, is everyone trained to carry out these procedures? How you handle the problem is far more important than the problem itself. A customer must always be made to feel as though their best interests are being given serious consideration, even when you can’t give in to their demands. It is far better to say ‘no’ with a smile, than ‘yes’ with an attitude.
3) Asking for customer feedback is an excellent way to track and measure your level of service. You should not only compare your company against your competition, but also against the goals you set for yourself. You must remember, you are trying to not only meet, but exceed your customer’s expectations. Written surveys are one way to gauge customer satisfaction. This can be useful to obtain feedback on a wide variety of company functions. Always allow for written comments, as these usually will help shed light on problem areas. Management’s interaction with customers is an excellent way to show the level of commitment your company has towards their needs. As a consumer, you always feel better if you have the chance to talk to someone who actually sets policy, not just someone paid to carry it out. Do the same for your business.
In today’s world of bigger, faster, better you need to be the company that gets it right the first time, and if you don’t, you must quickly rectify your mistakes. If you consistently make this part of how you conduct business, your customer’s loyalty will continue to grow. The surest way to continued success and future growth is to not only meet your customers expectations, but to exceed them at every possible turn.Learn your business from your customers. Understand their minds, their hearts, and their lives. Do what you do to make their lives easier.