Great customer service! Whether true or not, there’s not a business that doesn’t boast it.
In fact, when I perform a business analysis of a client’s operations, I usually always hear “We’ve got great customer service.” Or, if I ask a business owner in a casual conversation, what makes his or her business better than the competition, the answer is the same—great customer service.
This claim is usually unsupported by a standard of what constitutes great customer service, or as I prefer to call it, the “customer experience.”
Have you determined whether the experience your customer receives is in fact, worth what you charge for your products and services? If your prices are not proportional to an outstanding experience for your customers, then you likely won’t have those customers very long.
I have always tried to teach clients that a great customer experience occurs when the customer perceives it so. How you communicate adversely affects customers more than any area of customer service.
So put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Consider the following points and assess what you do right…and what you can do better.
1. Respond Quickly
Return your customer’s calls at a minimum the same day. Ideally, you should return calls within a few minutes, if possible. Email responses should always occur within 24 hours.
2. Honor Deadlines
Deliver data, reports, information, and anything else requested by a customer at least on deadline as promised, and at best, well before the promised time. This includes last-minute requests. Don’t make your customer follow up with you. Customers hate it when you say, I’ll call back at 1:00 and it’s now 4:00 and they haven’t heard from you. Call at 1:00, even if there’s nothing to report.
3. Make Customers a Priority
Unless you’re working with another customer, always take your customer’s calls. If you know you have a dissatisfied customer, don’t screen the call. Man (or woman) up! If you need to return a call, when you finally connect, give the customer your undivided attention. There should be no competition for your time and focus. Make sure your customer doesn’t feel rushed, taken for granted, or patronized.
4. Maintain Qualified and Professional Customer Support
Nothing beats having the phone answered by a live person…nothing! And, if any part of an employee’s job includes answering the phone, make sure the person speaks clearly and is easy to understand. If customers speak with your assistant, answering service, or even voice mail, make certain they get treated with respect…and don’t have to jump through hoops in your voice mail hell. Also, customers don’t want to listen to the same commercial for your company every time they call just to leave you a message. Mix it up a little.
5. Provide Trust and Transparency
Don’t add to your customer’s problems. Be truthful and inform them in advance when something goes wrong. Disorder and turf battles within your organization should never affect your customer.
6. Deliver Value
Offer non-promotional and informative articles, tips, ideas, references, and other resources on your website, social media, newsletters, mailers, etc. Go all out in your efforts to be clearly and consistently helpful.
7. Exceed Expectations
Provide more than your customer anticipates before and after the sale. When your intent is to satisfy your customer, your competitors cannot match your customer experience.
A great customer experience is an excellent differentiator. It requires no capital investment and is often easier for a small company to deliver than a larger, more bureaucratic or public organization to maintain.
Therefore, it is imperative to define, articulate, train, and enforce this culture in your business. Implement it from the first point of customer contact.
Great customer service always contributes to the perception of value. Bringing value to your customer always brings value back to you.
To get more information and receive other no-cost special audio downloads, reports, articles, blog posts, and more, visit Ron Hequet where I cover valuable topics that every person wanting to grow their business or career needs to know. And, if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, get a free assessment from me personally at Free Business Assessment or for those wanting to build your career go to Complimentary Coaching Assessment.