Customer service is the lifeblood of a business. Every business is dependent on clients or customers. Yet, it seems more and more the most common complaint from customers is the lack of customer service. When did the customer no longer become the most important part of business?
We live in a time of immediate gratification. You can Google any information and have it in seconds, buy everything from toiletries to tires on Amazon, and have food as fast as your car can make it through a drive-through. It’s no wonder people expect efficient competent service in other areas of their lives as well.
Customer Service Is All About the Experience
Once you enter an establishment, the customer service you receive will often decide whether you ever return to the establishment for service. From the moment you begin interacting you are judging efficiency, attitude, proficiency, and over-all pleasant experience. When we have a negative experience this is when we seem to remember how important customer service is.
Negative customer service can happen everywhere.
- The uncaring or indifferent person who shrugs when a customer asks for help or points out a damaged product.
- The contractor who fails to follow through with a contracted agreement or is continuously late on the job.
Sometimes clients will leave and you simply will never hear a complaint – that’s because they are pleased – with your competition. Customers or clients are strongly influenced by the perception of quality and service that you provide. That is why customer satisfaction is the strategic tool for every company’s success.
Competition for customer loyalty is fierce. Some companies have adopted mission statements and policies to treat the customer with sincerity and integrity. Whether you have a large company or a small business, you may want to have a written policy to ensure customer satisfaction.
Some aspects to think about are:
- Customer need – Ask your customers either formally with a customer survey or informally at the time of a transaction to give you insights to product use or future services needed. Now you have a starting point and can set goals to gauge customer satisfaction.
- Customer satisfaction – Consider establishing a customer service policy. It will determine direction and help create strategies while setting specific goals with time-determined objectives.
Coaching For Quality Service
Helping your clients understand the importance of customer service can mean the difference between a lucrative career and failure.
When customers communicate problems, team members should have the ability to respond and take action to correct the problems. Customers feel heard and situations can be addressed to prevent repeated mistakes.
You could help your clients to consider establishing a Customer Service Panel. This can be used to review any reports of customer dissatisfaction and can be measured against policies and procedures in place and adjusted if necessary.
All eyes are watching and all ears are listening for anyone on the management team who doesn’t practice what they preach. Managers must think of “customer-centered service” to help employees understand customer need and the employee’s accountability and responsibility to meet those needs. Leaders and management must lead by example.
More importantly, they must become the coach: motivating and rewarding team members for successfully implementing and meeting customer satisfaction. Everyone is responsible. No matter what title a person may have, everyone is responsible for customer satisfaction. Managers who support their teams in training prevent conflict with customers. In turn, customer satisfaction mirrors employee satisfaction.
You can help leaders learn to coach and support. Encourage managers to meet with team members to brainstorm for ideas on determining customer requirements and exceed expectations. Coach and support people to meet established customer service standards and strive to go beyond the minimum! Start motivating to give 110% in customer service by leading by example and implementing clear standards.