Try this quick quiz, and ask yourself how you fair in the customer focus stakes.
- Do you have a clear understanding about your customer’s wants and needs?
- Does your staff share this understanding?
- Do you have clear service standards that are written and easy to implement?
- Do you know what your competitors are offering your customers?
- Do you have a customer complaints system that is easily and effectively used?
- Do you have a quality control system on products that your staff agree to, and can implement with ease?
- Do you have an innovative way of building the relationship with your customers so they feel special?
- Do you have the potential to be better at customer service?
This quick quiz often catches people out, and often they say, but we are just a small business, my response, is sure you are, but your competitors may not be, therefore think and act like a bigger business.
If you are truthful with your responses to the quiz, there are probably some areas, which could be improved. In order for your business to sustain pressure from your competitors, each of these basic areas should be addressed totally and honestly. Quality service may be an obvious thing to some business operators, yet they fail to retain a customer-focussed approach at all times. Here are a few statements and points to consider…
- Do you know that most customers buy items to fulfil a need or provide a solution of some kind, they do not buy on price alone, yet most people sell that way?
- Do you say to customers “Can you help them?” instead ask them, “Can I assist you?” (People only want help when they are in major difficulty, assistance is much softer.)
- Do you know what motivates you and your team to provide effective service?
- Did you know that there are only two types of customers, internal (your staff) and external (the paying customers). The internal ones require your attention just as much as the external ones.
- All businesses want to provide great service and most think they do, yet reality tells us great service is often in short supply.
Getting your team to share in a vision of providing excellent customer service is often easily achieved when they realise that their job depends on turnover and profits and that this comes from happy customers. If they really value, and are interested in doing a great job they will soon share your vision. Also remember that people are often lead by example and not by words alone so prove to them that you can also do as you say.
I spent some time with an organisation that had just put on a new recruit, getting used to the role of receptionist took a while as they were still unsure of some of the staff. Interestingly a number of calls were taken that were handled poorly, even a few that were lost in the system and disappeared completely!
The work I was doing related to marketing and in particular the service delivery of the business. When asked for some ideas, they were shocked to think that a customers first contact may well be with someone who did not really understand a great deal about the business or who did what! Yet it was an efficient measure at the time that quickly filled a hole for the expanding business. The longer-term effect may leave a little to be desired.
Efficiency V’s effectiveness.
Efficiency does not always mean effective and this company soon learnt the lesson the hard way when complaints filtered through from regular clients. Getting really focussed on providing great service is an important step in ensuring your customers get what they want, providing a solution to their initial problem in a way that keeps them coming back for more.
Now, ask yourself, are you really customer focussed, and what can you and or your team do about it?