Many of us have bad service stories, many of us have done some customer service training too, yet far too often the service levels in businesses are low and people the world over soon know about it when word gets out via the internet with one or five bad reviews. The simple thing is to ignore it and hope it goes away, (fat chance of that) the better thing to do is to find ways to make the service sizzle.
- They are they – The customers are who they are and as such probably want to be treated that way the way they like, so treat them the way they like and chances are they will keep coming back because they like what they experienced, speak their ‘language’, fit to their values and beliefs. Sure you need to be professional and not turn into a ‘slack jawed yokel’ when you speak their language, but flexibility helps. Oh and yes manners and courtesy still count and always will.
- Give customers more of what they want – Under promise and over deliver. This can be hard in some businesses, but the happier you can make someone with a little extra add on, the more they will remember you. “We can have that done for you by Thursday” they accept, but if they get a call on the Wednesday to say “It’s ready to pick up. is a nice touch, make sure you can repeat that though as expectations can rise.Note, most people like to be acknowledged, “hi, hello, good morning’ from everyone they come into contact with in your organisation is a fantastic initiative, people generally love it.
- Your people need to be in charge – It’s their customer, sure it’s your business or you are their boss, but ensure they have the skills and abilities required to deliver what that customer wants and do it with pride of ownership. It might mean you give them some extra support or resources to ensure they wow the customer, but remember if the customer is happy you have a chance at seeing them return to your business and buying more,they may even bring another buyer with them.
- They talk, acknowledge that – Customers can talk fast, if they had bad service, they can tell a heap of others in seconds with a smart phone and a few social media sites. BANG your business is int he spotlight and not in a good way. Encourage feedback and get on the bandwagon when you get it good and bad, have someone ring the person in a timely manner and acknowledge the challenge or the positive note. Yes that means you or a responsible person who can say YES we acknowledge your feedback and can act on it if need be.
- Your people think, cause that to happen – Be amazed at what your people can do when given the lead, ask them to come up with ideas to boost service levels, ask them what the challenges are, ask them to find answers. Then sit back and watch, now you are being amazed, if not you didn’t give them enough resources to create a solid solution. Oh and now it’s your turn, implement their findings.
- Measure what’s happening – If you go from five complaints a month to two then a positive change has happened. Ask how else can you measure your service satisfaction levels? Do it, make it easy to use and report on, then hold people to it.
- Know the benefits – Why do you want your service to sizzle in the first place? Well it can be as simple as surviving and beating your competitor’s to the customer. It can be that if you don’t change things bad service reports will overrun the good ones and you will be out of business. If you don’t alter things your current staff will be bored and go elsewhere.
Cause your people to be trained well, hold them to the higher standard and reap the rewards, you owe it to you, the staff and the customers. after all without customers your business will not exist for long.
Get good at service or get out of business – Regards Steve Gray