Let us create a 3D eBook for you!
Let us create a 3d Digital eBook for you! DigyCat.com

From Scowl to Smile: 5 Practical Steps to Instill Exceptional Customer Service


Whether in a restaurant, a retail establishment, or the local post office, we have all experienced a decline in customer service. Rarely do smiling, happy employees interact with us anymore. Instead, the person we are dealing with in face-to-face relationships does not even attempt to feign a smile, but rather greets us with a scowl, completely avoids eye contact with us, and grudgingly mutters responses to our requests and questions. When did customer service cease to exist? Why is it suddenly so difficult for employees to show customers some common courtesy along with a little friendliness? Have we ventured so far from the service standards of yesteryear and become so shortsighted that we refuse to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves?

Today, improving customer service is a top priority in organizations worldwide. As a result, company leaders spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually training their employees how to provide exceptional customer service. Unfortunately, the effort is not paying off. Even with such vast resources being spent on this simple and obvious problem, few companies achieve outstanding results. And as their customer service levels plummet, dissatisfied customers take their business elsewhere and company profits suffer. Is there any improvement in sight?

The Importance of Customer Service

Purchasing virtually any goods or services is a process whereby the customer moves from interest to desire to decision. During that process, one of the primary determinants as to whether the customer completes the purchase, as well as his or her level of satisfaction in the sales process, is the attitude of the sales employee. Interestingly, the customer's attitude frequently reflects that of the salesperson. Thus, an employee attempting to close the sale will generally find it much easier to do so if he or she gives the customer a positive attitude and friendly disposition to respond to.

Equally important is the post-sale service experience, especially in today's environment filled with technically complex products and services. This trend is likely to continue as technological complexity increases and as our population continues to age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2005 there will be 85 million Americans over age 50, and they will have cumulative purchasing power of $900 billion annually. The combination of technical complexity and the aging population will result in an increased proportion of sales transactions requiring post-sale customer service on a periodic or continuing basis.

Given the customer service problems we face today, coupled with the growing demand for increased levels of pre- and post-sale customer service, we need to begin thinking much more seriously about how our organizations will rise to meet these growing market demands. Adding to this problem will be the demographic reality of a shrinking pool of available younger workers to fill these customer service openings, which frequently are entry-level positions. The following practical steps can help your company stay ahead of this trend so you can meet tomorrow's customer service needs today.

1. Hire happy people. In our haste to find a "warm body" to fill a vacant position, we frequently miss some of the most obvious indicators of a person's likely success or failure. People who are open, approachable, and generally happy are far more likely to respond in a positive manner to our customers' needs. Prospective employees who act guarded or excessively shy, or who show evidence of having a "cold fish" personality during the interview process, probably are not good hires at the outset.

2. Train your people thoroughly. When employees thoroughly understand the organization they represent, as well as its policies, products, and services, they are far more likely to interact positively with customers. Realize, though, that training of this sort is not a one-time-for-life event applicable only to new hires. Today's organizations, markets, products, and services are dynamic and changing constantly. Keep your employees up-to-date with all the latest trends by offering continual training opportunities.

3. Treat your people exceedingly well. Do you treat your employees the way you want them to treat customers? Most company leaders do not, yet they expect their personnel to excel when it comes to friendly customer service. The fact is that employees who are unhappy on the job are not likely to display a positive, helpful attitude to their customers. Instead, they will respond to customers with the same attitude and outlook they receive from managers and supervisors. To foster exceptional customer service skills, company leaders need to ensure that they treat their employees in the same manner they want their employees to treat customers.

4. Solicit customer feedback and act promptly upon it. The only way to get a true reading of your company's customer service is to actively solicit feedback from every customer, not just the ones who you know are satisfied. Equally important is to ask for feedback in a way that prompts more than superficial responses. Demonstrate your desire for honest opinions by asking proper questions. Superficial questions return superficial responses, while thoughtful, insightful questions result in honest, valuable answers. Carefully formulate open-ended question so the answers can reveal the true state of your company's service levels.

5. Ensure that your senior leadership is hearing unfiltered feedback from both your operating personnel and your first line managers. In almost every organization, the people on the front lines have a clear understanding of the true customer satisfaction levels. The problem lies in how accurately this information moves up the organizational hierarchy. Just as any military general in the field strives to get an accurate report of what is occurring on the battlefront, many executives yearn for a clear understanding of the customer service that occurs at their organization's front lines. If you want to know what is really happening in your organization, get out and talk with your employees and your customers. Then, establish clear and strong guidelines for information to travel up the ranks. The more accurate information you can obtain, the better understanding you'll have of what needs to change.

Regardless of your industry, if you want your customers to regularly experience service with a warm, heartfelt smile rather than a scowl, you must set the example and live by it. Show your employees the vision to follow so you can instill customer service practices that will positively impact your bottom line.

Copyright 2005 by John Di Frances

John Di Frances is an internationallyrecognized organizationallegacy expert and keynotespeaker. www.difrances.com


MORE RESOURCES:

Customer Service - Google News

This RSS feed URL is deprecated

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Busse: The intersection of customer service and social media - Long Island Business News


Long Island Business News

Busse: The intersection of customer service and social media
Long Island Business News
randi-busse If you're a regular social media user, you're probably familiar with people using these channels to make complaints, praise companies, start a discussion, or indulge in a mud-slinging match. Online social media communications have changed ...

55% Of Consumers Welcome Customer Service Chatbots - Retail TouchPoints


55% Of Consumers Welcome Customer Service Chatbots
Retail TouchPoints
Chatbots — AI applications that simulate human conversation — are becoming more pervasive in online and mobile customer service, and acceptance of them is growing: 55% of American consumers, and 65% of Millennials, report that they want chatbots ...

Joseph E. Huerta: Not pleased with Comcast's customer service - Longmont Times-Call


Joseph E. Huerta: Not pleased with Comcast's customer service
Longmont Times-Call
I continued to view charges on page 3, listing "Your new charges" in detail — bundle, additional services and equipment, and then the red flag, "other charges and credits," including a broadcast TV fee (paid in TV starter) and regional sports fee (no ...

Exceptional Customer Service And Low Cost Are Not Mutually Exclusive -- Here's How To Achieve Both - Forbes


Forbes

Exceptional Customer Service And Low Cost Are Not Mutually Exclusive -- Here's How To Achieve Both
Forbes
Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew undergo some of the most rigorous service training in the industry, instilling a business culture that is exceptionally customer-centric. As a result, it is regularly voted one of the best airlines in the world. Yet ...

These Two Customer Service Formulas Can Improve Employee Performance By 100% - Forbes


Forbes

These Two Customer Service Formulas Can Improve Employee Performance By 100%
Forbes
Even the most engaged, best-intentioned employees (and their managers) can benefit from knowing a couple essential expert formulas that will improve their customer service performance day in and day out. Today I'll share two rules of thumb how to ...

MTA, union deal will create hundreds of new 'customer service ... - New York Post

Seven Customer Service Practices That Will Help You Win Over Clients - Forbes


Forbes

Seven Customer Service Practices That Will Help You Win Over Clients
Forbes
Back in the mid-90s when Amazon was first starting, I felt that Amazon gave me the best customer service and best customer experience. Instead of jumping around different websites, I had everything in one portal. In Amazon I found a company that gave ...

Why is Customer Service in Asia so Terrible? - Forbes - Forbes


Why is Customer Service in Asia so Terrible? - Forbes
Forbes
Asia's service sector is booming. This article takes a closer look at how this lucrative sector is developing. Don't miss out on the investment opportunities that are ...

and more »

Telefonica suspends customer service operations in Guatemala after killings - Reuters


Telefonica suspends customer service operations in Guatemala after killings
Reuters
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - The Guatemalan unit of telecommunications firm Telefonica SA suspended its customer service operations and closed its shops over the weekend after three of its employees were shot to death in the Central American nation.

and more »

LargeFriends.com - the best dating site for plus-sized singles!
SuccessfulMatchCentral.com - the best dating site for plus-sized singles!

PreLaunchX

AusTrade Domain Is For Sale - $15,000 For Enquiries eMail Us

© www.AusTrade.biz - 2012

home | site map | links