|Customer Service Information||
Let us create a 3d Digital eBook for you! DigyCat.com
8 Critical Steps to Establish a Customer Service Culture
"Every company's greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company,"--Erwin Frand
During our recent weakened economy, many businesses have seen declining revenues and declining budgets. Declining budgets often lead to reduced staff levels and diminished services. To me, this does not make sense. I believe that it is during the down times, when service should be at the forefront and retention of loyal customers even more of a focus.
When price wars fail to drive revenues, businesses often look to service to give them a competitive advantage. Many big business marketers are returning to a "service sells" mentality, however, many sell great customer service and few deliver. The problem is that few marketers have ever truly served a customer.
Throughout my years in business, I have had the opportunity to interact and develop a customer service philosophy. It is inherent that when you are in a service-based business, there will be times when your customer is compelled to offer you their feedback. It is what you do with this feedback that will shape the future and their impression of your business.
Upon reflection, most all of my interactions with displeased customers were not the result of a poor product, but rather a disappointing customer experience. Why is that? Because, product is not personal, customer service is. Briefly, I would like to share with you eight critical steps to establish a customer service culture.
1. Customers are the reason for work, not an interruption of work
This sounds really obvious doesn't it? How many times have you gone into a business only to wait while someone is on the telephone or busy doing some "non-service" task? Employees often lose sight of the importance of the customer and get consumed in lesser day to day tasks. Sure, there are tasks that need to be accomplished, but you cannot afford to sacrifice service to get them done. Good customer service must be a priority for you and your team. Without your customers, you have no company!
2. Train, train, and continue to train.
? Cross train your entire staff to be able to assist a customer regardless of their department. When a customer becomes upset they want their problem solved not to be shuffled between employees that are not empowered or enable to assist them.
? Offer continuous customer service training for your staff and once they are providing good service, continue to train them.
? Utilize role play situations to assist your staff in recognizing and experiencing both easy and difficult service opportunities. If an employee has a level of comfort with a difficult situation, they will be able to better handle it.
3. Empower your staff to serve
? Establish a system of resources for your staff to serve the customer. Allow them latitude to take the necessary action to provide exceptional service and resolve any issues should a customer become disgruntled. Create a structured system to allow your staff to serve customers.
? Establish a discretionary budget that an employee may access to recover a customer before you lose them. I recently learned that a major hotel chain has a monetary fund available per year and per employee enabling them to go above and beyond to ensure exceptional service. This empowers the employee to right a wrong or create a "memorable" customer experience. I am not advocating large sums of money, but with regards to customer service, a small gesture can go a long way.
? Ask your staff what tools would enable them to provide better service. You would not send a fireman into a burning building without the proper equipment. Failing to empower and enable your staff with the necessary tools to serve you customer leaves you with few options other than poor service.
4. Make service personal
? Greet repeat customers by name, if possible.
? Offer a handshake and introduce yourself. Creating service that is personal will not only retain customers, but help diffuse difficult situations should they arise.
? Thank your customers for their patronage. It really does make a difference.
5. It is ok to say "Yes", even when you should say "No"
? Support your staff when they make customer service decisions. In my business, it is my policy that an employee can act without concern for repercussion, as long as they are meeting a customer's need. I have found this creates a greater willingness to serve the customer.
? Often times you could say "no" to a customer, however, "no" can have huge implications on your business. Ask yourself, "Am I willing to potentially lose 10 customers as result of this interaction?"
6. Offer a solution
? Shift from the problem to the process for resolution.
? Offer a choice between several options.
? Put yourself in their place.
? Involve the customer in determining the solution.
? Clearly explain any limitations that exist.
7. Recognize your staff members for outstanding service
? Implement a customer service awards program that recognizes employees for exceptional customer service. Maybe you have tried these without success and do not believe that they work. I would tend to agree if the program were like most I have seen. Try something different; break the mold. One of my most successful clients offers spa treatments for his female employees if a customer goes out of their way to recognize them for great service. Another client provides his employees with a "day off with pay" incentive for every five unsolicited, positive customer comments that he receives. These are just a few examples that are "outside the box." Be creative and generate a little excitement in your staff for customer service.
? Take the time to acknowledge employees at staff meetings. People want to leave their mark and feel that they matter. Taking the time to recognize them in front of their peers can make a real difference.
8. Ask your customers what they think of your service
The best way to find out if you are satisfying customers is to ask them. Formal efforts could include customer surveys, questionnaires, interviews or comment/suggestion cards. Informally, get out and talk with your customers and your staff. Ask them how they feel about service you are providing. Ideally, use a combination of both methods.
You may be thinking, "Why should I go ask for trouble? Who knows what I might hear if I ask?" That is the point. As you will see in the statistics below, most customers will not voice their disappointment with your service levels. They will simply leave and never return. If you do not ask about the quality of your service, you might make the wrong assumptions and feel that you can reduce service levels because you get few complaints and lead your organization into areas that turn off your customers or cause problems that you never intended.
On the other hand, asking your customers about their satisfaction sends a message to them that you care about your business and about them. While you might hear some criticisms, you might also learn what you are doing right and see what you should modify.
In addition to the information, you will benefit from the interaction. Every interaction is a customer service opportunity. Make the most of each and every one.
Most of us continue doing business with people and businesses who give good service. We might not say anything, but we reward good service providers by continuing to do business with them. If the service is outstanding, we will probably tell our friends and colleagues about it. Likewise, when we receive poor service most of us vote, not with our voice, but with our feet-we just leave.
In the 1980's the White House Office of Consumer Affairs commissioned a report called the TARP study. The report revealed the following facts about unhappy customers:
96% of dissatisfied customers do not complain directly.
90% will not return.
One unhappy customer will tell nine others.
13% will tell at least 20 other people
Superior customer service is one of the most difficult deliverables facing the business world today. Selling service is the easy part, delivering on that promise offers a tremendous challenge. So I ask you, what can you do to improve the service you provide? Implement these eight steps and begin to excel at providing a superior customer culture today!
©Anthony Mullins - Elite Coaching Alliance 2005
Anthony Mullins is the President and Coach for The Elite Coaching Alliance. He specializes in leadership development, business coaching, strategic planning, 1-on-1 coaching, facilitation and inspirational speaking. He is the author of the upcoming book "Leadership Links." Anthony can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit his website @ http://www.elitecoachingalliance.com
Customer Service - Google News
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Customer Service Is More Than Just Being Nice To People
Many organizations tackle to the issue of customer service by exhorting their employees to speak with a smile. Be polite.
What Every Manager Should Know About How to Win the Loyalty of Customers
Dr. Michael LeBoeuf, in his cassette album entitled, Win Customers and Keep Them for Life presents twelve principles that will transform the workplace into a customer-driven, highly motivational team.
Improving Customer Service
Improving customer service starts at the top - with us owners and managers. We need to be living pictures of how we want our staff to treat customers.
How To Build a Profitable Business
It's never too soon to start saying thanks to your clients, vendors and referral sources for what they contribute to your business. Everyone loves to be appreciated and acknowledged, so start now and do something every month.
Top Ten Strategies for Delivering 5-Star Customer Service
Customer satisfaction is valuable, but customer loyalty is priceless. In today's competitive world of business, it is becoming more and more important to deliver customer service that is unbeatable.
Customer Service For Huge Profits
Customer service is the most vital asset for Businesseither it is online or offline. It's the critical factorwhich determines if your business has a future or not.
Customer Service Consultants
When all else fails in your company to meet the needs of your customer consider a customer service consultant. If you find that agents in your company are constantly having misunderstanding that result in loss of customers bring in a consultant.
Add Value - And Kill Mediocrity in Customer Service
There are two kinds of customer service we all experience occasionally, outstanding customer service, and bad customer service. What we experience most of the time is mediocre customer service.
Creating the Right 'Viral Reputation'
Unless you are brand new to business, or have been under a rock for quite some time - one key marketing technique (which isn't new) - is called 'Viral'.Based on the word 'virus' - viral marketing or viral business simply means it 'spreads' like a virus.
What To Do When Youve Blown It
It's bound to happen sooner or later - yes, even to you and your business. Sometime or other, you will make a blunder that upsets a customer.
CRM For Beginners - Customer Relationship Management Basics
In order to maintain a successful business, the business must understand and maintain a positive relationship with its customers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of bringing the customer and the company closer together.
Transforming Disgruntled Customers into Your Biggest Advocates
"I am writing to complain about the widget I bought from your site the other day."Sell anything and eventually you will be on the receiving end of a sentence like this.
Develop Loyal Customers for a Lifetime - part 2 (11 - 20)
Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their businesses by adding new customers. In today's competitive world of business, it is more important than ever to aim for more transactions with existing customers by using the power of customer follow-up and attention to good service.
Customer Service - A Sweet Essence
First let us specifically define customer service. It is the performance of a duty or responsibility due to a customer as a result of selling them a product or service.
Breaking the Ice and Winning Over the Client!
Wherever you turn these days you'll find articles covering every business strategy and tactic available to man, from how to make a great presentation to strategies for success all the way to negotiations and prospecting and getting a client to commit. But hardly anyone touches on the subject of breaking the ice with a new client and winning them over.
What have you done for your existing customers lately? Probably not much, if you are like most businesses.I know that hunting new business is more of an adrenaline rush than working the business you already have, but it is not as crucial to your long-term success.
Stellar Customer Service in 10 Simple Steps
If you're like me, you've had plenty of experience with BAD customer service. Just think about the last time you had a bad experience with a product or a service.
Restaurant Scheduling for Success
- Excerpt from Richard Saporito's latest e-book "How to Improve Dining Room Service"This Tip will Help Maintain the Staff Schedule Keeping the Dining Room Service Staff Tight and Content which is Essential for Pleasing Paying Guests.Staff scheduling is closely tied to dining room customer service and crucial for keeping your staff tight, happy and well connected.
Customer Service, the Internets Primary Neglected Business Concern
Customer service is everything to a business. Just look at big, successful retail chains: They let you return perfectly good merchandise just because you changed your mind.
Empowering Customer Service Vital
It never fails to amaze me how many companies have employees who are empowered to offer former customers wonderful incentives to lure them back, yet their customer service representatives have the ability to offer virtually nothing to convince an unhappy customer to stay.Powerless, these CSRs often actually ignore customers' requests and declarations of their intent to leave, even encouraging them to seek out another company!They often repeat the few phrases they're allowed to say over and over again, further infuriating the customers.
AusTrade Domain Is For Sale - $15,000 For Enquiries eMail Us
© www.AusTrade.biz - 2012