How do you deliver excellent customer service in your business?
Looking for advice from people who serve people well. Customer service is something that ensures our customers hang out, continue to buy from us, and keep coming back.
Customer service is everything. A clean store/office, pleasant knowledgeable staff, answering the phone in two rings or less with a friendly demeanor (and not putting people on hold, if you can help it). Customer service is the entire buying experience, soup to nuts. Whenever I manage a team, I try to emphasize how every action, every comment-- when interacting with a customer or on behalf of a customer or around a customer-- is customer service. Customer service is NOT just when there's an issue or problem. It's sort of a general answer, but one that I think is important. If more businesses thought this way, there'd be better customer service in the world! Without our customers, we aren't working. We don't have customers unless they have a superior experience.
Great feedback on this one so far!! Some quick points to consider regardless of industry.
My experience is to know your client, anticipate their needs and deliver service far above the expectation from the client. The best service is proactive. The next best is being timely and responsive when it's reactive.
I've learned that a service mentality is embedded in the DNA of some people and not others. Hire the right people to deliver the service you desire. Build a culture around the service model you are aiming for. Top down leadership on this is critical for success.
You read and hear that companies need to deliver an "experience" to the client for them to like and remain loyal. Sometimes easier said than done, but a consistent focus on service and executing the hard work to keep it meaningful in the culture should be a priority of all companies.
Apply SMART goals and ask "why" 5 times as you dig deep. This will help define crystal clear expectations which will be needed for others to embrace and engage. Best of luck...
I deliver excellent customer service by:
* Providing a free webinar series weekly to help educate business owners about social media marketing, reputation management, SEO, and many other business solutions.
* Providing a way for the business owner to make money before he has to pay for our services. It is an interesting twist on a traditional lead magnet except our lead magnet does not cost the owner any money, yet he is making money right away so he has the money to pay for marketing services.
* Listening to clients questions and concerns and providing innovative solutions.
* Follow up with clients on a regular basis making sure they are happy with our products and services.
* Offer incentives for referrals (if they are referring my business to others then I know they are happy)
Stupid simple: give them what they want!
OK, easy to say, not so easy to do.
The phases of experience (in short form) include: desire, choice/evaluation, decision, expectation, engagement, and rememberance. Each has its own psychodynamic territory in your customers mind/body engagement with your service.
The best service will be percieved and remembered by those customers who experience the least costs, cognitive and economic, and most joy, surprise and happiness, throughout the cycle of engagement.
In my opinion of course...
BTW, although you might be taken to ask customers "what they want" you are likely to come up short with the map they present. Psychological studies have show that people do not know their own minds and will "feel" and behave differently than espoused. (Not my opinion!)
So many great answers reading these can only make of us all better in the service industry.
Excellent customer service starts with your internal customer, your employees, having them engaged on making your vision come to reality. Your people attitudes have to be right to set the stage even before you start selling your services. Work on their strengths and build from there. Empower them to bring out the best in them. This will then make it easier to take your service to the customer. Invest in your people and they will invest in you.
Once your goods are sold it is so important to follow up with your guest/clients. Knowing the good and the bad are equally important. When a customer is not happy you should do what ever it takes to win them back. One upset person means a lot others when they talk. Never ignore a customer that responds negative on Yelp or other websites. Addressing them is so good for business and can calm the bad down and give readers a different view if your response is put together well.
Continue to improve your product or service let you customers know your accomplishments. Small changes continually can increase profits, sales, and your customer base.
Hi Ms. Mock,
The philosophy you have shared doesn't' quite align with your mission of delivering excellent service to your customers. The way I aligned them is along the following flow:
a - Customer has to gain from my products/services.
b - Customer's EBITDA has to increase as a result of my products/services.
c - When customer prospers through my products/services, I am likely to prosper.
d - When customer prospers, my business and EBITDA prospers.
e - When customers prospers, he would also provide referrals to me directly.
e - If I only focus on what customers buy from me, it is not likely to sustain.
So to prosper and thrive (or flourish) I need to:
1) Focus on relieving customer issues and barriers through my products/services.
2) Increase customer revenue through my products/services directly or indirectly.
3) Reduce customer's idling inventory/waste on a constant basis.
4) Help customer achieve 2-3 consistently throughout the year.
Hope this "Pull" strategy helps.
Setting customer expectations is key to providing excellent customer service. Being clear on what your company policies are ensures this. Also, having CSR's recognize that the customers' needs come before theirs AND that they have no business getting sucked in the customers' emotional turmoil. Knowing how to deflate that balloon is a skill. In addition to the hands-on tactics, it's important to have a means to stay in touch with your customers, soliciting feedback so they feel part of your product. This should lend itself to product loyalty. Customer service has always been ingrained in me from when I was a little kid so I learned to listen, be courteous, realize that an irate person is the one having the bad day - not me and come up with a workable solution so the customer leaves happy. Not everyone will be appeased but if you follow those basic principles at least you did everything in your power to resolve the situation at hand.
As a website designer, one of the things I used to do was to offer a 30-day unconditional no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. I had to seriously reconsider that policy when I had a customer who loved her website and referred people to me but then cashed in her guarantee and never told me what I could do to make things right.
Now what I do is I will make a website with no money down and then only ask for the money for hosting when they say they love the site.
I think this approach is really radical and crazy in many ways but it has worked well!
We deliver excellent customer service through the experiences we create for our clients and in turn advise them on how to create the most memorable experiences for their customers. We are also passionate, authentic and professional about each project we take on which resonates with clients and their customers! And, we practice what we preach in how we treat each other as well as our customers. We believe and we care and we know that making people feel "GOOD" at each point of contact is the absolute KEY!
Today high-quality customer service is #1 factor on a way to growing business.
How we provide good customer service at http://www.nexgendesign.com/concept :
- communication. About 80% of customer's issues can be solved just by on-time call or chat. We do our best to make sure the team meets the deadline and performs high-quality work;
- weekly contact. Even if everything runs okay, anyway we reach the client just to make sure he is satisfied with work done;
- show that we are human beings and keep up with customers just like with our friends. When you have an informal connection that's a good basement to bring trust to your relations.
That's just a small part of a greater list on how you can improve your customer's experience and contribute to his business.
Customer service continues to be one of the highest impacting factors of why people do business with a chosen vendor or retailer. The number one thing that people remember about doing business with you is how you made them feel.
Treating customers with empathy and urgency in serving their needs and goals should not be compromised. Price and quality can even be minimized when a consumer enjoys doing business with you (to some extent). Know your customer and care about them.
It's impossible to deliver excellent customer service until you know what the customer values. And, it may not be the same for every customer.
For some customers, excellence is on-time delivery, or just plain "speedy" delivery (get it tomorrow if you order by 10 AM today).
For other customers excellence may be in the way your Web site works, how you arrange your merchandise in the store, the greeting they get at the cash register or when they walk in the door. For still others, it may be "concierge" treatment they get when they call or sit in your waiting room.
Chances are, if you get to know your customers, you can begin to segment your market based on what they truly value about doing business with them. When you have done that, you can begin offering all the varieties of "excellence" that keep your customers YOUR customers. You are likely even to discover where, when and how you can charge a premium for the specific excellence that some of your customers want and are willing to pay for.
Hi Denise ~
I always make the customer right. Once years ago, when I had fulfillment houses for my tapes/CDs (yes, it was awhile back :-), I received an annoyed voicemail from a customer saying she'd ordered a CD a month ago and still hadn't received it. I called her back, apologized profusely for the inconvenience, took her name and address and sent her the CD Priority Mail that day. It didn't matter to me whether or not she'd actually already paid; it is more important to have a satisfied customer touting an excellent service experience than a disgruntled one telling everyone they know never to patronize your business. Remember the old chestnut that a happy customer will tell a few friends — but an unhappy one will tell at least ten people! Goodwill is priceless.
I don't think it's a whole lot more complicated than everyone in the organization buying into treating the organization's customers with the exact same level of courtesy and professionalism that they expect when they hire a vendor, do business with a merchant, etc..
Secondly, people in the organization have to realize the world is a busy place for everyone these days. So much so that customers don't complain if they have no reason to complain. If they have issues you can bet they consider them serious because they have invested their time with you to try to resolve them.
To minimize issues the best solution from our experience is open and frequent contact with our customers. Take their advise and listen and respond to their concerns as often as practical business sense makes possible.
Well you are absolutely correct in saying you must serve people well. In my business that involves several things; 1. lots of phone conversations. I must fully understand what the person's situation is before i can recommend a product. This is a lengthy conversation at times because people think they know what they want as opposed to what they need. Two really different things. 2. On- going communication throughout the deciding and buying process, 3. quickly resolve any problems that may arise after purchase- again lots of talking. 4. If I can't help a person I refer them somewhere else.
First of all it is vital to have all your customer history inmediatelly in front of you as soon as your customers contacts you.
We as customers like to be known from the seller, and we hate to wait or waste time until the seller collects all the information from us to assist us.
A good tracking information software like CRM is vital for any kind of business not matter how big it is. Naming the customer and knowing exactly his activity with the business will save your business.
Then the other important thing to keep on mind is to be fully transparent with the customer. If you´ve sold something that you know it would have issues in the next future you should be prepared to repair the damage. I do not know a lot of customers who come back to the business if they felt they were cheated. In such cases it would be preferable to loose some money changing the stuff instead of loosing a customer for ever.
To end, never forget about a customer. This creates loyalty. No matter how small customer is, remember at least to say Happy Birthday yearly. People like these kind of behaviour.
From all your comments, its very clear that delivering excellent customer services requires:
1. Knowing/anticipating the needs of your customers
2. And being responsive that is having I am always here attitude and to let your customers know they can rely on you anytime they need your help - even responding to them when you're on your honeymoon...lol
3. And most importantly making sure that your customers enjoys returns/make profit worth or even more than their investment
Customers are the most important business makeup any business can hope for. A business that does not have customers is definitely a business not doing well. Excellent customers I regard generally as those customers who patronize the business favorably. Successful businesses see excellent customers as those who continue to patronize them and keep bringing more customers to the same business. Therefore, excellent customer service must be hinged on satisfaction that can prompt that customer to market for you. All kinds of marketing exist but I see person to person marketing as one of the most effective marketing any business should hope for. The clear difference in physically presenting a product to you is quite different from watching a TV advert. You can refuse to buy a shoe based on a TV advert but buy same shoe when your cousin who bought one tells you his or her experience. I will advise any business wishing excellent customer service to plan it simply in the way that each customer they have can bring forth another customer for that same business. Basing your customer service to encourage customer to customer marketing (physical advert presentation) is excellent customer service.
Start by being quiet and listening. Clients will tel you what they need and, if you ask them, tell you what they expect. You role is to define what you can deliver and be responsive when they need you. Never over promised and never deliver "knee jerk" solutions without taking a minute to examine the possibilities. Often we have a tendency to jump to problem solving mode before really defining the problem. Promise a response in a reasonable time if you need to research anything and then meet or beat the deadline you establish. Finally learn to do great apologies. You will screw up sooner or later if you are doing business. Take ownership, admit the error, and suggest a cure or response to deal with it. If you do these things they will remember you as a resource. Then make sure to seek referrals and ask permission to use them
First, I ask a lot of questions to find out about the needs of my client - not only what they need or think they want from me, but what else I can do for them and connecting them with other resources they might be seeking. Second, I seek to educate about my services, how I can help them and why it's necessary for them to fully understand the process. Lastly, I try to always under-promise and over-deliver. If I think I can get the job done by Tuesday and know for certain that I can get it done by Thursday, I'll give them a Friday delivery date and then try my best to have it by Tuesday. Nothing frustrates people more than empty promises and delays, so set the expectations accordingly.