Six key ingredients to stellar customer service
Today’s customers are more sophisticated and have a wider range of products and services to choose from than ever before. This combined with the fact that they can more easily compare, consider and access competing products online and overseas, it’s no wonder customers are harder to attract and more difficult to keep than ever before.
Consider these facts:
The average business may never hear from more than 90 percent of unhappy customers, but they will complain to 7-10 of their business associates and friends. Many customers aren’t dissatisfied, but they’re not sufficiently satisfied to resist a competitor’s offer. Therefore successful companies appreciate the value of encouraging communication with their customers. Companies that encourage complaints and then resolve them promptly win more customers and capture the largest share of compliments.
Following are six key ingredients to stellar customer service:
- Put people before other work. At the first inkling a potential customer is near or on the phone drop everything else. Put what you are working on away. Your work won’t walk away or hang up, but customers will. If you are face to face, make eye contact and immediately acknowledge them – let them know they come first. If on the phone, let them know you’re glad to hear from them, interested in why they are calling and immediately attentive to their needs.
- Always be nice – no matter how busy you are. Being busy is no excuse to be indifferent or rude. Demonstrate exceptional “be of service” attitude. If in any way you convey an “I’m too busy” attitude with a potential or existing customer, you will certainly drive them away. Costumers want all of your attention, and if you’re “too busy,” they will go elsewhere.
- Take time with your callers. Even though phone calls are an interruption, the person contacting you has a reason that is important to them. The caller needs your full attention, so avoid writing, emailing or talking to others while on the phone with people.
- Talk to them on their level. Company jargon and acronyms should stay within the company. Customers may not be familiar with the terminology and abbreviations your company uses internally. Use language that they will easily understand.
- Be friendly before you know who it is. By being friendly to everyone, you can offer the same superior customer service and respect to everyone and avoid discrimination.
- Watch what you say. “That’s fine” isn’t “Thank you”, and “Uh-huh” isn’t “You’re Welcome.” And “not a problem” isn’t appropriate if people are calling because they have a problem. Small habitual comments can inadvertently convey very profound messages, so watch what you say. Start today by counting how many times you forget to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” Make it a habit to always show appreciation and attention to customers. Let them know they are important to you personally, and appreciated by your company.
Remember, without customers, there are no businesses. Treat them as important as they are.