Customer Service - putting the customer first at every stage
In these recession-hit times everyone is battling for customers’ hard-earned cash. This means that companies should be falling over themselves to improve their customer service in a bid to stand out from the competition.
Unfortunately, for every company that gets it right, there are a dozen more failing to make the grade. Customer service is a lot more than enrolling your staff on expensive training courses or sending out the odd birthday card or promotional mouse mat. It is about the very basic principles of doing what you say you will do and delivering what you promised.
Although it’s not rocket science, successful customer service does need a bit of ongoing planning. At CBS we employed an external consultant to work with us to help us raise our service performance score from 80% to more than 95%. Basically they helped us to integrate our key business processes even more than they already were and to ensure that the customer is put first at every stage of the business.
Whatever the processes, though, it is people who really make the difference. It’s vital to get total employee buy-in and be prepared for a complete culture change within your business. You must also lead by example and explain why you are doing what you do. Criticism must always be constructive.
Staff need to understand their role but both you and they need to be flexible. Loyalty works both ways and will result in a committed and motivated workforce. Another key is delegation – this not only enables clients to get to know staff better but it gives staff control over their own development.
Finally – good communication is vital –things will go wrong occasionally and you should be prepared to get involved personally to show your customers how much you value them.
And how will you know if you’ve succeeded? Easy – by the number of compliments and the lack of complaints!
What’s your key to good customer service?