Customers of today are more connected and informed than ever before. Word about your service quality gets around, which can either be incredibly valuable or extremely costly for your business In fact it costs you five times as much to win a new customer than to keep the current one. Customers are not loyal by nature and research shows that emotion influences purchase decision six times more than rationale. Connecting to your customers on an emotional level is the key to establishing a lasting relationship with your brand.
We must go beyond simply delivering a product and develop strong bonds with our customers. Provide a unique customer experience by proactively anticipating your customers’ expectations and exceeding them every time!
Service excellence is an attitude – an inside job! It should be ingrained in every department – it begins and ends with every person in your organisation. It’s more than a slogan on the wall in Reception. Its consistent at every point of contact and drives your company‘s strategy at every level. The company values should be understood by every member of staff and demonstrated at every opportunity.
Taking good care of your customers is not important, it’s imperative!
Here are a few pointers:
Never waste a customer’s time. Don’t force customers to cool their heels while you figure out what went wrong and who’s at fault. Instead, address their concerns promptly and then figure out how to do better going forward. No matter what it costs – the loss of one customer and all of the potential customers he or she vents to, will ultimately be far greater than the cost of solving one problem.
Company staff should be treated with respect and dignity. Unhappy staff cannot possibly give great customer care. They will take their misery out on your customers. Having happy customers’ means having happy internal customers! Recognise high performers, promote from within, have an “open door” policy where people can air their views and opinions. Their level of performance will decide how good production will be – it will directly affect the bottom line! If your staff feel worthy and valued, they will make sure targets are reached.
Train your employees in interpersonal skills. Everyone knows how to be friendly – right? Wrong. Customers are treated badly either because they simply don’t understand basic courtesy or because they are reacting to their own high-stress jobs. If they do not have the skills to handle difficult customers, they are likely to vent their frustration on the customers. They need instructions and guidance to show them exactly how you want them to treat your customers.
Recognise an opportunity in an unhappy customer. Mistakes offer a good way to retain a customer for life while generating tremendous “word of mouth” about excellent service. Listen carefully to the customer, solve problems quickly and always be quick to apologise – and always tell the truth.
In closing – the 5 P’s of Excellent Customer Service – Process, Product, Presentation, Price and most importantly – People.