How to provide Superior Customer Service
As many of you know, I have made it my mission to change the world’s customer service viewpoint. Too many people today have just accepted that no matter where they go, they will receive less than satisfactory customer service. THAT’S NOT ACCEPTABLE! When we work so hard for our money, why spend it at a business establishment (no matter what type of business) that provides you with less than superior customer service? Does it make sense to hand your money over that way? Still not clear… okay, let me present this to you in another way. You go to a restaurant and ask for a steak. The waitress brings you a piece of chicken. You shrug your shoulders and say, “Okay, that’s fine.”
Furthermore, you eat the chicken and still leave the waitress a tip…would you accept that? No, of course not! But that is the type of unacceptable customer service we receive in other places of business, and we nod and say okay! STOP THE MADNESS, PEOPLE!
For all your customers (which means everyone), it is time to reclaim your God-given right to receive Great Customer Service. It’s called Free Will, people, and I will use my free will to change the world’s view on customer service. One of the ways I plan on doing this is by refusing to do business anywhere I receive poor customer service. Are you willing to help me in this mission? All you have to do is this: stop doing business in places that don’t appreciate your business. And let them know that you will no longer do business there and why. Sometimes business owners or managers do not know there is a problem until you let them know, so tell them. Once we start changing our views on what we accept as customer service, the businesses will adapt to start pleasing us better. It makes sense.
As for all of you employees and employers out there, there are specific steps you can take to ensure your customers receive the best customer service. And, when you start providing that type of customer service, your customers will keep coming back for more. If you provide them with the best service they can get anywhere and with a bit of flair, they will come back more often because they can’t get enough of it.
So, what are the steps? Follow these steps to assure your customers will return for more: (I have broken this down into two stages. One for employers and one for employees. Please read both!)
- Provide training to your employees on how to treat your customers. If you are unsure how this should be done, please visit my blog at what-customer-service.blogspot.com and email me, and I will set up a training class for you. Think of it this way… what do your customers expect to get from your business. This is different for every company and depends on your business type. But put yourself in your customer’s shoes…What would you expect to see regarding customer service if you were the customer? Once you have clearly defined that, you can train the employees to provide it.
- Set the standards high for your employees and make sure they stick to them. However, don’t just use this as a tool to “write up” or “fire” your employees. Let me be clear: if you have an employee you need to fire, then do so. But I don’t believe in the type of management that only uses negative reinforcement. I think you should also use positive reinforcement with your employees. You’ll find that the more positive reinforcement you use, the more you’ll get out of your employees. Don’t use fear management. It breeds negativity and bad morale; eventually, your customers can feel and sense it. This will only further lead to poor customer service.
- Having Mystery shops for your business is a great way to determine how your employees are doing. Having repeated this, I return to my last point: do not use this as a fear management tactic. I have worked for a business that did this, and believe me, it only breeds negativity and poor morale and leads to poor customer service because the customers sense the tension with your employee. If you do not know what mystery shopping is, let me clarify it for you. Mystery shopping is where you have someone pose as a customer or potential customer to see what kind of customer experience they receive when they come to your business. Again, the standards depend on your type of business and what you have trained your employees to provide to the customer. If you haven’t taught them yet, do not do this until you have. Now, mystery shopping can be done in several ways. You can hire a company to do this for you. You provide the company with the criteria your employees should meet and what you want the mystery customer to do and say. Then, they will hire a mystery shopper to come in, posing as the customer. The mystery shopper will report to the company you hired on how your employee did with full details on each criterion and an overall grade. The company then gives you the information on the mystery shop. It is a great way to test your customer’s overall experience and further train your employees. Now, here are a few things I recommend. Do not tell your employees that you are doing this. If they know, they will be nervous and treat your customers differently. It is more natural if you have them doing what they always do to grade the normal customer experience. Once you have received the feedback, use it as a training tool for not just that employee but all of them so everyone is on the same level. And reward the employee for a job well done. If you don’t want to hire a company to do the mystery shopping, you can ask a friend or family member to pose as the customer and grade the experience. Or, survey your customers on how well they thought their overall experience was, what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about it, and what they thought you could do differently!
- Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough, the only way to provide excellent customer service is to have a customer service standard, plan how your employees will deliver your criteria, and test the prototypes. Also, pay your employees what they deserve and reward them for going the extra mile. If your employees are making minimum wage and not getting any incentive to “go the extra mile,” then you won’t get anything different from them, and neither will your customers. Your employees are the face of your business. Your business’s service comes directly from your employees, so ensure your employees are getting a fair deal.
First, when working with customers, no matter your occupation, think of it this way…How would you want to be treated if you were that client?
- Don’t blame the customer if you are unhappy about your current job. Remember, it is not their fault that you are unhappy with your job, and it’s not their fault that you’re in the situation you are in, whatever it may be. Again, remember, what would you expect if you were the customer?
- When talking with a client, first of all, smile! Say Hello; how can I help you? If you are not behind a counter, shake their hand, introduce yourself, and ask their name. Then, ask them how you can be of assistance.
- If your employer has a standard for customer service, make sure you know what it is and abide by it. And, at the end of the year, when you get your annual review, remind your boss in writing how you met that standard and ask that it be added to your yearly inspection.
- If you work in a store, like a grocery store, department store, etc., why do you ignore customers as they walk by you? Why do you try to run them over while wandering around the store? When you enter a store, do you expect to be run over, run down, or ignored? And when you are, does it bother you? Here’s my point – it should not matter where you work, you should never miss a customer walking past, and you are never more important than a customer. This is a valuable lesson to learn. No matter who you are or where you work, you must learn to appreciate your customers! Think of it this way – not only could you be that customer getting the poor service, but more importantly, if it weren’t for that customer, you wouldn’t have a job! Remember that the next time you ignore a customer.
The fact is that customer service is ignored or takes second place in growing a business and increasing profitability. When in fact, excellent customer service will do just that, grow your business and make it more profitable.
If you survey a room of 50 people, 94% of the people in the room would tell you that they have not received good customer service lately. Furthermore, they would say that they have received inferior service recently, more than they wish to recall.
I believe that together, we can change how we are treated as customers and how we treat customers. If we all work together to change the viewpoint of everyone, then maybe we can bring back the days in which customers were respected and could recall more examples of “Great Customer Service” rather than poor customer service.
Please feel free to email me. To email me, visit my blog at what-customer-service.blogspot.com and find my email link. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about this article and examples of customer service you have received lately. Thank you in advance for assisting me in my mission.
Amy Rodgers is an independent writer who writes to help people and for the pure joy of writing. She has also made it her mission to change the world’s view on customer service. For more customer service information, visit her blog at what-customer-service.blogspot.com. For more articles this author wrote, see her article site at Amy’s Articles.