Customer service is the end-all to any company’s success or failure. The customer is what provides the income that a company needs to thrive and determines whether or not a company can continue to stay in business. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that a high level of customer service always be something to strive for. Without continued excellence in customer service, a company’s success is over before it starts.
Get to Know Them
So many times we see a company provide what the customer is looking for and then send them on their way. In a bicycle shop, for example, a customer walks in and is obviously searching for something related to a bicycle. He or she mentions that a desire to purchase a new bicycle is what has brought them into the store that day. The shop owner has plenty of bicycles for sale, lets the customer find one they like, receives payment, and lets the transaction end there.
One thing to remember is that, often, the businessman or woman knows more about the product or service they are providing than even the most informed customer. Suppose that the customer in the bicycle shop picked out a street racing, ten-speed bicycle and the shop owner, neglecting to develop a personal relationship with the customer, let the customer’s choice be the beginning of the transaction and the payment for said bicycle be the end of it.
Now, suppose that the same customer with a new street racing ten-speed bicycle was planning on taking that bicycle on a mountain trip through rugged and desolate trails. Obviously, the street racing ten-speed is not the best of choices for doing so. If the shop owner had taken the time to talk to the customer and asked questions such as, So, planning on doing some riding? Where at? the shop owner would have been able to suggest a better product for the customer and, hence, developed an appreciative bond between the business and the customer, causing the customer to, more-than-likely, make a return visit.
Make It Special
Sometimes, excellent customer service calls for the unusual. Make an effort to go the extra mile and provide what is known as customer-led services. Some customers might work until 5:00 p.m., which is just when your store closes. Offering to let the customer shop after the store closes is catering to a customer’s special needs and goes a LONG way in the relationship department. This sort of action also goes hand-in-hand with developing a personal relationship with the customer, as mentioned earlier. This example of customer service is something that can be used anywhere, from a small storefront business to a large corporation. The point is, pay attention to special needs of your customers, whether a customer is a casual shopper or a corporate client, and you will be rewarded with continued business from that customer again and again.
Customer Service Starts at Home
It is important to remember that good customer service starts with employees that are happy to serve the customer. Take care of your employees and they will take care of you. Make sure their needs are met and do what you can to create a workplace free from negativity and full of motivation and recognition for creativity. Happy employees love their job and it shows when they provide a service or product to your customers.
If an idea, plan, or strategy is not working, bring it to an end. So often, managers are faced with the realization that perhaps the system which was put in place to increase customer service is not going to produce positive results after all. Still, they are reluctant to drop the curtain due to pride or hoping that with just a little more time the plan could still be effective. Forget it. If it’s not working, move on to something else. Shut it down and start something else. There is no use in wasting customers time and business in the hope that whatever method is being used will eventually work out. Out with the old, in with the new is good advice.
Above all, remember that customer service is the single most important thing to consider in your business, second only to taking care of your employees. Be willing to be flexible and get involved in the process of customer service in any way possible, no matter how high on the food chain you are. Not only will this serve as a good example to your employees but it will increase the level of service that your customers receive.
By Myron Curry