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The Sykes Group
Customer Service Article: How to Give Outstanding Customer Service? Show Your Customers You Care
By Ed Sykes
I recently went to a major computer/electronics store to buy an expensive software package. I felt good that I was able to find the software at a substantial discount. But by the time I was through paying for my purchase I never wanted to come back to the store again.
What is happening in many organizations in these economics times? They invest more money to bring in the best products, create great store displays, and bring in the best computer systems to manage inventory and process orders. But they invest little time or money making sure that the customer has an enjoyable experience at the “moment of truth.” Plenty of “high-tech,” not much “high-touch.”
What happened while checking out was that the cashier was so indifferent to my existence that I could have been Osama Bin Laden and she still wouldn’t have noticed. No eye contact, bad body language, no interaction with me besides saying “$312.64, credit card or cash?” Have you ever experienced this before?
The Forum Corporation did a survey where they asked people why they stop doing business with a company. Sixty-eight percent said they left because of the indifference by the organization they were doing business with.
How much money are you losing because of indifference by your employees? Or a better question, how many customers or how much money can you afford to lose in these competitive times? Not one I hope. But it happens everyday.
How do you stop this title wave of customers from leaving your organization? Whether you are a manager, an employee or an owner of an organization that deals with customers (and who doesn’t) in person or over the telephone here are three “common-sense” customer service techniques that will grow your customer base:
Develop a mission statement that clearly explains how to treat customers, how customers should feel dealing with your organization, and what the organization will do to guarantee an enjoyable experience for the customer. Very important, involve all employees in the defining process to come up with ideas, challenges to the mission, and what they will do to guarantee success of the mission. This way everyone takes “ownership” in the solution.
It’s not enough to create a mission statement that sits in the darkest regions of the organization. Provide ongoing training so that “common-sense” customer service becomes a part of the mission statement and your organization gives the customer an outstanding customer experience. In my situation at the store, that was a situation that would have never happened if the cashier had the correct training on how to interact with the customer. Also discuss the mission statement at staff and employee meetings and coachings. If you have the option, videotape your employees interacting with your customers.
Make every effort to “catch” your employees or co-workers doing something good. This means at the earliest moment you see or hear about anyone in your organization, make sure you reward or acknowledge him or her for their efforts. Preferably in public. This could be a “great job” sticker, a discount coupon to a restaurant or store or a simple “thank-you for a job well done.” Remember, the key is to reward individuals as soon as possible after the action you want to see.
These are three “common-sense” customer service ideas that you can implement today to increase customer satisfaction, enhance customer relationships, and keep your customers coming back.
P.S.-I was finally able to get the cashier to say “thank-you and have a nice day.” If you want to hear about how I did it and how you can too (assertiveness communication skills) please feel free to contact me.
Want to learn more how to provide outstanding customer service and increase customer satisfaction? Our Customer Service Program, Difficult People, and Assertive Communications customer service training programs will give you the skills to master any customer service situation and increase customer retention.
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker published in the areas of leadership, change management, customer service, and teamwork. He works with business and government organizations who want to reach the next level of success and individuals who want to perform at their best. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at (757) 427-7032 or visit his Web site at www.thesykesgrp.com.