Customers are not always right, but they are the most important part of any business. Without customers, there is no money to pay employees, no money to buy equipment, no money to pay the rent. That’s obvious right? If you are not making every decision, every idea, every thought with the customer in mind, you need to do it.
It is important to build up a bank account of goodwill with your customers for the day there is an issue to resolve (and if they are a frequent visitor, the day WILL COME). How do you do this?
- greet them and thank them for their business EVERY TIME they visit, even if they do not buy anything
- use their name
- try to find out the reason behind their purchase
- remember or find out about their most recent purchase from you and how it is working out (remembering without asking is much more impressive!)
- if they ask a question you don’t know the answer to, promise to find out the answer and then personally follow up with them, along with the name of the person who will follow up with them….DO NOT just pass them off to someone else
- DO NOT blame a co-worker or supervisor…the customer does not care about your organization chart, they just want the issue resolved
- return all phone calls and emails promptly (have an automated away message up with another contact person if you will be gone for an extended period of time)
- take detailed messages if the customer wants to hear back on anything
- simplify the process for the customer
- provide tokens of appreciation for long-term business
- listen to their complaints, get their contact information, and notify the customer of the resolution to address the complaint PERSONALLY
- ask questions about their lives, ask questions about the benefits they receive from using your product/service
- remember something from your last conversation and follow up on their next visit
- send handwritten notes of recognition for special items, such as birthdays, job promotions, etc
- if your organization cannot provide a requested service, recommend someone who can, even if they are a competitor
- solve a problem the customer has
The best customer service staff do these things to develop connections and relationships with THEIR customers. The biggest indicator that your staff are doing this is if the customer only wants to deal with that person, or asks to see them if that person is not serving them that visit.
Strive for this kind of ownership from your front-line staff, and watch your retention percentage soar. See your satisfaction increase.
I would love to hear your customer service stories!
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–Click here for my book review of Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas