Seven Ways to Ensure Excellent Customer Service

Customer Service is King“We are what we repeatedly do, therefore, Excellence is not an act but a habit”Artistole

Are companies like Amazon, Uber and Starbucks permanently setting a high bar for all product and service providers? Another question; Are customer service levels dropping while service expectations are rising?

With the waves of disruptive innovation rolling through the economy, fueled by technology and new business models, traditional businesses should make service excellence the cornerstone of their growth strategy in order to stay competitive.

Service expectations are high these days, largely driven by massively expanding options from low-cost, technology-enabled global companies that can be competitive on price, selection and service. Traditional businesses will lose ground as the knowledge driven consumer and new business models, enabled by mobility, cloud technology and e-commerce, compete for discretionary spending.

For example, CarMax, the largest used-vehicle retailer in the U.S., uses a fixed price, no commission sales person model, knowing the consumer is informed and service hungry. This approach is enabling them to expand rapidly to a total of 133 stores, after adding 13 new locations in 2013, giving them 18% annualized sales growth.

So, here are my suggestions:

1. Allocate a portion of your advertising budget towards staff training on customer service, sales, and closing.
2. Implement a follow-up program to convert leads to sales by ensuring follow-up calls until you get either a Yes or No to your proposal or offer. If the answer is no, ask why?
3. Add at least one new approach to reinforce your brand advertising with better execution, to build long-term customer relationships.
4. Compete on service excellence, not price, because customers can’t buy everything online, YET!
5. Explain to your staff the unique value of face-to-face customer interaction, and how they can leverage it into more sales.
6. Experiment at least one visit and one call from a mystery shopper. Follow up on the findings in the feedback report.
7. Search and research for ways to further embrace technology and innovation to get ahead of the curve, because your customers already have.

Many small businesses set standards for service within their domain. However, there are still business leaders that maintain the status quo, oblivious to the significant risk status quo poses to long-term viability.

Instead, use customer service excellence as the cornerstone to building a high growth business, particularly in this age of technological, demographic and economic change.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Customer Service, Leadership

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