9 FIXES … for your customer service!

Customer Service TrainingA new buzz word for excellent customer service is “Wow” service. This kind of service has been defined as “customer service that you don’t give a second thought to.”

Here are a few tips:

1. Relax the Profit Mentality
Everyone knows that money pays the bills. But money is not the purpose; it is the outcome of the purpose. Many successful companies began out of a passion, not for money. One example is Disney whose main purpose was to make people happy. Walt Disney said “I want to build the happiest place on earth and fill it with happy people.” Now his dream is making people happy and earning huge profits doing so.

2. Become Customer Obsessed
Consider this “Old Saw”: You can’t satisfy your customers if you don’t know what they want. Most businesses spend a huge amount of resources studying and analyzing their competition, but they spend insufficient time figuring out how to make your customers happy. The value proposition is to spend time and resources researching how they want to be served and how you can “wow” them. Stop being obsessed over your competition, start obsessing over your customers.

3. MBWA
Throw off that CEO Status and manage by walking around. It is natural to be proud of our status and accomplishments. There is only one problem, your customers don’t care about your status or your accomplishments. Move around, check up on staff, interact with your customers and let them know you value their patronage.

4. Visibility
A good leader doesn’t get stuck behind the desk! Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is always on the move – meeting employees, talking to cabin crew, soliciting feedback from passengers. He keeps a journal of the feedback he receives. He is constantly asking for opinions from staff and passengers.

5. Hire the Right Type of People
Hire only people that get a kick out of serving others. Do not hire egotistical people, no matter how well they perform in other areas. If they will come in contact with your customers, be forewarned. Here is another “Old Saw”: Hire for attitude, train for skill.

6. Treat Employees Right
Your employees are your internal customers, treat them the way you want them to treat customers. Don’t give your staff disservice and expect them to give your customers great service. Gratitude is highly underestimated within the workplace, appreciate your employees. Praise in public but criticize in private. Give them occasional surprises. Make them feel special. Treat them, and your customers, like gold.

7. Share Helpful Information
Share helpful information with your customers. If you can’t solve their problems and you know someone who can, direct them there. This shows you care about them more than your desire to make money. The key to creating an amazing customer experience is to care. At Zappos, if someone calls looking for a specific pair of shoes and they’re out of stock in that size, everyone begins to check on three other competition websites, and if they find it there, they direct the customer right to the competition.

8. Maximize Phone Conversations
The telephone is a great branding device. It gives you the customer’s undivided attention for those few minutes. In this age where there are so many distractions fighting for the customers attention, that is a blessing. If you get this interaction right, they will remember for a long time. Consider a test period where you discontinue measuring call times, trying to get customers off the phone in the name of efficiency. Actually, that is poor service.

9. A Happy Environment
I believe in working hard, but having loads of fun and bond with employees. On the other hand, spend some time out of the office and don’t take yourself too seriously. If you’re not having fun, neither will your employees, and your customers will notice. Many companies focus on how to get the customer’s money, but great companies focus on what happens after they get the customer’s money. So, focus on building long relationships with your customers, and don’t let bad customer service kill your business.

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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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