1. Listen to your customers
You might think you know what your customers want, but if you try to push an agenda on them they’ll probably be offended.
- Get to know your customers – they might surprise you.
- Ask them questions,
- look at their body language and listen to their tone of voice.
- Give them your complete attention.
- The best service offers customers what they didn’t know they wanted.
2. Know their needs and fulfil them
It’s a truism of business that customers don’t buy products,
- They buy experiences.
- They buy solutions to their problems.
- What customer problems can you fix?
If you keep your finger on the pulse of your customer’s lives you’ll be able to anticipate their needs and adapt to the changing market.
3. Keep good records
Everyone has had the experience of needing to repeat their account information every time they get transferred on a customer service call. That’s bad enough, but if you want a customer to go truly ballistic, make them go through the whole ordeal again next time they call. They won’t give you a third chance. They’ll be off to a competitor who knows how to treat them.
4. Maintain a courteous tone and body language
This is usually easy for the business owner. Of course, you like your customers – they’re about the give you money!
Coach your staff in how to treat the customer as the person who pays their salaries (because this is the ultimate truth).
5. Teach your customers to use your systems
Your procedures might be the most efficient from your point of view, but what really matters is what your customers think.
Adapt the systems to the people; don’t expect the people to adapt to the system. Everything – from signing up for your newsletter to making a purchase – should be simple to do and clearly explained, whether by your staff or website.
6. Apologize when there’s a problem
Even if the customer is the one at fault. Maybe they pressed the wrong button when they were setting up the product (which means you need to work on Commandment Five). The customer isn’t always right, but they are always the customer.
You both want the same thing – for the problem to be solved quickly and easily and for the customer to go away happy.
7. Exceed expectations
Customer service is the great business battleground of today. Companies are striving to differentiate themselves through their service. ‘Mostly good enough’ doesn’t cut it anymore.
To stand out from the crowd, you need to go above and beyond the ordinary. Thrill your customers with a special little something they didn’t expect. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Even a couple of mints can have a big impact on how your customers feel about you and your service.
8. Listen to feedback
Don’t just assume you know how you’re doing. Make the effort to ask your customers how they feel about the service they’re getting.
Use a format that makes them feel comfortable and encourages honesty, such as email surveys or a review section on your website. Then take a close look at what they tell you and make changes where necessary.
9. Treat your staff well
The best way to get happy customers is to have happy staff. If your employees hate their jobs and stand around marking time until they can find something better, how do you think they’ll treat your customers?
10. Maintain the personal touch
In an increasingly mechanized and computerized world we’re all still people who need to feel special. Try to get to know each of your customers as an individual and tailor your interactions to suit them.
Send them a ‘Happy Birthday’ message or memorize their favourite order. There are plenty of software programs that will help you keep track of everything no matter the size of your customer base.
What do you think of these ten commandments of customer service? Do you have anything to add, or any comments or suggestions? If you do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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