Have you been in this situation?:
You step into a business place (store, financial institution, post office, etc.), excited to get that product you’ve been looking/waiting for. On entering the door, you greet the first employee you see (looking all sharp and well put together in their uniform) and though they responded to you, their response and lack of enthusiasm to assist you at that moment and for the duration of your time at the business place leaves you saying to yourself: “Next time, I’m going somewhere else.”
Joseph Jaffe, Founder at Evol8tion, sums up customer service in these few statements:
Customer Service is everything and anything that touches a customer – directly or indirectly. Customer service means servicing customers and it’s so much more than just solving problems or addressing complaints. Customer service is part of a holistic customer experience that is capable of providing a critical competitive advantage in today’s increasingly cluttered and commoditized marketplace.
I have found that as business owners and employees, there are times that we really want to make a sale or get the job done and don’t consider how important it is to connect with our customers to make them feel welcomed and appreciated.
I have had that experience more than a few times during the last few weeks and thought that I should share this post on a few ways in which business owners can improve their customer service:
1.Customer service starts from within.
In order to provide excellent customer service, it must start from within. You have to decide that you are ready to serve, to listen and exercise patience with the people you will be in contact with through your business.
2. Develop a model and implement it.
It does not matter the size of your business or your staff, it is important to formulate a strategy to best communicate with your customers. For example, you may have a greeting line followed by your name and then another line to start conversation with your customer. You may also need a strategy for dealing with issues with customers.
3. Be patient.
Customers can be difficult. We (yes we), at times, don’t know what we want and can take a while to make a decision. After we have finally figured out what we thought we wanted, we then have a change of thought and preference. Sounds familiar?
4. Meet your customers’ needs.
Be attentive. Listen intently. Read comments and queries carefully and try your utmost best to solve problems and/or come up with other alternatives.
Customers are happy when they get attended to, but they are most happy when business owners and employees take the time to listen and respond to their concerns with answers.
5. Mimic customer’s enthusiasm.
Customers who usually show lots of enthusiasm most times look for the same or a close enough response. It is sometimes a deterrent to that customer when they interact with people who do not show the same enthusiasm or even a smile.
6. Develop a customer service strategy for social media/online customer interactions.
Implement a strategy for social media interactions. Use auto-responses when there is no one to monitor your pages so that customers don’t feel like they are ignored. Let the customer know that you will be with them in a few hours or a day later.
7. ALWAYS SAY THANK YOU!
Never take it for granted that your customer will come back. Be grateful for each time a customer purchases from you or utilizes your services. Besides, they are the ones who’ve been keeping you in business..it’s only prudent to say thank you.
Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves. ~ Steve Jobs