If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to long-time Customer service that determines whether or not you’ll ever be able to sell that person anything else. The essence of good Customer service is forming a relationship with Customers – a relationship that the individual Customer feels that he would like to pursue.
The mantra that relates to great relationships is, “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.” Providing good service is a simple thing. Here are some simple rules that will ensure that your business consistently looks after your Customers.
The first rule of good Customer service is that your phone has to be answered. Do whatever you need to, but make sure that someone is answering the phone when someone calls your business (when I say “someone” I mean people want to talk to a live person, not a fake “recorded robot”).
This could be the most important of these rules. Plan to keep the promises you make. Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship and good Customer service is no exception. If you say to a Customer “we’ll have this fixed and returned to you by Friday” make sure it is delivered by Thursday. Otherwise don’t say when. Think before you make any promises and make them carefully – because nothing annoys Customers more than a broken promise.
Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying any attention and needs to have it explained again? Not from the Customer’s point of view. Forget the sales pitches and the product babble and just LISTEN. If you’re truly interested in providing the best Customer service, let your Customer talk, show him or her that you are interested by making the appropriate responses, such as summarizing what they are saying and suggesting how to solve the problem.
No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug and say, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not but you can give the complaint your full attention and you may please this person this one time – and put your business in a position to reap the benefits of a good Customer relationship. Properly dealt with complaints become opportunities. They give you the chance to discover issues and correct them. Then thank the Customer for bringing the issue to your attention, don’t just slink away and fix it without giving credit for pointing it out. Market research has shown that a Customer who has had a complaint successfully dealt with is 70% more likely to continue doing business with you in the future.
Recently we had an electrical fault that had blown our fuse board. When we reset it, it blew again immediately. We live on an island where trades people are hard to get, however we called this guy who we had not meet and he came, discovered the fault quickly and all was well again. He said he was “going past anyway and there would be no charge”. Not long after that we committed to some major alterations and who do you think got the electrical work? We have told this to a number of people and given them his number.
If you have staff, train them to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Do it yourself, hire somebody or use the Modlettes on-line learning platform. Talk to your staff about good Customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and enough power to make those small Customer pleasing decisions so they never have to say, “I don’t know”.
The other day I went into my bank to make a cash transfer that I thought the bank’s system wouldn’t allow. Instead of explaining how to do it the teller came out from behind her desk and demonstrated on a Customer computer. We had a chat about it and I conferred a credit mark to the local bank for this action. We become critical of our banks but sometimes they surprise us. Whatever the extra step might be, if you want to provide good Customer service, take it. They may not say so to you, but people notice when you make an extra effort and will tell other people. And word of mouth is the cheapest and best advertising you will ever get.
Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, or additional information on how to use the product, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. A number of our clients are making Modlettes about their product and they assign a Modlette on its use and how to trouble shoot problems. This means the Customer has access on-line anytime there are any problems or he has need for more information. This involves very little cost and saves printing endless user manuals. Small things can be greatly appreciated.
If you apply these eight simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good Customer service. And the best part? Over time good Customer service will bring in more new Customers than promotions and price slashing ever did.