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Sales Eye - Superior customer service (Sept 5th, 2005)

2013-07-10
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Superior customer service

5th September 2005

 

Why is it when you check-in to a five-star hotel, you feel so damn good? Like they really care. They genuinely seem delighted you are there, and more importantly, they want you to come back.

 

Compare that feeling to the one you have when you call your credit-card company to discuss a possible billing error. They put you on endless hold and the person on the other end of the line clearly hates their job.

 

In this article, we will discuss how your company can start to create a culture of superior customer service. It does not require complex or expensive changes - many times, it's the little things that matter most.

 

First you need to understand what is most important when it comes to providing superior customer service. Salespeople the world over believe that price matters most, but when you ask customers about their favorite business partners, price is rarely a major factor. Here is what they say are the three R's:

 

Reliability: They deliver what they promise.

 

Responsiveness: They get fast answers and help with their problems. They don't have to wait a day for a simple email or phone call to be returned.

 

Respect: Customers are the reason you are in business. They come first. Customers should be made to feel that they are the top priority. This mindset is needed at all levels of your company. This message needs to start with top management and should be a guiding mission of your company.

 

Here are three practices that you can implement immediately that will lead you to the land of happy customers and repeat business:

 

Review problems and make changes

All too often, your front line at the customer service level are well aware of the problems that your customers are having, but there is poor communication within your company to diagnose the problem and more importantly to solve it.

 

In our company, we have weekly meetings with representatives from all departments, and one by one discuss any complaints or problems that happened the previous week. Instead of sweeping problems under the rug, the situation is discussed, the mistake brought out into the open, and then a course of action taken to ensure it doesn't happen again. It is not about blame, it is about fixing the problem. 

 

Understand that your employees are your best customers

Sounds weird, huh? If employees are trained well, empowered to make decisions and motivated to provide superior service, then you will create an atmosphere of responsibility, instead of the typical, 'it's not my fault' mentality that plagues many companies.

 

Go the extra mile

Recently we had a client who was attending a conference in Moscow. They called us on Tuesday afternoon and needed to get a rush order delivered to them by Thursday morning ... in Amsterdam. In general, our business is not set-up for one-day turnaround. But this was one of those 'wow the client' opportunities. It involved people in all departments to pitch in and make that extra effort to get things done in record time and send it out. When you go the extra mile, your customers will appreciate it, and will be coming back for more.

 

Providing superior customer service is all about exceeding expectations. That 'under promise and over-deliver' concept that we discuss so regularly.  If you can deliver what you promise and worry as much about what happens after the sale as about signing the order, then your company is on it's way to becoming a favorite business partner and ensuring repeat business.

 

Do you have examples of companies who have provided exceptional customer service? Send us some examples of what they did to win your graces, and we will consider mentioning them in an upcoming article.

 

Next time we will discuss the biggest customer service faux-pas, the mistakes that your company and employees are making right under your noses without you knowing about it.

 

From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"