This weekend I had a conversation with my mom about customer service. She was irritated with an insurance company she had been a client of and had cancelled due to their terrible customer service. My mom said that she believed customer service was a dying priority of businesses today. My mom ran her own business for 20 + years and was the above and beyond type, which is why she expects the same out of a company that she gives her hard earned money to. Thanks to my mom, customer service has always been my number one priority in business.
When I was still in Los Angeles, customer service was almost non existent! I would leave a store, completely irritated because the person that took my money did not say thank you. I know, sounds petty, however, if not for me that person would be on the unemployment line! I found myself saying thank you then retracting it and saying, you should thank me. I guess they thanked me by keeping their eyes on me, making sure I wasn’t stealing from them. Maybe they thanked me by letting me spend my money in their store? I was part of the problem because I continued to shop there. Convenience trumped customer service for me at that point. I think that happens a lot to a lot of us! Until we demand customer service, why would a company care?
Customer service is why a customer will choose to repeat business with you or simply use you once.(You should read that line one more time!) It makes zero difference how big or small your company is, without the customers, you are a has been! Not to mention, if you are a company in a small town, people talk and they love to let people know about their good and bad experiences!
I would love to blame this on big corporations but it happens in Mom & Pop shops too. When the grandma tells you to take your vacuum to another shop or wait the 3 months it will take to fix it, you know we have a huge customer service issue!
As an optimist, I do not believe customer service is a dying priority. I simply believe businesses need to be reminded of its importance. I have compiled what I believe are the top 12 ways a company can provide exceptional customer service. I believe that if these are implemented, the customer satisfaction rating will skyrocket!
1. Fix the issue – When a customer complains, it is because something was wrong. Immediately begin to fix it and do not stop until it is resolved.
2. Never leave a customer on hold for more than 30 seconds – Always come back on the phone and ask if they would like to continue holding or have a call back. Nobody likes to feel forgotten. This will also avoid and irate customer!
3. Know what your company offers – There is little more frustrating than speaking with somebody that knows less than me about their company. The exception, of course is a new employee. They should have a handbook or app that is open and easily researched.
4. Apologize with words and actions, not just discounts – Saying and meaning sorry is a crucial part of customer service. Personally, I do not give discounts. I apologize and rectify immediately. I/we are human, mistakes will happen. A discount by itself will not ensure repeat business. If they do repeat then you beat it will be at the discounted price!
5. Listen – Stop talking and listen to what the actual issue is. The only way you will truly rectify an issue is if you listen and understand where the frustration is coming from. I am a talker and when somebody speaks over me, I instantly become the Hulk!
6. Never promise more than you can deliver – Sometimes this is the easy route, however, it always comes back to bite you. Again, we are human. Make sure you are able to do what you say you can do. This is like sticking your hand in a lions mouth and being surprised it bit your hand off! The customer is already angry, make sure your next move is a satisfying one!
7. Smile – Whether it is in person or on the phone, smile. Your tone will be much more pleasant with a smile on your face. It is hard for an angry customer to stand in front of a smiling person and still be angry. It will ease the tension, guaranteed.
8. Understand that without customers, you are jobless – You are collecting a paycheck because customers spend their money with your company. It is in your best interest to appreciate the customer. Do whatever you can to keep their business.
9. Find the answers – Nobody has all the answers, but the effort you put into finding the answers will determine the anger of the customer. When a customer service agent tells me they don’t know or they don’t think so… I want to reach through the phone or over the counter and strangle them! If you do not know the answer, let the customer know that you do not know but you will get back with them asap, with the answer. Make sure you follow through!
10. Be accountable – As the customer service agent, you are accountable. Nobody wants to hear or watch you point fingers all over the place. Take responsibility and fix it!
11. Speak clearly & professionally – Speak so that you do not need to repeat yourself. Speak slow enough to be understood and do not mumble. It is very irritating listening to somebody mumble or use slang words. You are representing the company. You are getting paid, which makes you a professional, act like it!
12. Most important, say thank you – Everybody wants to be appreciated. They are choosing your company to spend their money at. Say thank you! never let somebody hang up or leave without hearing thank you for their continued business.
Whether you are the owner, manager, or csr, making sure to implement all of the above will not only increase your customers satisfaction, it will do wonders for you as well!
What do you do to ensure exceptional customer service? Please share your experience in the comment box.
Make it a great day or not, the choice is YOURS!
A bit about me – First and foremost I am a Wife to a funny man and Mother to two awesomely sarcastic boys. I was born and raised in The San Fernando Valley, CA and moved to Texas eight years ago. I plan on remaining in this amazing State I now call home! I am the owner of Trifecta Executive Placement & Coaching, located in Magnolia Texas. My expertise lays in Motivational Speaking/Coaching/Leading, Recruiting, Sales motivation, increasing customer service satisfaction, and company morale. I believe strongly in making the choice to live a positive life, and do so by making it a great day, every day! My mission is to use my gifts to rise up other’s higher than they ever believed possible, by bringing out the awesomeness that has always been inside of them! I welcome you to contact me.
Trifecta Executive Placement and Coaching