Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy - happy enough to pass helpful feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers. As Damon Richards states: “Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
Relationship with a Customer
If you're a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to 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 that individual customer feels that he would like to pursue.
How Do You Go About Forming Such A Relationship?
By remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; "You will be by what you do, not what you say."
Steps to Good Customer Service
If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently does these things:
1. Answer Your Phone
Get call forwarding or an answering service. Hire staff if you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business. People who call want to talk to a live person, not a fake recorded robot or an answering phone.
- When answering a business phone it is important that it is not allowed to ring more than three times.
- The phone should be answered with a positive greeting such as “Hello,” “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon,” etc.
- Put on a smile before placing or answering a phone call.
2. Don't Make Promises Unless You Will Keep Them
Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. If you say, "Your new bedroom furniture will be delivered on Tuesday", make sure it is delivered on Tuesday. Otherwise, don't say it.
The same rule applies to client appointments, deadlines, etc. Think before you give any promise because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.
- Never make a promise that you are not sure you can keep.
- Make it a practice to get professional agreements in writing.
- Keeping small promises build your good reputation.
- Do it anyway.
3. Listen To Your Customers
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 attention and needs to have it explained again?
From a customer's point of view, I doubt it. Can the sales pitches and the product babble? Let your customer talk and show him that you are listening to making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem.
- Set up Google Alerts.
- A great way to listen in on the discussions about your products and service is by accessing social media.
- Surveys are a timeless way of collecting information to gain valuable feedback.
4. Deal With Complaints
No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, "You can't please all the people all the time".
Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.
- Try to remain calm when dealing with a complaint.
- Complaints should always be resolved as quickly as possible.
- Keep comprehensive records of all customer complaints.
5. Be Helpful - Even If There's No Immediate Profit In It
The other day I popped into a local watch shop because I had lost the small piece that clips the pieces of my watch band together. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said that he thought he might have one lying around. He found it, attached it to my watch band and charged me nothing!
Where do you think I'll go when I need a new watch band or even a new watch? And how many people do you think I've told this story to? So being helpful is an addition to satisfying your customer.
- Be friendly.
- Listen carefully.
- Be responsive.
6. Train Your Staff To Be Always Helpful, Courteous, And Knowledgeable
Do it yourself or hire someone to train them. Talk to them about good customer service and what it is, regularly. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, "I don't know, but so-and-so will be back at."
- Train your staff.
- Enough information to staff to deal and satisfy customers.
- Give power to staff to make small pleasing decisions for customers.
7. Take the Extra Step
For instance, if someone asks you to help them find something, don't just say, "I don’t know or do it by yourself." Lead the customer to the item. Better yet, wait and see if he has questions about it or further needs. Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good customer service, take it.
They may not say so to you, but people notice when people make an extra effort and will tell other people. Going the extra mile will not only result in a happy customer, it can also go a long way in terms of keeping your business on their radar for future opportunities.
- Know what your customer needs and want.
- Train your staff and clarify them about the importance of customer satisfaction.
- Give your customers promotional gifts.
Putting a great value on creating lifetime relationships with customers, as well as going above and beyond the customer’s expectation is really important to the development of any business. Today’s market is very competitive, and customers are aggressively pursued, so businesses can’t take customer loyalty for granted.
If you apply these simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good customer service. The best part is the irony of good customer service is that over time it will bring in more new customers than promotions and price slashing ever did!