What can we learn from the BEST service companies?
The Best service companies in the world will all tell you that no matter the item you are selling or the service you are providing, if you don't know what business you are in - you are doomed to stagnate at best and fail at worst. So I ask, What kind of business do you own? Is that a question that you ask yourself as a business owner?
What about the answer you give? Have you thought about exactly what kind of business you really own? Is it a sales business or is it a service providing business? Is it a small business without a connection to customers and clients or is it a business completely driven by the client and customer experience?
As a business owner, you owe it not only to yourself, but also to your clients, your staff, your family and your future to become aware of exactly what kind of business you own and why your in business in the first place!
If you spend time thinking about these two simple questions, most business owners will come to the conclusion that regardless of type of business, almost all are service oriented and rely on customers to grow sales, revenues and income. So why in the world are so few businesses really good at customer service? Regardless of your answers to any of these questions, there is one thing I can guarantee you as a fellow business owner; customer service is the key to being successful!
Customer service is a key component for any business that wants to remain relevant and build long-term relationships. The biggest challenge for most business owners is developing a consistent way to reach and provide great service to their clients while continuing to operate the business on a day to day basis. There are very few education programs that teach quality customer service and often times businesses confuse being available and nice with providing what clients want and need. That myth, and a couple of more, need to be corrected first.
What Customer Service is not...
Simply being available and actually answering a clients phone call is not considered providing customer service. That is called common courtesy! Picking up clients at the airport when they visit your company or escorting them to dinner and showing them your town is fantastic for building relationships, but in the end has nothing to do with true customer service. Confusing customer service with being pleasant or providing the basic necessities of relationship building will leave you confused by the comments your clients will make when they are not satisfied and decide to no longer be a client of your company. In a sales environment especially, learning the difference between relationship building and building a true customer service department or implementing a customer service plan is very important.
Your most vital asset as a business is your client and keeping current clients happy is a lot less expensive than acquiring new clients. Keeping clients satisfied with great service after the point of sale and showing true empathy with their concerns, can not only lead to a growth in sales but also to growth from recommendations and referrals. The best ways to ensure quality customer service is to implement and teach your staff the impact of using positive phrases and words when speaking to your clients. After point of sale is when most issues arise that can lead to conflict and unhappy customers, so this is when using the right words and tone with clients can have the greatest impact. Teach these words to you staff and, when in the customer service environment or the opportunity to provide customer service arises, you give your staff the best chance possible to impress and satisfy your clients.
"How may I help you..."
"Let me get right to work on that for you..."
"What I will do for you..."
"I will do my best..."
"I will get back to you at this time..."
"You will not be charged..."
"We have several options, let us find the one that works best..."
"For key clients like yourself..."
Teaching your entire staff to listen to your clients in times of distress, anger or resentment and discern what the client is telling you they need, then implementing the use of these phrases, can lead to high reviews from clients and a higher standard of service. When you improve the customer's experience, your business will have no where to go but grow!
To the Best 2011 possible!
Chris D. Clothier
The author has permitted the reprinting and redistribution of this article.