Today's blog article is a guest post from Carol Glover from FireHorse Consulting. Have you noticed how much choice you have these days? If a product or service supplied locally isn’t exactly to your liking, you just go on the internet and order it from someone else. The down-side to having so much choice is that customer loyalty is fading fast. To win strong customer loyalty you need to learn how to provide great customer service.
Today it’s more important than ever that you consistently deliver THE BEST product and customer service possible to attract new customers and keep existing customers.
Just what is customer service? It’s providing what you say you will, when you say you will and how you say you will. Then you provide a little more to be sure the customer feels respected and valued. Providing this type of customer service will be noticed and talked about. It will lead to word of mouth buzz, referrals and many new customers. What does it take to provide such amazing customer service?
Customer service must be built into the core of your business. It’s no longer enough to simply state that an unsatisfied customer will get a refund. A simple refund policy allows a dissatisfied customer to walk away, to examine options and to tell others just how unhappy they are with you. OUCH! State how committed you are to customer service and what you’re going to do about it. Wouldn’t you rather let all your customers know that you will work with them to make sure you don’t let them down? For example if you are an internet service provider, reimburse customers for times when their internet is not working so that they have no reason to leave. Go above and beyond so that instead of feeling resentment or frustration towards your product or service, customers are so satisfied with how you dealt with the problem that they almost wish they had problems more often. If you can turn their frustration to elation you will have a new raving evangelist for your company.
The best way to build consistent customer service is to implement a system to manage it. You build this system by asking “how” a lot! For example, how will I gauge customer satisfaction? How can I use the service life-cycle to monitor customer satisfaction? How will I work with unhappy customers to improve my business? The answers to your “how’s” become “I will do this and then I will do that” etc. The answers become your system as they develop into procedures and templates for your team.
Your team needs clear direction from you; they need training. Training ensures that all members of the team know how to deliver outstanding customer service your way, using your tools. Periodic refresher training is also important because as people work and become familiar with systems, they tend to get lazy (it’s only human). Refresher training brings your purpose, policies and systems back to top of mind and invigorates the team.
The final and maybe most important factor for providing service customers can count on and talk about is your commitment. From the way you greet a customer to the way you deliver and show your appreciation for their business.
If you’re not committed to the customer, they won’t be committed to you.
Of course it’s easy to show existing customers your high standards of customer service, but how do you prove it to potential or new clients? Every company SAYS they’re customer oriented; they’d be fools not to.... but how do you separate yourself from all the noise? Testimonials and word of mouth referrals speak volumes to prospective customers. Brag a little! Tell people what others say about you, or better yet, let the other’s say it for you. The options are endless for places where you can spread testimonials you have received from happy clients: social media, your website, other company's websites, video testimonials, print, direct mail etc. Don’t be shy; if you’ve got a great product or service and your customers love you…
TELL THE WORLD!
If you consistently demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to amazing service, your customers won’t bother to think of other options. Instead they will tell their business contacts, friends and family about the great company they are working with....yours. This will results in more new customers for your business. Referrals are the number one source of new customers for small businesses. The best way to market your business is to make your existing customers raving evangelists for your company.
Thank-you to Carol for writing this great article on customer service. I know it has made me rethink my customer service and commit to creating policy, systems and training for my customer service. If you are looking for help developing a customer service policy, systems or processes check out her company FireHorse Consulting.
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My name is Chris R. Keller. I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers. If you are interested in generating new customers for your B2B small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Updates" button.
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