Having established a focus on customer service in your firm, it can easy enough to take for granted that processes will take care of themselves. However, like most things of value and most things that separate you from the rest, customer service is an on-going striving for excellence. Only a commitment to good customer service that lasts will widen your customer base and win you the loyalty of your clients. Here are some aspects to keep your focus on in order to keep your efforts at providing good service on track.
Training your employees
One of the primary functions regular training for your staff serves is to reinforce the thought of providing good customer services and its value to your business. Apart from helping staff member to whom some ideal practices might not come naturally, it’s a great idea of keep your work place, individually and collectively, aware of your aspirations as a business.
Let it be clear to your employees what your expectations are, and also what power they have to extend any special offers and initiatives towards your customers. Often if these good intentions are not spelt out clearly in the workplace, their effect can be less than what is desired. Regular team meetings or training sessions are an excellent opportunity to spell out the details of what is being aspired to, and what powers each employee has to contribute.
Acknowledge and reward employees that provide good service
You will get the most out of your employees when you reward their efforts at providing good customer service. Apart from presenting your employees with a fair and well thought out incentive plan, you need to define both your expectation and the rewards they can expect. Make sure the incentives, through which you acknowledge the contribution of your employees, are somewhat proportional to the benefits these efforts will doubtless bring your business.
At the same time, it is not necessary that the incentives you offer are a huge drain on your resources either. Your employees realise that you are a small business and that resources can sometimes be at a premium. Anything from movie tickets to a dinner at a nice venue paid for by the company can be ample incentive. If monetary expenditure is really at a premium, even praising an employee and acknowledging their contribution publicly can be greatly satisfactory and a strong incentive to your employees. Your customers will notice the emphasis on good service and repay you with continued and frequent patronage.
Use complaints creatively as an opportunity to change
A customer complaint should be seen as an opportunity to think outside the box and address the issue at hand. If the reason for the customer’s complaint is indeed your company’s fault don’t shy away from admitting to it and apologising. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and be creative in addressing the issue for them. The emphasis should be on making sure that any inconvenience caused directly or indirectly from the error is sought to be addressed in your solution.
It may not always be possible to minimise indirect negative impact caused to the customer from your error. Regardless, sincere efforts to address the issue to the best of your abilities will almost always win the customer’s appreciation. Include relevant staff, in a hands on fashion, when resolving the complaint. By doing this you will not only empower your employee, by seeking their input in providing the solution, but also orient them towards following these practices.
Respond to customer queries as a priority As in personal life, we feel most validated by people who value our opinion. Most people have a well-developed sense of when their thoughts and inputs are being sincerely welcomed. It is critical to a good customer service experience that when your clients express themselves to you, a response be forthcoming in a timely manner. Try to be proactive about communicating with your customers.
If you come across an opportunity to initiate contact with your customers, take the plunge. Your customers will be pleasantly surprised at your actions and are sure to hold your business practices in high regard. Remember, in a market with innumerable vendors providing the same, or very similar, products and services, good customer service is the surest way to enhance your customer’s experience and set yourself apart.