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Seven Practical Tips For Busting Bad Customer Service
August 13, 2012 | Terri Mitchell AKA The Profit Frog
If your staff is behind you 100 per cent, providing great customer service will be a breeze, just follow these seven simple steps.
There’s no denying that many Australian businesses – big and small – offer up shoddy standards in customer service. For decades it seems Australian shoppers simply put up with it, feeling powerless to change it. Until recently, customers were worn down and expected poor service as the norm. Now, with online shopping and media stories on bad service, customers are beginning to expect more and to demand better service.
To become the best customer service leader includes basic grass root actions and some good old common sense. These seven tips will help you redefine customer service in your business.
- Customer service is equally about attitude and skill. The right attitude evolves from good manners, respect, a sense of responsibility and a dash of confidence. Help staff overcome poor attitude through great training, monitored performance, and giving firm but fair feedback on any below standard service.
- Set your benchmark for customer standards. If you document your customer service expectations, you can entrench them in your business culture. Training, implementing policies and procedures, and even managing employees becomes easier when based around formally documented customer service standards.
- Get the hiring and training right. Staff members with personality are key and critical to customer service. If you’ve hired someone who lacks people skills, maybe customer service and working for your business isn’t for them. Also, empower your staff to take ownership of their customer service delivery and reward outstanding performance.
- Remove the “customer” title. Simple yet challenging. Instead of treating customers as a potential sale, consider them as people first. Have a conversation. Talk with them as respectfully as you would your favourite uncle or nanna. When you are genuinely caring and interested in them, customers will soon feel more like family and less like a number.
- Don’t miss a chance for feedback. When customers complete your customer feedback form, contact them to thank them for their efforts and accept any negative feedback graciously. Your customers will feel listened to and you’ll learn valuable lessons on what you’re doing poorly.
- Mistakes are learning opportunities. Recognise any mistakes you have made, and apologise sincerely to your customers. Acknowledge the issue, deal with it professionally, and give the customer a clear undertaking of how you will have the issue attended to. Set time frames by which issues will be addressed, and hold staff accountable for learning not to make the mistake twice.
- Manage your customers’ expectations. Delivering exceptional customer service relies on superior communication. Don’t make promises or claims that you cannot uphold, because customers will expect you to deliver on everything you say. Consider the maxim “under-promise and over-deliver”. Do what you say you’re going to do, and then step up – go the extra mile and exceed your customers’ expectations. Set high standards and customers will expect them from you every time.
When you have the right mix of outstanding attitude, sincere communication and constant learning, you will be setting the stage for an outstanding performance in customer service and your business will be loudly applauded by an appreciative customer audience.