How to achieve service excellence
Customers will constantly require positive experiences from your business to justify the decision to continue to purchase from your company. This means that you have to meet and exceed customer expectations on a consistent basis.
Customer experience should be managed in terms of “moments of truth” Moments of Truth are refers to any situation where a customer comes into contact with any aspect of your business and on the basis of that experience forms an opinion about the quality of your product and service. A good customer focused organization will create more moments of truth and not less. The company will constantly try to increase the number of moments of truth thereby providing the opportunity to create a favourable picture in the mind of the customer.
The customer experience
1. Think about a personal experience in which you were treated very well. Write three words that describes that experience.
2. Now think of a situation that you were treated very poorly as a customer. Use three words to describe that experience.
It is important to understand the concept of the customer interaction cycle
As a customer when you make a visit – within the first few minutes you know whether you are glad to have made that visit or not and if you will be provided good service or not. These impressions are created by the way you are received.
As a provider you want to invite a customer and let the person know that you appreciate their business as a valued individual. How the customer is received may determine whether he wants to do business with you or not.
Once the customer has been greeted and acknowledged, the next is to move into a process of understanding what the nature of the inquiry is.
This is the most difficult stage since you have to be concentrating completely on what the customer is saying.
Whether this is a sales or customer service call – the skills that you would want is:
- Listen for feelings and for facts
- Asking questions to clarify
- Restating feelings and facts
Asking effective questions is key to understanding the customer
Some points to ensure that you ask effective questions are as follows:
- Ask open ended questions – those are questions that require more than a just yes or no answer
- High gain questions are open ended questions that require the customer to evaluate, analyze, speculate or express a feeling
- Restate feelings or facts – this is a way of showing that you have heard the customer and understand their position. You should identify the customers feelings and facts, acknowledge the customers feelings and summarize the facts.
The third stage of the cycle is helping, helping might mean simply explaining something or giving some information. It may be discussing several options of the client that may resolve the question facing the customer.
To guarantee that customers get not only what they ask for but also what they really want you need to apply helping skills:
- offer information and options
- set realistic expectations
- get agreement on the course of action
The final stage of the customer interaction cycle is keeping the customer satisfied and informed. Customers tend to vividly remember the first and last impressions. Once the customer has been helped you need to check their level of satisfaction, thank them for their business and ask whether you can help them with anything else.
Some of the skills that will be required in this stage are:
- Check the level of satisfaction
- Thank them for their time
- Bridge to other aspects
- Follow up