The ten most important customer service factors
1. Delivering service quickly
- Speed – is a key of competitive advantage
- Remember everything is time based
- Time is the most scarce commodity in the world
- Fast service adds value
- Speedy follow up shows you care
- The more time sensitive your product greater the opportunity for competitive advantage
- Speed costs nothing but has to be designed into the processes
2. Positive communication
- Cut out the jargon and explain things well
- Aim to understand and then to be understood
- Take responsibility for your communication – the purpose of the communication is the response you get
- Make written communications short specific and simple
- If there are any doubts – then simplify
- Talk benefits and not just features
- Treat others as you would like to be treated
- Always say what you can do, or will do, not what you can’t do or won’t do
3. The personal touch
- People like to buy from other people
- You build a business one purchase at a time and a customer at a time
- Use the customer’s name in all written communications
- Courtesy, politeness and manners are keys to building trust, respect and loyalty
- Use names regularly in conversations
- Accommodate the clients special requests whenever possible
- The first sale that you make is yourself
- Rapport is a skill that can be learnt
- Non-verbal communication is the quickest way to reach people
- Get to know all your customers
- Give your customers full attention
- Make customers feel that they are your most important customer
4. Keeping customers
Here are some statistics about customers
- 1 per cent die
- 3 per cent move away
- 4 per cent just naturally float
- 5 per cent change of a friend’s advice
- 9 per cent buy cheaper else where
- 10 per cent are chronic complainers
- 68 per cent go elsewhere since those serving them are indifferent to their needs
- Every year businesses lose 10%-50% of their customers and the business does not know who they are.
5. Turning complaints into opportunities
- Complaints are great opportunities to improve service.
- Problems are ways of improving creativity and commitment.
- The people who complain are the people who want to stay customers and are looking for reasons to do so.
- Be proactive on customer service issues – not reactive
- Only 4% of dissatisfied customers tell the business the remaining 96% tell others.
6. Creating “moments of truth”
- Manage the customer’s experiences – pay attention to small details they are the most important
- Pay attention to peripheral functions they are the most important – reception areas, phones, staff manners, parking, presentations etc
- Each time you meet or contact a customer your status is improving or diminishing – everything counts when it comes to customer interaction.
- When you are talking to a customer they are the most important customer.
- You only have one customer – the one your dealing with right now.
- Know the value of a ten year customer
7. Exceed expectations
- The world is full of mediocrity – this is your opportunity to be special
- Anyone can make things cheaper but it takes vision and commitment to make things better
- Don’t do something if you can’t do it excellently.
- Set or establish clear expectations then seek to exceed them
- Explain terms and prices clearly, early and honestly
- Build a 10 per cent cushion into the promises you make that that this gives you the opportunity to over-deliver
- Whatever the customer asks for the answer should be –‘yes’
- Do something special for the customer as a standard.
8. Good systems are as important as smiles
- Quality is the number one priority.
- Customer service and quality is part of everybody’s job
- Lead by example.
- Define specifics for quality and service.
- Set quality and customer service goals.
- Review progress to quality goals regularly.
- Make quality and customer service the most important thing by rewarding those that meet and beat the standard.
9. Follow up and follow through
- Follow up with your customer just for the sake of it
- Show that you are interested
- The product isn’t sold until it is providing value
- Regularly ask customers how you are doing
- Listen, listen and listen and learn
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
- Know why some people are satisfied and some people aren’t
- Telephone surveys
- Follow up after transactions to find out how things went
- Market research
- Review sales statistics
- Training isn’t a cost its an investment
- Define what competent behaviour really means
- Establish customer focused standards of performance
- Simplify procedure to reduce errors
- Standardize systems to ensure consistency
- Think through methods and processes to pre-empt all problems.