Excellent customer service is something a lot of organizations brag about, but few actually deliver.
On the bright side, “how to improve customer service” is one of the most search terms in regards to business, so at the very least people are aware of the need to provide top quality service to their customers.
Seeing as you’re here reading this already, I’m going to assume that you already know the value of outstanding service, and jump straight to the skills required to make it happen!
There are 5 key attributes required to deliver world-class customer service, which I’ve labeled the Customer Service PACKE™
Let’s see how each of these contributes to excellent customer service.
You need to have a genuine interest in not only the people you’re dealing with, but also the product or service you’re selling. If you don’t care about people, it’ll be hard for them to care about you, and the same holds true if you don’t care about what you’re selling.
Passion is contagious.
If passion is too strong a word for what you’re selling, replace it with “interest”, but don’t degrade it any further than that. You need a genuine interest in what you’re doing to provide a high level of service to your customers. Be proud of what you do and it will come through.
Hire for attitude, train for skill. http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/02/hire-for-attitude-train-for-sk/
There aren’t many problems in customer service that a can-do, positive mental attitude can’t solve. The very nature of excellent customer service is solving the customer’s problem (ideally before they even know it’s a problem!) that’s why they’re here in the first place, to find a solution to their problem
The old saying by Henry Ford “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right” rings true here. Know that you can help the customer, be committed to that, and watch your customer satisfaction rates soar.
Having a good attitude, is essential to creating an environment that’s comfortable to the customer, we are naturally drawn to positive people after all.
In the same way that you need to be passionate about people and what you’re doing, you need to care.
You need to have a real concern for what the customer is going through, whether they’ve just walked in the door, or are in the middle of describing their problem to you.
You need to make it your mission to care, and this isn’t something you can fake.
If you really don’t care, you may be in the wrong business.
When you’re dealing with a customer, maintain focus, seek to understand, and try to put yourself in their position. If you can do all of these things, they’ll feel heard, understood, and cared about, which is exactly how we want our customers to feel.
You can’t deliver world-class service without knowing what you’re doing. Now you don’t need a PhD in kinesiology to sell running shoes, but you should definitely know more than the customer, otherwise why are they there?
By knowing your product and service inside out, you truly are a valuable source of information. You can hear their wants and needs, and fully articulate a possible solution. Think of customer service in this regard as fully and completely solving the customer’s problem.
If you have employees, you also need to empower them by clearly outlining return policies, how to handle complaints, and other contingencies. Err on the side of too much freedom rather than too little. That’s what they do at the Four Seasons, Zappos, Marriott and Amazon (each providing a high level of service at a different price point for a different customer – but each knowing their product and service)
Etiquette can also be described as courtesy, or manners, or even respect.
This is the cornerstone of excellent customer service.
Treating the customer as a valued and respected person, instead of simply a prospect or source of revenue is what separates good service from excellent service.
The sad thing is this is often one of the most neglected, and yet easiest to implement. Starbucks does an excellent job of this, greeting customers as they enter, smiling, and remembering orders when able. It costs nothing extra, and provides substantial returns.
The platinum rule of excellent customer service, “treat others as they want to be treated.”
Implementing a policy of excellent customer service can dramatically improve your customer’s experience, which leads to increased profits, improved brand perception, and increased rate of referrals.
It may take a change in company culture, a little training, and some education on its importance, but once you see the effects this can have on your business, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!