Think back over the last few days. Do you recall receiving great customer service from anyone?
Did you receive a prompt, friendly greeting by someone who showed they cared about your needs? Did someone deliver what they said they would deliver? Was there a cashier who thanked you for your business? Did a contractor show up on time and finish on schedule?
Leaders often fail to realize the impact of customer service on their business. Done well, it creates an outstanding company. Done poorly, it can be detrimental.
The often-heard statement, “We provide customer service excellence,” sounds great, doesn’t it?
We hear it all the time from companies and people. It’s in their promotional materials, their mission statements, and on their websites. They say it, and often advertise it right behind their so-called “service” counters.
But as the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Outside a few rare exceptions, the best customer service we get these days is a flickering sizzler. It is time for some fireworks!
Here are 9 tips on how you as a leader can put the fireworks back into your company’s customer service.
These tips apply to anyone at any level who deals with the customers and clients of your business – either directly or indirectly. In fact, they apply to everyone.
The right customer service attitude is critical.
As the leader, you have to set a great example when it comes to attitude. Choose to be positive all the time, and decide that you and your team will deliver customer service passionately. Ensure that everyone at your company is doing the same…not just when they feel like it, but with every single customer interaction.
Don’t try to seduce prospects by over-promising goods or services to them.
When you do this, you open yourself up for failure. You should set realistic expectations, and give yourself some freedom to adjust where necessary. Deliver what you say you will…or more. But never less.
We’ve all heard the old cliché, “Under-promise and over-deliver.”
We tend to want to promise prospective customers more, so they feel the value. We also enjoy over-promising to make ourselves feel more valued. When you under-promise, you have the opportunity to continuously impress your client.
When you over-promise, you can potentially stress yourself out and look desperate. Even worse, you could appear to be a liar.
The great Henry Ford once said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
If you agree he was right, let’s agree we should build our reputations and relationships by what we actually do and how we deliver.
Keep your word, but don’t make it your motivation to deliver.
Deliver because you should! If you are one of those people who is always in “promise mode,” slow down, and consider some other options.
Don’t let “busyness” drive your work style.
Put nothing in front of providing the best service possible. Many people try to show people how important they are by how busy they are. Manage your workload, and use effective time management practices, but don’t be an expert in “busyness.”
Deliver to your customers because you have the passion to do so.
Don’t do it just because you said you would. It’s very easy to spot someone who is just going through the motions. Today, people want to work with people they feel are truly engaged in the service or product. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, find something to do that you can enjoy.
Be creative and grow with the client.
Go in with the attitude that what the customer or client asked for is just the beginning of the relationship. This creates an opportunity for both of you to evolve. At the least, you will have a loyal client; but likely you will get additional business by their referrals.
Keep your customers informed.
If you are running behind schedule because you see something you can do for them of added value and you need more time, let them know. They will both understand and appreciate your efforts.
Deliver something extra.
Without asking if they need it, deliver an extra WOW! What happens beyond the agreed-upon deliverable is what makes the real customer service difference.
Create your own style and deliver your product and/or services uniquely.
Wrap your services in nice packaging and top if off with a bow! The extra touches distinguish your company from the myriad of others out there who do what you do.
Today, there are many leaders trying to grow their business through desperate measures. They will put down the competitors, over-promise, cut their prices to the slimmest margins, and quite frankly, lead prospective customers on. It’s a race to the bottom of the barrel.
If you stay clear of these mistakes and move forward with the techniques described above, your business will stand out from the crowd, not only today but for the long run.
After all, customer service is about building customer relationships, and a good relationship builds a loyalty that keeps the customer coming back.
As a leader, you must set the standard and keep your finger on the pulse of customer service. It is the lifeline of your business.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your customer service team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.