Have you struggled to differentiate your company from your competitors? Have you relied on your service to set you apart? What happens when something goes awry? I think it’s fair to say that if you are in the ‘service’ industry, you and all your employees strive to provide excellent customer service, but what does that mean anyway? Isn’t good service, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder?
All of our clients claim to provide great, if not the best service, in their geographic service area. In fact, we have yet to have a client admit that what is holding them back from their financial goals is “bad service.” But when we ask them what they mean by “great service” they all struggle to articulate anything approaching a differentiating factor, something that sets them apart from the competition. How do you define “good service” and how is that different from what your prospects’ experiences at the company who currently meets their needs. It’s difficult to say, isn’t it?
Part of our job in helping our clients to grow their business is to know their customers. We do a lot of focus groups and market research to truly understand who you are calling on and what is important to them.
Here are a few commonalities that we have come across in recent months that are turning great customer service into revenue:
Put the customer at the heart of your decision.
Putting the customer at the center of your decision making allows flexibility to find the right outcome for all parties involved.
Set and manage expectations.
Be precise and clear in your timeline and abilities so you control the expectations you create. Keep your promises.
Let them see/hear your smile.
Even when on the phone, people can hear a smile. No one cares if you are busy or having a bad day. The key is to make them think that your office is all about rainbows and unicorns!!
It’s not usually what you say, it’s how you say it. Pay attention to your tone and don’t put the customer in a defensive position.
Respond more quickly to emails.
A four hour turnaround on an email is too slow! Technology is increasing customer expectations on how quickly we respond. Set expectations internally, and create systems to monitor and measure email turn times.
Treat the customer as you would a friend or business partner.
Take care of the customer end to end. How would you handle this situation if it were your brother or best friend? Start there and then treat them even better!
Consider how the employee experience in your company impacts and drives the customer experience.
Research shows that happy employees give better service and treat customers better. How have you worked to improve the employee experience in your organization?
These are just a few things to consider when talking about and defining “great customer service” in your organization. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a place to start. Champion the idea of great service, but go a step further, and challenge yourself, your leadership and your employees to be able to articulate what that means, and how what they do impacts the customer’s perceptions.
Grow Big or Go Home!