We all like to think we provide a good service. After all, you get the right products to the right customers, so that’s it, right? Wrong. Good customer service is about more than just fulfilling orders or completing a job. It’s about making sure your customers have the best possible experience of your business as they can.
Good customer service can lead to you and your business gaining a competitive advantage. In the first place, it will help generate more income as customers have more confidence in buying from you, coming back again, and even recommending your business to others. Second, keeping customers and developing good relationships with them helps you to get information about your customers’ needs.
Brilliant customer service is not about developing rules and procedures in order to make sure you have ticked all the boxes. It is about developing your own attitude to one which is customer-oriented at all times. Key to this is recognising that we are all customers to some degree. Your clients are clearly customers. But, so are your colleagues, and your line manager. You provide a product or service to all of them, so start thinking about what they need from you, and how you can deliver.
Focus not on what you get out of doing something, but on the customer experience. You could, for example, decide only to accept projects you know you can fulfil. You could also improve your communication with your customers – ask them what they want, clarify deadlines, highlight problems as they come up. Empathise with your customers – learn what it’s like from their perspective, feel what they feel. Make these your goals and you will soon establish a strong link between personal satisfaction and customer satisfaction.
How do you build good relationships with your customers? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Resources – make sure you have enough staff and facilities to provide a service that makes your customers feel valued and wanted
- Management – develop ways to measure customer satisfaction, not just footfall or calls dealt with per hour
- Mind-set – as I have said, develop an attitude that is concerned primarily with customer experience and satisfaction
- Trust – Good relationships are built on actively listening and developing trust. You, and your staff, should develop an open and honest style when dealing with customers. Learn to be authentic, relate to customers as people not sales targets.
- Rapport – trust builds rapport. Communicate with your customers and find out what you have in common.
- Training – make sure you and your staff have regular, up to the minute training to ensure you maintain a high sense of value for good customer relationships.
So, key to good customer service is having the right mind-set and being willing to develop good lines of communication with your customers. Remember, you are a customer too – what do you value in good customer service? How can you make this work in your business? Drop me a line and let me know what your customer service issues are. Or, if you want to share some advice or tips, get in touch through our contacts box.