As I was reviewing our last post “How to Build Customer Trust” and the comments many had posted, it came to mind that “Customer Service” is a real asset when it comes to “Build Customer Trust”.
If you provide your customers with a level of service that you yourself come to expect would this not build trust and garner loyal customers to secure your livelihood?
Far too often today we see a complete lack of what was at one time that basic “Customer Service Philosophy”.
I spent almost 25 years in the retail sector and we always tried to educate our associates the basics.
- Do you require assistance?
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- Do you have any questions on the item you are purchasing?
All too often now days, if you can’t find a product and asked an associate (if you can find one) most often the answer is, “We don’t have that” or “We must be sold out”. What ever happened to the response “Let me check and see if we can get that for you”?
We had a situation the other day in a local grocery store at the checkout which has become an all too familiar situation. Bagging your own groceries while the cashier stands there and waits for you to finish so they can get on to the next customer. Or they start processing the next customer and pushing there items in with your items (this one drives Gisele crazy).
In some cases I don’t find fault with the employee, I find that to be in the lack of training they have been given. Years ago I would partner a new employee with one of my more season employees. This would give them the opportunity to learn what we as a company expect in the form of “Customer Service”.
Another key factor in “Customer Service” which seems long gone is “Product Knowledge”. How can an associate answer questions about your products if they have no knowledge of what you sell.
I can’t count the number of times I would return to a store because I had a problem with a product or it did not do what I need it to do. Only to get a response from the next associate I have spoken to telling me: “They should not have told you that, they made a mistake”. This usually means you now have to return the product if you can and purchase something new.
It’s not only the retail sector this occurs in, you can put just about any business in this group including banks, insurance companies the list goes on and yes all departments in every level of the government. I remember when banks thanked you for your patronage and gave you interest on your hard earned money. Their version of “Customer Service” now is sending a notice every 6 months letting you know that “Service Charges” are going up, or we’ve invented some new ones.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to enhance “Your Customer Service”:
- Knowledgeable trained associates. If you are a Solopreneur, if a customer asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, tell them you don’t have the answer at the moment, but you will find out for him and tell them when they will hear from you.
- Philosophy. Make sure associates know your “Customer Service Philosophy” and expectation. If you are a Solopreneur, draft up a “Customer Service” plan/policy or a simple motivational phrase. I have one on my desk that is right in front of my eyes all the time. “Attitude is Everything”
- Get feedback from you customers on how they view your “Customer Service”. Ask them how you can do things better. You may get a response like “none, your service is great” or you may get a response “you take too long to answer your emails” and from that, you know what you need to improve on.
- Solicit ideas from your associates and/or customers to make them feel like they are contributing. This I found makes them feel important and let’s face it… you don’t have all the answers.
- Listen. This is the most important. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times and offer guidance when the opportunity presents itself.
What is the one thing that is your best customer service quality?