Customer Service: The Front Line Staff
The Focal Point of Society
Society is composed of many different cultures, social norms, and diverse environments. In order to collaborate in the same environment, individuals learn to adapt to their surroundings. Companies have a big task alone, just trying to adapt to the many different individuals that they come in contact with each day. Each individual desires a particular type of attention when dealing with public entities, and it is imperative that the individuals that are selling their products or services understand the needs of each customer. Easier said than done, and in most situations an individual does not have a long time to figure out what a customers needs are. A two second conversation and the rest is left out to how well an individual can analyze and satisfy the customer without causing a conflict. Meeting the needs of a customer is composed of three main elements: product or service availability, adequate staffing, and most importantly customer service.
The Customer Perspective
How many times have you went to a store and they are always out of something that you are looking for? Companies are suppose to thrive to have certain products and services available that they feel are necessities to the general public. In some cases, availability is not always the company's fault. Products do get recalled and services that companies provide may lose their contract with the entity if they are not generating the expected profit forecast. However, customers feel that basic necessities should always be available for purchase. Laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, mop and brooms, and grocery products are all consumables that should be available for purchase because they are "necessities" that individuals need in order to survive. A customer may understand the first time that the warehouse is out; however if the same item is out on a regular basis, that understanding customer will turn into an irate customer, and from that point it will be hard to keep their business or reassure them that the product will be in the next time they visit.
The Reality of the Situation
Lines back up into the clothing racks? Inadequate staffing can also turn away customers as well. Having staff available to assist customers is very important because it makes a difference in getting a sale and increasing the company's customer base. Inadequate staffing stems from the companies having scheduling inconsistencies or companies not meeting the quota on the number of individuals they should have employed. Companies do have to meet certain revenue margins to have a specific number of people employed. However, cutting the company short in order to save for other incentives is not putting the company out in front as a leader in customer service. All too familiar? How many times have you walked into an establishment and have notice several carts of groceries sitting in random locations? Once you have made that observation, do a head count of how many employees are available to assist you. Patience in any situation is a virtue; however, time to everyone is very important.
The Basics of Customer Service
Most companies follow the three f's of obtaining exceptional customer service: fast, fun, and friendly. Depending on the establishment, that equation will work every time. For example, a fast food company can succeed off that formula because no one wants to wait thirty minutes for a burger and fries. In other situations, customers want to feel like you can relate to them and understand them on a personal level and remain professional all at the same time. Not every individual is always in a rush when they come to an establishment, so it is imperative that employees do not treat every customer in that manner. Customers who feel that they are rushed out of an establishment will result in negative feedback. An employee should listen to the customer, repeat their concern so that the customer acknowledge that the employee is listening, and execute a plan of action in a professional manner to help the customer with their problem. Besides, an individual will hold on to negative experiences to pass it on to the next individual so that their family, friends, or colleagues will not use that establishment for their shopping needs. Regardless of the experience, the final outcome depends on the customer. Some may understand the situation and still utilize the establishment regardless of the experience, while others will literally select other establishments to spend their money in. People that utilize places regardless of the experience, but like the company as a whole is referred to as a loyal customer.
It is a task for companies, but their are times where companies go above and beyond for a customer and the customer is still not satisfied. It happens, and the only thing an employee can do is tell them to have a nice day and continue on with their daily routine. Some individuals have the ability to deal with all types of customers, while others find it difficult. Not everyone is built to deal with the general public and it is nothing against the individual, it is all about how that particular company train an individual to deal with customers and how an individual react in public in general. Face to face communication is not easy for everyone to deal with, especially when their is confrontation attached to it. In some cases, customers can sense that and use it to their advantage if they feel that their view point is justified. That is why there is a whole lot of view points behind the age old question "Is the customer always right?" Some business professionals argue that sense the public provide them with their financial compensation that nothing is beyond a customer's reach if they request it. However, some also argue that there is a fine line between being a customer being subjective and a customer trying to take advantage of a situation.