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How to Make Customers Service a Business Priority
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A customer is your buyer, client and purchaser of goods or services. Without customers you have nothing. You simply cannot sustain a business on good ideas alone. If that were the case, we would all be wealthy. Making customer service a priority from the entry level to the CEO will help you find success as an entrepreneur.
The Road to Success
1. Focus on Service
- It's important to be a role model for your employees whether your're the supervisor, manger, general manager or the owner. You cannot expect your employees to get in the trenches and get dirty if you don't do the same. Putting yourself on the playing field with your team shows them you want to be the coach, not the audience. Hold regular staff meeting and address ways to maintain and build better customer service habits. If it requires physical practice, bring a mock telephone or head-set and create a pretend phone conversation so that the people who answer the phones can receive some hands-on training.
2. Know What Customers Want
- The market will always dictate what sells and what fails. If you know what your customers want, then you are at a great advantage to provide an exceptional product or service. One way to find out is by simply asking your customers their opinion. If you have the opportunity, speak to your customers in person because you will get more details when speaking face-to-face. You can also customer feedback cards in addition to making a few person-to-person phone calls per week. Don't rely on having your secretary or an employee do this job for you because building a relationship with your customers creates a bridge of communication. Additionally, information can be lost in transcription and this is important information.
3. Train Your Staff
- In today's market it is highly unlikely that you are providing a service or product that cannot be found at the next corner, at the touch of a phone or on the internet. Since it's so competitive, your staff must be trained to be the best at what they do. When you have a weak link, train that person to do a better job. If training isn't successful then find a replacement for the position. Don't become complacent because as your attitude stagnates, so will the business. Customer service representatives should be prepared to offer service, products and solutions to customers. There isn't a single business that can afford to say, "We don't need that customer." When you make a customer angry, they will tell friends, they'll post it on Facebook, send an email or fill out a customer complaint. I guarantee that if you are making one person that upset, you are upsetting other customers as well.
- If you notice a staff member providing unbecoming customer service you should address it at the earliest possible opportunity. Teach to the first incident, warn at the second episode and either provide a disciplinary action or termination if it happens a third time.
Quick Shot of Employee Skills
Take a quick look at your staff. What types of employees make up your team? Look for the
- Good Interpersonal Skills
- Excellent Communication Skills
- Gets Along With Everyone - or can at least work well in a business setting
- Good Listening Skills
- Willing to do AODAS - All Other Duties as Assigned
- Problem Solving Skills
- Good Leader or Good Teammate - you need both of these on your team.
- Extrovert or Ambiverts. Introverted people typically aren't the best candidates for personal customer service jobs.
4. Celebrate and Appreciate
- When your staff works together like a finely tuned machine, applaud them and let them know you are proud. There are numerous ways to show your staff how proud you are of their cohesiveness, work ethic and productivity. Be creative!
5. Use Statistical Data in Your Favor
- Often times when an employee can see the concrete evidence that excellent customer service provides the necessary return needed to build a business, they're more likely to become an advocate for the cause. At meetings, highlight the exact ways in which providing customers with the highest standard of customer service will benefit your bottom line. Show your staff proven methods of how you can all prosper as a result of these standards and be sure to follow through.
Customer service should be the main focus of every business, every day. It's reckless to assume that you can afford to lose even one customer to negligent customer service. Ensure that your management team is energetic and engaged and you will find happy employees, better business practices and a rise in morale. All of these positive changes can mean the difference between an abundance of business and failed business.
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