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How to Render Exceptional Customer Service
Exceptional customer service is the major goal of most businesses, for the precise reason that it keeps customers coming. It is simply the cheapest, fastest and the most efficient way to grow your business. So before you think of spending a lot on advertising to promote your enterprise, consider focusing on customer service first.
Here are examples of customer service:
·Greeting the customer enthusiastically
·Smiling and looking the customer in the eye
·Polite, respectful, and engaging phone manner
·Offering assistance in a number of ways
·Going out of your way to do something for a customer
·Delivering goods and services on time
·Providing a service that is top-notch or impeccable
As you can see from the examples above, you cannot fake customer service. It doesn't work when used as a shield for a shoddy merchandise or lousy service. In their landmark Advertising book, Jack Trout and Al Ries underscore the need to find a good horse to ride in order to succeed with your business.
In the same spirit, customer service needs a good horse to ride in order to achieve its objectives. It needs a fantastic product or service to work with, or else, all effort fails. Just some global companies with an excellent customer service track record are the following:
Starbucks Customer Service:
A Home Depot store manager was on his way to report for an early morning shift and he decided to go to a nearby Starbucks drive through for coffee. However, he soon realized that he didn't have his wallet with him. Rather, than turn him away, the Starbucks window associate offers the customer free coffee, instead. What do you think will be the impact of this splendid customer service gesture will be?
Home Depot Customer Service:
A Home Depot store in Vancouver has a very generous return policy, so much so that you can return virtually anything within a month of purchase. Although the return associate is trained to ask some questions before accepting return items, such query has no bearing on whether the said item will be accepted or not. Besides, the Home Depot associate performs his or her customer service duty with a smile. What ends up happening, though, is that the customer sees something else to buy after returning stuff, perpetuating the Depot's selling model.
McDonalds Customer Service:
Of all the brands of customer service, perhaps nothing is more globally well known than that of McDonalds. Although there are always lapses in service depending on how new the crew is, sooner or later, the great Micky Dee's customer service manages to redeem itself from time to time. A great addition to the customer service arsenal of this fastfood company is offering free WiFi. Also, any size coffee and a muffin for two dollars is bringing Tim Hortons to its knees.
No doubt, as you go through life trying out one product or service after another, you have established your own list of customer service greats. If you don't have it listed anywhere, you probably have it at the back of your mind. So powerful is this list that sometimes, you probably find your feet leading you to a store or away from it, depending on the kind of customer service experience you've experienced.
These are some very important things to remember about customer service:
·To be effective, customer service must be consistent. For example, if you were just warm and fuzzy a few minutes ago, and then you seem aloof and dismissive just as the customer is walking out the door, your customer service grade is likely to take the fall.
·Although customer service can be taught, some individuals are a natural at it. These are the people who enjoy life, are happy being around with the rest of humanity, have an infectious smile or laughter, or have a warm and soothing voice.
·If you're a young, startup company with no big bucks to spare for mainstream advertising, consider investing on customer service. It's cheap and can improve your corporate or company image in no time.
Whether your customer service staff is on the phone or face-to-face with the customer, the person on the other end of the line or the other side of the counter can detect a real smile. So in case you haven't thought about it, consider joining the bandwagon of customer service greats. Although there are no fees for joining the exclusive club, having the status does have unbelievable perks that you're likely to discover along the way.