Customer Service: Developing The Good Habit

Customer Service is really the exercise of the most elementary rules in courtesy, respect and people relationship.

It matters more in the day-to-day interaction with people.

Good Customer Service must not be developed solely as a process but a habit worth doing everyday.


Knowing Who Is Your Real Boss: Your Customer

You must learn to classify your Customer as the most important part of your job.

Your Customer pays for your services or products that solve problems for them. If they don't pay, you lose revenues.

No revenue, no paycheck.

It's very clear at the end of the day who The Boss really is.


Exceeding Expectations

The Customers of today are becoming more aware and critical of service quality.

As a result, organizations that deliver more than they promise tend to be remembered.

To delight Customers you therefore have to under promise and over deliver.

Not that you should hold back on telling the Customer what your business can do but more importantly meeting the Customers' expectations at the basic level then giving more upon delivery.

Basic Customer expectations will vary from business to business but it is possible to formulate those expectations from industry practices and/or what you think should go into the delivery of your product or service to please customers.

In a market when almost all offerings look and sound identical, delivering more than the promise of or regular benefits to Customers create stronger and more lasting impressions.

Going the extra mile for Customers can strengthen relationships.

When Customers are witness to your willingness to go the extra mile, they can sometimes even overlook occasional shortcomings.


Offer More and Better Options

If you have more options for Customers, they are less likely to look somewhere else.

If their choices are better offered by existing alternatives, they are more likely to think only of you even if their initial decision may not be their final choice.

You should consistently evaluate the options you offer your Customers.

Each on their own must be a valid alternative given a certain set of expectations.


Keeping Your Promise

After you and the Customer have reached a point of agreement, you must be able to deliver the promise or the Customer's perceived benefits.

Always without exception, deliver your promise even if such promised benefit is a result of a compromise.

The idea of going the extra mile may not be appreciated by the Customer if you can't deliver the core benefits.


Be On Time

When you meet Customers be on Time.

If you promise to call on a certain time, do it as promised.

If you are lucky enough to be given the order or job, deliver on time.

Certain products or services are critical components of a Customer's business process.

If they don't get these products or services on time, there will be consequences.

Be on time.


Express Empathy

Customers will find it easier to open up about their "needs" if frontline staff who interacts with them can relate with empathy.

It is even easier for them to give a hint of how the relationship should proceed if your staff can handle issues with empathy.

Empathy cannot be expressed in any other way except by being up close and personal.


Provide Channels of Communication

Your Customer must have several alternatives to reach you.

It is unfortunate that even the basic skills in handling telephone conversations are still absent in most frontline staff in sales and marketing.

Most organizations think that a 1-800 number offers comfort to Customers.

An incompetent person handling the Customer in the other line can spell a difference between a lasting relationship and a legal liability.

Provide them more than just a phone number.

Technology now offers alternatives: email, chat, forums, and mobile phones.


Develop a Happy Disposition and Working Environment

A happy disposition can be a very disarming picture even for an upset Customer.

It has more to do with culture than policy.

If the selection process tends to select a happy person, you can expect the working environment and relationships to be healthy and productive.

It is easy to encourage sales and service personnel to smile if the working environment allows it.

A happy disposition bridges culture and provides opportunities to establish rapport with Customers and nurturing long-term relationship.


Co-workers Are Customers Too

Have you ever come across a scene where store supervisors treat frontline staff in a department store with little respect?

It is ironic that the same supervisors or the general management expect these same staff to treat their Customers with courtesy.

The bottom-line is that the concept of courtesy and customer service in general are more real to your frontline people if it is applied to them as if they were an external Customer.

Co-workers are persons too, who deserve to be treated like Customers.

They are after all, your Internal Customers.

There are no fast or hard rules in Customer Service, however you must know the best practices based on other people's experience and mistakes.

Learn what works, and what doesn't.

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