Principles of good customer service
You’ve just finished your main meal at a restaurant and you’re considering dessert. A husband and wife team own the venue and one of them comes to your table and chats about the new dessert they perfected at 2am – and no one else has tried it yet.
You feel valued because they’ve shared this information with you and you understand the work they’ve put into creating something for you, the customer.
This restaurant exists in Joondalup and their exceptional customer service keeps them booked out most nights.
Justin Davies, business coach and advisor, and managing director of Emergination, loves eating at this restaurant, Scents of Siam. He says it is a great reminder of the value of going the extra mile for your customers, leading to repeat business and greater word of mouth referrals.
Your customer service needs to be systematic and consistent. Customers get frustrated when they receive excellent service one day and not the next.
You can take the heat out of negative feedback by using good customer service.
If you focus on solving the problem, not worrying about who is wrong or right, the customer will feel valued. For example, a florist gets a call from a client whose flowers have not been received by their partner.
The shop realises that the online booking was made after that day’s delivery cut off time.
Rather than tell the customer they were too late, the smart owner recognises that one of his staff live a few streets away and could deliver them on the way home.
They add a small teddy bear to the bouquet of roses. The customer, who later realises they were at fault, is so impressed by the florist they recommend them to their friends, post what happened on Facebook and give the company a 5-star rating.
Davies says a customer doesn’t want to hear they’re at fault, they only want to know that you’re prepared to sort out the problem.
As a company, it is important for you to monitor how often these issues occur and how you can avoid their recurrence.
Always engage with your customer to find out what more you can do.
“Anybody who doesn’t do that is just missing so many opportunities, and you must do more than just online surveys,” Davies says.
A high-ranked satisfaction for products and services doesn’t tell you how to get better, so engage with your customer and ask them how you could improve.
Engage an independent consultant to help you if necessary. The customer will love that you are interested in them and it helps make your relationship stronger.
The insights you receive will help you improve your business.
Checklist for customer service:
- CRM: Do you have a good Customer Relationship Managements to help you manage your customer information and leads, and if so, are you using it well?
- Prioritise your customer service activities: Know which ones are most important. Know what you can automate without affecting relationships.
- Have milestones: Tell your customers what you will achieve for them. Do it. Let them know it’s done.
- Ask your customers about what more you can do for them: What insight can your customers give you? What are your customers complaining about? How is that different to three months ago? Is there a trend? How can we increase the customer satisfaction level? What are we doing well? How can we do it better?
- Don’t transfer work to your customer: Davies says people are also sick of filling out forms with information that businesses could easily find out or already have themselves.
When you’re looking to employ staff to provide customer service for your company, look at the service you want to give.