One key to success in business is amazingly simple: Good customer service. That’s because good (and great) customer service is rarer than you think. Great service is like a precious, rare, exotic species that is close to becoming extinct. But it’s not too late to rescue great service from the brink of extinction.
Consider your own experiences with customer service. Have you ever hunted all over a store for a salesperson in order to get help or pay for an item? Coaxed a worker to come out from behind his/her computer to help you? Had to explain to a company representative about a product in great detail over the phone so you could buy it, when the product is listed on the company’s Facebook page? Tried in vain to get someone to call you back when you wanted to hire that person for services? Had a complaint about a product or service and been treated as if it were all your fault? Or my (not) favorite—been passed around to several people in order to fix a problem, having to start over and explain the whole thing each time?
If so, then you know how painful poor customer service can be. And if you’ve decided to take your business elsewhere because of bad service, then realize you might be losing customers yourself if your people aren’t treating clients as you’d like to be treated. Here’s your big chance for your company to stand out, since most firms are lacking when it comes to customer service. In today’s world of impersonal and online interactions, people are starved for personal attention. Meet their needs, make them feel special and important, and your company will prosper.
The 10 basic customer service “Golden Rules”:
- Greet people (like you mean it) when they come into your store/space or office. Look like you’re happy to see them, not annoyed at the distraction.
- If you are sitting at a desk or talking to colleagues, stop what you are doing and free yourself to help the new client. Don’t make the customer interrupt you to get your attention.
- When someone calls on the phone be polite, pleasant and interested. Ask questions to make sure you’ve heard and understood the issue correctly.
- Don’t automatically refer questions to your website. The client may have started with your website and not been able to find what he/she was looking for or may have a situation that doesn’t fit the norm.
- Treat phone calls as personal interactions, thus creating and nurturing opportunities to connect with and quality new clients.
- Set your own customer service standards high for your industry. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
- Be clear on when you will get back to a client with requested info and get it back to them before you say you will. In other words, under-promise and over-deliver.
- Call if you are going to be even a few minutes late for a meeting with someone or email with an explanation and a hard revised delivery date if you’re doing to be late in getting them information. Respect your clients or you won’t keep them or get referrals from them.
- If you don’t have an answer, tell your client that you will find the answer and get back to them in a specified time and then keep your word.
- When a new potential client calls and or comes in and you are exhausted, learn to recognize your energy level and kick yourself into the next gear knowing you can relax later on. You don’t want to bring your negative mood into your first interaction with someone.
Customer service skills do bear an uncanny likeness to the Golden Rule we all learned as kids. When you are interacting with a client/customer, ask yourself, is this the way I would want to be treated?! If your answer is yes, you are golden!