Has the Art of Customer Service been Lost?
As a young person I worked at worked at some McDonald’s Restaurants while going through University and received some good lessons about good customer service. I have carried these skills on into business and also into the workplaces that I have worked. However in recent times I have come to realise that good Customer Service is not the norm, but the exception.
I am not sure whether the world has fundamentally changed towards a more short term view of which Customer Service is no longer viewed as key. Or whether it is the staff shortages that has led some organisations to short cut training or hire the wrong people for Customer Service Roles (including sales roles).
For some people customers may be called by different names. Doctor’s call their customers patients; other professions may call them clients. For some people that work in corporate support roles and do not deal with external customers, their customers are internal stakeholders. It does not matter what you call them or whether your customers are external or internal, good customer service is vital in the long run for any organisation.
Though there are a number of techniques that improve Customer Service, the number one thing that will impact on Customer Service is attitude. If you have an attitude of service and helpfulness with a solution focus then most of the job is done. With the right attitude we will tend to treat people right which is what good Customer Service is all about.
So how do you know when you have achieved good customer service? Well, there are a number of signs. The best sign is that the customers keep coming back and tell their friends about you. Are you in a competitive environment, but your customers are loyalty to you? Do your customers tell their friends? Are you mentioned in a positive light on social media platforms by your customers? If you answer “Yes” to these questions then you may be on the right track.
So what are some of the techniques that you can use to improve your customer service? Well assuming that you have the right attitude then listed below are some techniques that will help. Mind you if you do not have the right attitude, these techniques will not work for you and you risk appearing insincere.
Smile. One of the most effective tools for customer service is your smile. A smile is friendly and welcoming. Your smile will bring comfort to your customers.
Eye Contact. Maintaining eye contact with your client indicates that you are being truthful and you are confident. If you look to the ground while talking with someone, you will come across as if you are being untruthful. So maintain eye contact with your customer.
Acknowledge the Customer. When your customer walks into your premises or you walk into theirs Make eye contact and acknowledge them. The acknowledgment will depend on the situation. Even if you’re busy with someone else, at least make eye contact and acknowledge them.
Customer’s Perspective. We each see things from a different point of view. Your customers are no different. Their perceptions, aspirations and point of view will differ. Ensure that you view the situation from their point of view.
Solve Customer Problems. Be helpful and solve the customer problem as your first priority. Do not think about your sale; do not try to sell the customer. Focus on solving the customer’s problem.
Timeliness. Ensure that you deal with the customer’s interactions in a timely manner. Customer’s like to feel important and being important means that you deal with their interactions quickly. If there is going to be a delay, then advice the customer of this.
After Sales Service. Ensure that your interaction with your customer goes beyond the sale. No one likes to feel like they have been sold and the quickest way to make a customer feel sold is to ignore them after the cash has changed hands. To keep the customer coming back, ensure that you maintain the relationship with the customer beyond the sale.
Keeping Promises. To really get your customers talking about you in a positive light you need to keep your promises and meet your customer’s expectations. This means ensuring that you only promise what you can deliver and deliver more than you promise.
It is my belief that through having a customer focused attitude we can deliver a service that will ensure that customers keep coming back. Though it may seem that the Art of Customer Service has been lost, we can bring back the Art of good Customer Service through following some of the hints listed above.
©Attila & Kim Ovari 2012. The content of this Article may be reproduced with permission of the author. Created 18 Jul 12.