There is so much lip service being paid to customer service these days with very little actually being done about it that it is almost laughable. How many organizations do you see promoting themselves as leaders in customer service or just generally bragging about how well they serve their customers? The truth is most organizations are not coming close to delivering even average customer service, let alone outstanding customer service which is what they should be striving for.
Just talking about customer service and telling your employees that they are to provide outstanding customer service is not going to affect the level of service to your customers enough to make any sort of positive difference. While some short-term buying decisions are based on price, over the long-haul customers will often base their decisions about who to buy from as much on the quality of service they receive as price. In fact, it appears that the relationship between business failure and poor customer service is dramatic. Conversely, those organizations that understand how to deliver outstanding customer service can often times overcome competitive pricing strategies by their competitors and still maintain strong gross profit margins.
Outstanding customer service is generally viewed as an added value by customers. Why? Because it is so rarely encountered that it leaves an impression when they do experience it.
Look closely at the level of customer service being delivered by your organization. It’s not the perception of you and your employees that count. Rather, it is the perception of your customers that matters. Ask them how they feel about the quality of your customer service. Remember that you won’t hear from many disgruntled customers. They just go away.
Do your employees really understand how to deliver outstanding customer service? Do they really understand what is expected of them? Does the company understand how to achieve outstanding customer service? Outstanding customer service stands out. It can truly help you differentiate your organization from your competition. To achieve it takes constant care and nurturing. It must be measured. Outstanding customer service needs to become a “trademark” of your company.
Hiring customer-oriented employees is the starting point for delivering outstanding customer service. Some employees will have a difficult time being customer-oriented because of their personality. Putting people with poor basic people skills in a position to deal with customers is a common mistake in the business world. Think about your own buying experiences and the people you encounter. How many really deliver outstanding service?
Look at your customer service quality objectively. Does it need work? How much work? Develop a plan for correcting deficiencies. Make outstanding customer service a part of your culture. It will pay dividends.
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