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One would think, in these turbulent economic times, that good customer service would be a top priority in business today.
If anyone wants to survive and thrive, customer service should be one’s major focus in today’s world.
Research shows that customers are five times more likely to switch vendors because of perceived service problems than because of price concerns or product quality issues.
Did you know that it costs five times as much to gain a new customer as it does to keep an existing one?
Makes you think twice before holding back on that smile when facing your customers next time.
So how does one provide good customer service?
To put it very plainly, good customer service comes from exceeding a customer’s expectations, and this is done through: attitude, professionalism, helpfulness, courtesy, knowledge, reliability, consistency, concern, enthusiasm, expertise, care etc.
It’s all about making a good impression, having a positive attitude, communicating effectively.
And don’t forget: building and maintaining relationships will stand one in good stead in maintaining excellent customer service.
Additional things that one can do to ensure good customer service (and this is where most often fail) the following:
1 Answer your phone and return messages.
2 Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
3 Listen to your customers.
4 Always be helpful, even if you are not going to get anything out of it.
5 Train your staff to: listen, be helpful and knowledgeable.
6 Deal with complaints and don’t run away from them – one can often turn such situations into positive outcomes.
7 Go the extra mile, as most don’t even bother.
8 Try to throw in a little something extra (this does not have to cost anything – could be a smile, compliment, useful information etc).
Finally it is always about expectations. Most expect the worst and wish for the best, so give your customer the best experience possible when dealing with them, then step back and see what magic happens.
But, of course, the secret thereafter is to maintain that exceptional level of service.
That is what will set you apart from the rest, as we all know it takes much energy and time to keep it up.
It’s important to keep asking yourself:, do you not want repeat business and loyal customers? Providing exceptional customer service is a daily, constant choice that always pays off.
l Karina Bognon is managing member of Exceptional People Consulting and Training. Visit www.epconsulting.co.za