Customer Service: Does your business just say it or do it?
Many companies know how to SAY customer service; they just don't know how to DO customer service. Yet, good customer service leads to repeat sales and referrals, which lead to higher revenues and profits. The result is a stronger, more secure business.
Your sales staff knows this well. Their results are directly affected by customer perceptions. Other employees, such as those in support and back office functions, may not think of themselves as serving the customer. But the fact is that every employee has an impact, direct or indirect, on the customer's experience. An incorrect shipment, a late delivery, or a mistake on an invoice, all result in poor service. A goal of your business should be to meet, and preferably exceed, customer expectations as often as possible.
How do you teach every employee that customer service is part of their job? The answer is a combination of communication, training, and good management.
* Communication. Make all employees aware of the importance of customer service to the business as a whole. Explain the role they play in achieving good service. Consider posting measures of sales for all to see. If appropriate, develop measures of accuracy or error-free performance and track and share the results.
* Training. Every employee with customer contact should be trained on good service, whether it's a salesperson, a receptionist, or a delivery driver. For those in support roles, emphasize how cooperation and teamwork can contribute to good service. Instill a culture that serving the customer is everyone's job.
* Good management. As the owner or manager, your actions and your priorities set the tone for the company. Employees will follow your lead and pay attention to the things you consider important. Look for ways to measure customer satisfaction and show your employees that you're monitoring it. And don't overlook the other way to improve customer service - minimizing the things that go wrong. Make sure you're aware of errors and complaints. Set goals for improved performance and hold people to them.
Finally, involve your employees. Make it clear that better service is a shared goal and ask for their suggestions. You might be surprised how well they respond.
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