02 August 2008

Talk about customer service to your staff, a lot

Customer service is an issue that many businesses really struggle to get a handle on. For some people it is simply serving customers quickly and politely, but in reality it goes much deeper.

In other posts I have talked about the importance of respecting your customers, which I believe is the starting point when it comes to delivering high levels of customer service.

Whilst you may respect your customers, the relevance of this is often hard to pass on to your staff. They will mirror you attitude towards customer service. That is why you have to make your views very clear and in my opinion, black and white. 

Most businesses will talk endlessly about sales to staff: is the business reaching its targets, how can sales be improved, how can more customers be attracted and how can they be encouraged to spend more with the business? The topic of customer service is often overlooked, generally because I feel that business owners aren’t really sure how to address more than a few very obvious customer service issues.

Customer service should be talked about a lot. It should be debated, it should be reviewed and it should be discussed at every opportunity. This can get a little boring and start to sound like a broken record so it is up to the person doing the talking to be a little innovative.

Buy a book on customer service with lots of great ideas on how to stand out from the crowd by offering exceptional customer service. Without meaning to turn this into a sales pitch, my third book called 101 Ways to really satisfy your customers is a pretty good starting point. It actually contains 121 very simple and practical ways to improve any business’ level of customer service. There are many other books available and most contain excellent tips.

Encourage your staff to make suggestions on how they feel your business’ customer service could be improved. Ask your customers for their feedback and recommendations. Talk about these recommendations with your staff and see if they can be implemented. By getting your staff and customers involved the concept of customer service becomes much more tangible.

In short, devote as much time to improving customer service as you do to improving sales and your business will grow naturally as it gains a reputation for offering excellent service. 

One thought on “Talk about customer service to your staff, a lot”

  1. Luke Grange says:

    One way to gauge customer service from both inside and outside the organisation is the Survey. I have found that a wonderful way to do surveys is to use the internet. There are survey technologies out there which can be simply tailored to your needs and deployed at a touch of a button. The return replies can be anonymous or not depending on the context and all simple to setup. I saw a survey fall over last week for the simple reason that the person who initiated it made it too complex to respond to. The questions were easy and there were not that many of them. People don’t want to do much more than a single click however to submit their response. This particular survey was a word doc which was supposed to be completed and e-mailed back………too much hard work for anyone in this fast paced society. Your customers know what they want your products and services to be and do, so make sure that you are continually collaborating with them to deliver more appropriate products and services to suit their needs. I know this may sound a little awkward but don’t assume the systems you have in place to run your customer service success are the best. Watch and respond to what your key staff feel are most effective, you will be surprised.

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