‘Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.’ (Tony Alessandra)
Most of us would like to think that our company gives great service to our customers, above and beyond what they expect from us. And for the most part, that’s true. But in a world where everyone is trying to be great, it’s the truly outstanding service that really makes a difference to businesses. In today’s market there are increasing demands on companies to provide their services cheaper, faster and better than ever. And when your competitors are only a mouse-click away, making yourself stand out has never been more important. At Learning Curve, we believe that people skills and consistency are the most important factors when providing outstanding customer service. That’s why we’ve put together this checklist for you, to help you understand how to give outstanding service to your customers, and where you might need to improve.
- Agree on your company’s Customer Service Values and communicate them to the entire organisation from the top down. Incorporate these values into your hiring process, to ensure all new hires understand these values from day one.
- Ensure that every piece of customer communication is in line with your company values. If needed, create a set of template emails and responses to reflect these values when answering common questions or dealing with common issues.
- Work on improving internal customer service. It’s important that your staff treat each other with the same respect and courtesy that they show your external customers. If internal communications are of a lower standard, this will start to seep through into the customer communications too.
- Organise training where necessary to help people improve their skills. Invest in a full and comprehensive training programme for new hires, with regular refresher training for even the most senior employees.
- Reward people who provide outstanding service to your customers. You could do this with a small gift, token of appreciation or even just praising them publicly for their great work. It’s all about creating role models and incentives to meet those high service standards.
- Ask your customers what they think you do well, and what they think you could improve. After all, they’re the ones on the receiving end of your service, so they should know! You might be shocked by the answers. Your opinions may differ greatly from the actual experience of your customers, so eliciting this feedback is crucial.
- Make your customer service standards measurable, achievable and easily accessible. This gives you a benchmark to work to, and means that employees will know what is expected from them at all times.
- Encourage teams to hold regular customer service reviews, where they asses their service against the company standards honestly. Use this as a way to praise the positives and use the negatives to develop strategies for improvement. Never settle for good – always strive for higher standards of service.
- Actively recruit people who will support your company’s customer service values and culture. Incorporate customer service questions and attitude surveys into your hiring process, and proactively seek recruits who can demonstrate outstanding customer service.
- Customer service shouldn’t just be left to those on the front lines. Make customer service everyone’s job, whatever they do in the company. After all, you never know when you might be called on to deal with a customer.
At Learning Curve, we strive to give only outstanding customer service to our own customers too. And we are more than happy to pass on that knowledge, experience and drive to you. We work closely with companies who need to deliver exceptional customer service levels on a consistent basis, supporting them through training, workshops and one-to-one coaching in customer service skills. If you would like to find out more, please just get in touch with us today.