As we ring in the New Year, I can’t think of a more critical element into your business in 2015. I am not talking about a new technology or a savvy cost-cutting methodology that will make your shareholders proud. I am talking about great customer service! Remember, the customer? Thy customer?
One of the things that I took from 2014 is that the customer is not going away anytime soon. In fact, they will have more influence and impact into every single part of your business. Many reputable companies and businesses have seen a spike in their “virtual’ customers that shop online which creates more demand for exceptional customer service anytime anywhere.
Customers have more options to voice their impression of a product, an attitude and experience they are getting from your company on a daily basis. There used to be a time where you would wait for the customer feedback after they used your product or service. Not anymore, we are virtually connected and people can engage in a click of a button to tell you how they really feel.
So, I decided to put together “A Bakers Dozen” for customer service leaders that can help anyone be proactive and effective in 2015 by leading a great customer experience in their company:
- Begin with a compelling vision-What does success look like for your company in 2015- What would be the top three measurable milestones to measure customer service success? Be specific.
- Do you have a service culture? Remember that customer service is not a department but a culture that’s engaged and involved in every touch-point of the customer experience. You have to be the Chief Culture Officer.
- Training, training and more training-I think training is undervalued in many organization. You have to sharpen the saw by investing in people, including yourself. Your team is just as good as they know how to be.
- Walk the talk-We all know what great customer service looks like, but when was the last time you personally served and went above and beyond for a customer?
- Be consistent-There is nothing more annoying to a customer than inconsistency with your product and services. If you are a customer yourself, you can relate on the importance of consistent customer service. Consistency create trust with people. They know what to expect each time they have an interaction with your company.
- Be Proactive-If you really want to impress your customers, being proactive is golden! Customers love it when their needs are anticipated and exceeded. It’s a home-run when you took the time to get to know the customer preferences and made it happen to them without any inconveniences.
- Treat them like a VIP– This may sound cliché but its human nature. People like to feel important and acknowledged for who they are. Who doesn’t want to feel like a celebrity or a famous person? Roll out the “Red Carpet” and you will have a winner every time.
- Listen more-Just as important for people to feel acknowledged and treated as VIP, they also want to know someone is listening to them. This takes a lot of hard work and effort, but a critical aspect into any relationship with people. The better you can listen, the more customers you will have.
- Find a way to say YES-Often times, we tell our customers the things we can’t do or refer back to a policy like it’s the Ten Commandments. We need to have a CAN DO attitude so that our customer can feel we are their advocate and not adversary. There are guidelines and policies but with good judgment, you can also win the customer on your side.
- Be visible– We are doing more with less and occasionally finding ourselves in our office more than we need to. Customer service is a people’s business, not only with external customers but internal customers as well. If you want to lead by example, you have to lead by walking around and be approachable to the people in your business.
- Evaluate what doesn’t work-Take the time to look around and find out what is hindering great customer service in your organization? What is that we need to stop doing? Have we looked at all areas that need improvement?
- Don’t forget to make someone’s day-Remember why you got into the business of serving people? Both internally and externally. You wanted to make someone’s day, to make a positive difference and be a leader who can create raving fans!
Go get Em’!