Remember those concerts that were so amazing you knew you'd never quite forget them? What made it so great — the thumping music? The fantastic seats? Watching the pros do what they do best? Or was it everything coming together for a totally fantastic, memorable experience?
One can make the analogy that a business highly recognized for outstanding and unbeatable customer service can create similar memories for its customers. We've got a few more ideas on how you can offer the kind of service that will make your customers feel just as loyal to you as the president of a band’s biggest fan club.
1. Get ready to rock (and roll)
Treat every customer just like a rock star, says Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby, an online independent music store. It launched in 1998 and he sold it for $22 million a decade later.
"You'd drop everything, gush some praise, be thrilled that he’d contact you at all, and give him all the time in the world for whatever he wants," Sivers writes. "So that’s how we should treat everyone that contacts us. Why not? You don’t have time? Make time. It’s exactly how everyone deserves to be treated."
2. Why go elsewhere?
When you treat each customer as if he or she is the most important customer you'll be sure to set your business apart. Think about how you would like to be treated if the "shoe were on the other foot", or more precisely, if you were the customer. What bothers you, and conversely, what makes you thrilled to do business with that company? Essentially, you'll need to always see it from both vantage points. Set yourself apart from the competition by asking for feedback, ideas about improvement and take each and every comment and suggestion seriously. Communicate these ideas across the company so every employee is aware of the suggestions. Work as a team as you take your customers' suggestions to heart. Use a whiteboard, bulletin board or other presentation tool to spread the message about customer service programs or initiatives.
3. Maintain the personal touch
Hire the best, most qualified people for the role of Customer Service representative. Often, they are the face of the company, so be sure they have the skills, temperament and personality. They too should innately understand that they should treat customers exactly the way they would want to be treated, and with the personal touch. Try not to use pre-written scripts, except for a few bullets you may need them to have at their fingertips. Consider custom printed material on posters or desk flyers to reiterate your commitment to exceeding customer's expectations.
In a similar way, many fans love it when their favorite musicians perform with personality, singing and playing their hits just a bit differently live, as opposed to the radio edits.
"You may want to begin with a set of simple rules, such as, 'Be courteous, listen carefully, and be prepared to say 'yes' rather than 'no,'" notes an OPEN Forum story on customer service.
And set the tone for your own workers: "If you treat your employees well, they’ll be more likely to treat your customers well, in turn," says OPEN Forum.
4. Just ask your customers
Who knows your business best, aside from you and your team? Answer: your customers! Whenever possible, you should be asking your customers what they like about doing business with you. However, you also need to ask the tough question: What don't they like. Live feedback from customers is a great "market research" tool and affords you the opportunity to make improvements quickly and effectively.
Consider encouraging your customers to send their feedback anonymously through your website, or simply talk to them on the phone. Sivers did so when he ran CD Baby, asking clients what they liked about his company.
"Was it the pricing? The features? Nope. The #1 answer, by far, almost every time someone raved about the company, was this:'You pick up the phone! I can reach a real person,' he writes. "They called and got a real person on the 2nd ring, instead of an automated call-routing system. Or they sent an email and received a surprisingly helpful personal reply, instead of an impersonal scripted response. And that was it. Who could have guessed? That despite all efforts put into features, pricing, design, partnerships, and more, clients would choose one company over another mainly because they liked their customer service."
About the Author
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance writer and has written for publications including USA Today, The New York Times, Prevention.com, More, Women’s Day, ENT Today, and Oncology Business Management. Find her at cherylalkon.com.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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