By Peter Switzer,
One of the key ways to make your business grow is to have outstanding customer service. Here are a range of tips to make sure you and your staff are up to scratch:
- Speak to customers – be cheerful and smile at people – frowns use 72 muscles while a smile takes 14! Where possible, call people by their name
- Listen to your customers to find out what they really want from you
- Do things the way customers want them done
- Train your staff to treat your customers in a manner that you want them to be treated
- Make sure your customer knows what product or service you provide so they know exactly what they are getting from you
- Handle customer complaints with care and concern. Make sure they feel their business is important to you. Fix up possible mistakes and let your customer know you have (see below)
- Always return phone calls to customers
- Have a policy for telephone service and make sure it’s carried out by everyone in your organisation. Service involves the way the telephone is answered, the speed of response to a query and all aspects of contact with the customer
- Always turn up on time for your customers. If you are in the trades, or provide a service and you know you are going to be late delivering that service, call the customer and explain the reasons why you will be late
- Make sure you are always your customer’s first choice
- Don’t make promises to customers that you can’t keep
- Add value. From time to time, and within budget, provide your loyal customers with extra support or rewards
- Ask your staff and your customers what kind of service they would like and try to find ways to put any of these suggestions into practice
- Remember that there is consumer protection in Australia (The Trade Practices Act 1974 and fair trading legislation) and the last thing your business needs is to be in a court or tribunal for deceptive trade practices.
Use this checklist to ensure your customers are receiving the best possible service.
- Thoroughly research your customers to gauge their needs and wants. Build a profile of the different types of customers you may come across and use this to tailor your service to meet their requirements
- Be an expert on your service and industry. Your customers should be able to look to you and your staff for expert advice
- Add value to your service where you can. It may be as simple as offering a customer a cup of coffee when they visit
- Be predictable. Customers like to know what they should expect. Make sure your service is always of a consistently high standard
- Try to build morale with your regular customers. Everybody enjoys service when they feel it is personal
- Brush up on your communication skills. In today’s busy world many people forget their manners. Customers notice when staff are courteous and pleasant
- Always ask for feedback on your service. If you know your strengths and weaknesses, you have a much better chance of improving your service at large. And don’t think that because there hasn’t been any complaints, that your customers are all happy. You have to ask to find out for sure.