What to Do Behind the Scenes to Provide Good Customer Service

Sunday, August 07, 2011

By: Weston Bonnelle

How to Deliver Good Customer Service Even When There Are No Customers 

Delivering good customer service plays a significant role in ensuring the sustainability of your business. When most people think of customer service, they imagine smiling faces and cheerful greetings. Although that's one aspect of customer service, good customer service is also executed behind the scenes, when you are not in the presence of a customer. Just because the customer is not watching you, it doesn't mean that you should forget to have their best interest in mind. Sure a customer at a restaurant would appreciate a bubbly host and attentive waiter...but they wouldn't appreciate knowing that portions of their meal were dropped on the floor.
Good customer service causes customers to feel appreciated which increases their chancing of being loyal. In order to deliver good customer service, it is necessary of managers and employees to work hard as a team to remain ethical and even sometimes sacrifice being comfortable to meet the expectations of the customers. Providing inferior customer service has negative consequences such as decreased profits for the company, a toxic workplace environment and infamous reputation that is nearly impossible to overcome.

Employ Personnel that are Kind and Have a Passion for the Industry

During the interview, observe the undesirable and constructive characteristics of the interviewees' personality to see if they could a good fit for the business. Cheerful and ambitious people with a general concern for the well being of others are ideal customer service employees. Be careful for interviewees that appear bubbly but do not care about the customers or the industry. Confirm with their past employers about the candidate's experience and attitude toward the workplace. Then you will have an idea if the candidate possesses the skill set and character needed for the position. Remember that no one is perfect therefore hire someone that complements the current staff. For example you may already have staff member that are great at detecting the overall goal but are bad at paying attention to details. Therefore focus hiring someone that is meticulous even if they may not be as far sighted.

Obtain Opinions, Comments and Suggestions from the Customers

Take customer feedback into consideration and valid concerns. Modify and implement new policies to address these concerns and complaints. Encourage your employees to develop professional relationships with the customers. Then your customer can express their opinion with more ease and the employees will get to know the customer's individual needs. Reduce the barriers for communication by providing several means of contact. Create incentives for customers to provide feedback for example you can offers prize drawings for completing surveys.

Use Criticism to Enhance your Service and/or Products
Invest the time, resources and revenue needed to perfect your product or service. For example use goods without preservatives or use more updated technology. Seek expert advice at conventions and research breakthroughs within your industry that are relevant to your business. Encourage employees to use their knowledge, education and prior experiences to suggest any needed changes. Assign each employee a role in quality control. Update your skills and transfer the information to your employees through retraining. Abstain from trying to gain more profit through cheapening the products or services at the expense of the customer.

Develop Comprehensive Guidelines for Handling Customer Complaints
Give employees specific procedures for handling common customer issues. This will streamline the process to resolve issues and enable them to solve problems briskly. Study your product or service beforehand. Attempt to foresee any problems with your product or service. Then share this information with your employees so that they will be equipped with the knowledge efficiently handle the issues they may encounter. Match employees' background, experience and education with specialized complaints and problems. Customers will be relieved to speak to a qualified and knowledgeable employee. According to a study by Harris Interactive, 50 percent of customers said employees did not answer their questions and 44 percent reported they received inaccurate information. Even if you cannot get the customer's issue resolved immediately, you and your employees should be putting in the effort behind the scenes to develop a solution and then contact the customer once the problem is fixed.

Hold Employees Responsible for Their Actions
Explain to each employee his role in providing good customer service, even for employees who are behind the scenes. Give advice regularly and schedule timely performance evaluations. Refrain from being too harsh or critical. Instead, coach employees. Share effective methods for handling difficult situations with a calm and positive attitude. Reward employees who deliver exceptional customer service.

Offer Rewards to Returning Customers
Returning customers are a key component to growing profits. TeleFaction reports that 65 percent of a company's business comes from existing customers.Offer discounts, prizes and free products or services to reward customer loyalty. Give the appropriate leeway in company policies to provide flexibility for the returning customers.
Have you experienced poor customer service lately? How did you react?

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Michael Sweet said...

I genuinley believe that good customer service comes only from an advisor/person who actually prides themself on really wanting to help. There are still ways for a company to keep within their cs guide lines while keeping the consumer completely happy most of the time.

Dianne Heath said...

Very true. People with pride in their companies and a naturally helpful personality will find it easier to provide quality customer service. Thanks for the insight!