As regular visitors to Winnthinking will know, great customer service begins with enjoying your customers and truly appreciating them as the beating heart of your organisation. As with any heart, you need to keep them happy and active in order to grow a healthy future for your business.
Once your customer service head is in the right place, you will find that your conversations become more positive and productive – making your job easier along the way!
To help make even more of that happen, here are some extracts from Mrs Winn’s Short Guide to Brilliant Customer Service. These principles and tips have made a huge difference in the organisations where I have included them in a training programme. Let me know what you think…
- Get a great attitude: Customers are not an interruption to your busy day. They are the reason for your busy day. If you have unhelpful beliefs and opinions about your customers, think your way to some new ones.
- Prepare for your first customer before you even arrive at work: Get into the habit of ‘paving your day’ – in other words, begin to mentally prepare as you travel in and leave your non-work problems and concerns at the door. If non-work problems are too overwhelming to leave behind, you need to raise them with your line manager, come up with a strategy and get proper support. Anything else you can leave behind.
- Dress the part: Make a great impression in terms of your wardrobe and your hygeine. Dress as professionally as your work environment and position calls for, in order to make a positive impression and enhance your personal confidence.
- Always acknowledge and welcome your customers with a smile: Even if you cannot deal with someone straight away, it is important to acknowledge that they are there and explain that you will be with them in a moment. Ignore a waiting customer at your peril.
- Actively listen to what they are saying: Listen for the emotional messages and un-asked questions as well as the obvious ‘easy bits’. Avoid the temptation to jump to conclusions about what is being said to you.
- Deal with the emotional content, then the factual stuff: Get into the habit of using a simple phrase to acknowledge any emotional baggage surrounding a customer’s enquiry. It may be as easy as: “Thank you for telling me about that, Mr Aziz; you’ve clearly spent a lot of time on this already. Let’s get it sorted out once and for all.” Going straight to the factual stuff can feel dismissive and uncaring, so help them want to be on your side.
- Be professional. Always. There are certain aspects of being professional that apply to every role: looking composed and confident, speaking appropriately and with respect, giving attention to detail, being courteous, being interested…they are consistent, not optional.
- Take ownership…and be prepared to go the extra mile. See things through and keep the customer informed about what is happening.
- Customer service for all: Give thought as to how to make every aspect of your customer service accessible to all customers, whatever their needs in terms of language barriers, sensory impairment or accessibility requirements.
- Go above and beyond: However busy you are, if you can find some small way to go above and beyond for your customer, doing so can really pay future dividends. A customer who has a great experience this time will be far more likely to be cooperative the next time he or she comes in for your help.
Like this? Then let’s talk about a customer service programme tailored to your business and your customers.