I recently read an article that concluded that customer service is not a competitive advantage because it is expected. I couldn’t help but continue to think about that. As a consumer – and an observant one – I gravitate to businesses that:
Communicate well; and
Treat people like – wait for it – people.
But this is becoming fewer and far between.
In this day where the economy isn’t providing enormous amounts of work to businesses, so it boggles my mind how customer service is non-existent. From big box stores to small dry cleaners, to construction material suppliers to roofing companies, consumer requests get sent into outer space and a business's “word” is never fulfilled.
When I’m on the receiving end of terrible customer service, or a voicemail that never gets returned, I can’t help but wonder, what does that company’s strategy, HR system, and leadership look like?
After all, remember to blame the system, not the person.
Employees are just doing what they’ve always done. If a company doesn’t take the time to explain what is important and sets them apart (i.e. values), how is an employee going to know? If a company doesn’t provide any kind of training or onboarding to demonstrate how employees are to communicate, how is an employee supposed to know? If a company’s leadership doesn’t “walk the talk”, how is the employee supposed to?
How does your customer service stack up? A lot of businesses assume their customer service is up to par because the owner/leadership team takes for granted that employees should just know how to act.
Exceptional customer service boils down to one thing – the ability to communicate effectively.
Here are 3 tips for your organization to communicate effectively and exceed customer expectations:
Acknowledge your customers – When a customer steps onto your property, they should be welcomed with open-arms (okay, maybe not via a hug – you’ll surely scare people away, myself included). Within 5 seconds of being in your facility, a customer should be acknowledged and greeted with a smile.
Respond within 24 hours – Whether it’s a voicemail or an e-mail requesting something that’s going to take a lot longer than 24 hours, at least confirm you got the message and when the customer can expect something back.
Understand personality differences – Ensure your employees have self-awareness, understand their own strengths and weaknesses and understand the different types of personalities that exist so they can service their customers accordingly.
Remember, price is only relevant in the absence of value.
Could your organization up its game to ensure its customers’ expectations are exceeded? Get in touch to learn more about our workshops on Becoming an Effective Communicator and Understanding Personality Differences.