Customer satisfaction isn't a destination.                                               It's a process, and should be a passion.

You have more control over how you interact with your customers than you do over any other
element of your business. Even if the product or service side of the company performs horribly,
you still have an opportunity to be professional and pro active with your customer. Doing so may
not only save the customer, it may actually foster a loyal advocate. But, for that to be the case the
customer needs to know your organization is "all in" when it comes to service.

The Golden Rule applies across all aspects of life, but in few does it apply more clearly than in
the field of customer service. As customers, ourselves, we've all had good and bad experiences.
Keep those clearly in mind when dealing with your market. Be responsive. Answer phone calls.
Reply promptly to voice and email messages. Even if you don't have the requested item or
information, contact the customer to let them know you're thinking (and caring) about them.

Under promise and over perform. You'll have a disappointed customer if you're overly optimistic
in your projection and merely average with your performance. Set the stage. If you expect to finish
a job on Wednesday, tell the customer it will be Thursday. Then, do more than expected. Add a
little touch whenever possible, like discounted freight, a free car wash or even just a Thank You

In many ways, the front line for customer service is the back office (or kitchen). There's only so
much a friendly service agent can do to overcome a broken product, missed delivery or botched
order. So, all companies should work hard on the nuts and bolts of their operations to reduce the
risk of a customer service crisis. Put time and resources into training and quality control. Let
everyone in the company know how important each role is to the customer experience.

Problems will come up, even for the best companies. It's inevitable. In the vast majority of cases
the customer will give you a second chance - or more, depending on how you handled the first
problem. Be prepared to admit a mistake if (when) one occurs. You will earn respect by doing so.
There are two reasons people complain, one is to express a need to correct a problem. The other
is to vent frustration. Unfortunately, current social media outlets allow the venting to take place
without ever making direct contact with the company involved. If you encounter such negative
comments in social media, be prepared to post a professional, conciliatory response. If a customer
complains directly to you, listen to their complaint. Don't be defensive. What's upset them may not
be the problem they're complaining about. It may or may not have anything to do with your
business.  Deflect rather than reject their negative position. Don't amplify their energy. They may
be merely venting a frustration and not expecting anything in return.

But if the complaint is accurately aimed at your company, empower customer service agents to
resolve minor problems immediately. If problems are more wide spread or longer term create a
sense of transparency by publishing to customers and other constituents as much information as
appropriate. Let them know you're sensitive to how the issues may affect them and what you're
doing to correct the situation. Hiding, denying and ignoring are bad policies and cause more
damage in the long run.

BOTTOM LINE                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Use the expertise you've developed as a customer to create a passion for great customer service.

Posted by Peter on 9/18/2013 5:13:03 PM