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Street Talk

Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever

By Jessie Gurner

With everyone watching their budget and how and where they spend their money, customer service is more important than ever.

First and foremost let us understand what customer service is. It’s treating customers fairly and it is pretty simple. All of us are customers at some point. Just remember the kind of service we appreciate!

Treat everyone alike and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think from the customer’s point of view. Act from the customer’s point of view. Although these are pretty simple things, it plays a vital role in delivering great customer service.

Here are five quick tips for improving customer service:

Hire Good People. Make sure you hire employees who will serve your customers well. Employees who are enthusiastic, friendly and outgoing will generally be nice to customers even in the most difficult situations. It’s also important that new hires be intelligent, empathetic and have good problem solving skills. If they have those characteristics, they should have no problem understanding a situation and making the right decisions to keep the customer happy.

Invest in Customer Service Training. For example, in the future, it’s possible that a customer may swear at one of your employees and call them bad names. Make sure your employees how to handle these worst-case scenarios.

Empower Employees. Nothing hurts customer service more than not being able to get an answer. Give your employees the authority to make tough decisions on the fly, even if you are not around. Never second-guess their decisions. However, it’s important to define customer service guidelines so they at least have a baseline from which to make their decisions. When an employee makes a good customer service decision, make sure to congratulate them on a job well done.

Get Customer Feedback. Ask customers how you are doing. Customers are usually thrilled to have the opportunity to tell you what you are doing right and where there’s room for improvement. Every so often, call up a customer at random and talk to them. But don’t forget to act on what you hear – you don’t want to get a reputation for listening to customers but never acting on their feedback.

Surprise and Delight Customers. Studies show that customers who are given exceptional customer service are better customers than those who are given just good customer service. They buy more and they stay on longer as customers. Every so often, surprise and delight your customers by doing something truly extraordinary. For example, add a bonus product in their order with a note thanking them for their business. You will be surprised and delighted yourself when you see the effect this simple technique can have on your business.

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