Where Did All the Customer Service Go?

In Customer Connections, Leadership Connections, Uncategorized by Shannon Alter0 Comments

Has it disappeared? Did someone sell it? Perhaps they gave it away. I’m just kidding of course, but the fact is: we’ve gotten used to poor (even just plain lousy) customer service (and customer satisfaction) in business today.   Here are 3 solid customer service tips you can use in your company today. In fact, I’ll share more strategic tactics and ways that YOU can create exceptional customer service in my content-packed September 6 seminar, “Exceptional Customer Service, Lessons from the Shark Tank”. Click here for more information and registration details.

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Here’s an an example of how this can make a difference for your company: Recently, I visited a colleague’s office for a meeting. I hadn’t met him before, and had never been to his office. When I arrived, the receptionist was busy on email at her computer.

She glanced at me, but continued writing her message, figuring that I would wait. When she finally turned around, there was no greeting, just a “Yes?”.  She didn’t know who I was or why I was there, but I’m pretty sure this was her standard response.  Did anyone in her office notice this? I’m not sure. Was this level of service an advantage for her company? Definitely not.

If you’ve seen situations like this in your own company, here’s the good news: you can fix it. First, it’s important to recognize that having extraordinary customer service is a lot like having a newborn baby—it needs your attention all of the time, and you’ve gotta be flexible.  Is it always tangible? Nope. Is it complicated? Sometimes.  In the case of customer service, much of it is strategic.

I think it’s true that exceptional customer service starts at the top. Here’s the first critical tactic I learned from my time on the front lines:

Put your gut on:  When I worked at the front desk of a major hotel chain early on in my career, I learned a very important lesson from my then-mentor – pay attention! Often we’re so wrapped up in our daily tasks (witness the receptionist above) that we forget to tune into what our customers actually need.

Listen up: If you have a customer (whether external, or internal) with a complaint, try this today-just listen. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Sit on your hands if you have to, but just listen. What will this accomplish? a) You’ll find out what they are really asking for/complaining about (vs. what you think they want) and b) You’ll begin to cultivate an eye for detail. Listen up—and ask the right questions-and you’ll learn how to anticipate what your customers want, before they even know they want it.

Remember you’re onstage: Even if you’re not an actor, everyone in a customer-facing role is onstage. Period. The minute you walk in the door of your office, pick up the phone or chat with a customer or client, the spotlight is on you. So whether you’ve missed the bus or forgotten your coffee, leave it at the door. The spotlight is on how you treat your customers from the get-go.

 

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