It’s widely believed that people are twice as likely to discuss episodes of bad customer service as they are to chat about times when they’ve felt valued, cared for and welcome. Take a quick look on the various online reviews sites and you won’t have trouble locating handfuls of ‘one star’ feedback due to unfriendly, unhelpful or rude staff members. In fact, it’s thought that poor customer service costs the world over $300 billion each year.
So what can be done about it? The key is to see customer service as part of your lifestyle. Make great customer service part of who you are and how you behave on a daily basis – and not just something that you do when you have time or because it’s part of your job role.
This means adopting a ‘customer comes first’ mindset in all aspects of your life, no matter who you’re speaking to. Buying something in a shop? Treat the cashier like an old friend. Ordering a takeaway? Chat to the person on the other end of the phone and ask them about their day. Collecting your dry cleaning? Smile, be polite and do what you can to help the assistant make their job that little bit easier.
These small acts of kindness shouldn’t be anything too out of the ordinary for anyone, but making the effort to be pleasant, positive and personal with everyone that you speak to will soon translate into your customer service with your own customers. And who doesn’t like to feel valued when making a purchase?
Furthermore, customers who are treated genuinely, warmly and as individuals are likely to harness that positive feeling and pass it on to the next person they meet, so have the confidence to be that first person in the chain of positive reactions. What goes around comes around, so they say.
A recent Customer Experience Impact report actually found that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, and a whopping 89% of people will take their money elsewhere as a result of poor customer service. It’s clear that there’s so much to gain if you put excellent customer service at the top of your to-do list.
What’s more, if you’re in charge of hiring new employees for your business then you’re perhaps even better positioned to promote customer service as a lifestyle choice and not a chore. Sure, leading by example will help to get existing staff members on board, but the interview stage for new workers is a great place to test the waters for that perfect customer service attitude.
Look for people who are empathetic, optimistic and who can act well under pressure. Look out for those who are genuine, honest and mindful and a pleasure to talk to. Look for people who you’d be happy to have as a friend and not just a colleague, as these are the people who will translate their innate warmth into their customer service. You want to hire people who care about people.
As a manager or employer your main aim is to ensure that all employees are singing from the same hymn sheet. If one person is particularly good at customer service, then encourage them to teach the others their secrets. You want every customer to have the same, fair and genuine experience when they encounter your company and this means working as a team.
Perhaps you could host customer service based competitions or contests amongst your team and reward staff members who consistently go above and beyond. Alternatively, why not hold frequent customer service themed presentations, teach your staff new people skills in regular training sessions or simply dish out the praise as and when you see fit. No matter how you do it, remember to continually reward staff members for their hard work as this will encourage them to adopt the customer service lifestyle for the long-haul, and not just as a short-term fix to win the prize.
Overall it’s clear to see how a customer service lifestyle trumps a customer service duty. Making great customer service a part of your day-to-day life will make the world that little bit more positive and ensure your customers have a pleasant, memorable and worth-reviewing experience every time that they visit you. Give it a try and see how it works for you!
About the Author
Louise uses her 4+ years of technical writing experience to write specialist articles on a range of health and safety, business skills and safeguarding people topics for High Speed Training. Louise has a degree in English Language and enjoys pursuing a range of creative outlets, from writing and editing to baking, cooking and sewing.