How do you approach your customers? Are you friendly and polite or is it more along the lines of getting out of my face? You may think that this doesn’t matter, but it can make a huge difference. Customers who are treated well will be loyal and spend more money over time, but if they’re treated poorly they’ll go elsewhere says Paul Haarman. So which type of company culture do you want to create?
The following tips come from a successful company with an excellent customer service system:
1. Don’t force it
Don’t say something on autopilot without meaning it. This isn’t going to help anyone; in fact, this will do the opposite and make people wonder what on earth you’re talking about (if such a thing is possible). You can’t force friendliness; you have to feel it for yourself.
2. be proactive
Again, no one will benefit from a company that sits back and hopes that customers come to them. If your staff is friendly and willing to help then it’s like an invitation: the customer is going to accept it and come over to you without much effort on your part! People won’t keep coming back if they don’t know who you are; make sure they do by spreading the word about your products/services through leaflets, newsletters, websites, etc. Make sure there’s always someone manning the phone – but only answer calls when people actually need help! When people ring, don’t just offer a pre-rehearsed speech – you never know what someone might ask, so make sure the person taking the call has all the information they need to be able to answer suggests Paul Haarman.
3. Every company member matters
Not every member of staff will be your top salesperson, but that’s ok! Each person can play an important role in helping to build a profitable customer service system. For example, if one company member is good at chatting with customers then their presence could help save you money on advertising because people are likely to recommend you after speaking with them! If your receptionist spends more time making coffee than answering the phone, change this. If not for any other reason then it makes whoever is manning the phones look unprofessional… even if it isn’t their fault.
4. Make it personal
Every customer is unique, so every customer should be treated uniquely! If you have a system where all customers are answered by the first name, then this will help your staff to remember the names of everyone they meet – and trust me, it’s hard to remember regular customers’ names if you’re not doing something like this! Not only that but it helps build rapport which makes customers feel comfortable (and hopefully want to spend more money with you)!
5. Don’t give up
It can take time for things to work out; even if you’ve tried everything you can think of there may still be one thing missing… what could that be? The answer is often less obvious than expected… maybe your staff aren’t as happy and cheerful as they could be, maybe you need to spend some more money on advertising or – and this is a common one – perhaps your company culture just isn’t right. If the majority of people in your business don’t like their job then it’s going to show through in some way; often it will come out when dealing with customers so you need to get rid of whatever it is that makes them unhappy otherwise rebuilding any relationship with customers is going to be almost impossible.
You may think that this sounds like I’m contradicting myself by saying employees can make a huge difference but also if they’re not happy then there’s no point (at least, not yet). Paul Haarman says the thing about this one though is that an employee who doesn’t want to be there can still find ways to make your customers feel comfortable… but the next time you ask them for help they’ll probably tell other people about how much they hate their job so it means you should try and keep people happy!
6. Employ customer service specialists
Having someone on staff who is an expert in dealing with customers (regardless of whether or not this somebody is a manager) will make certain tasks like answering calls really easy. For example, if no one knows who you are then another company might need to hire more employees – which costs money – whereas if one person has all the information they need then that’s one less thing for someone else to worry about! It’s also good to have knowledge that can only be gained over time; for example, if the majority of your customers are coming from a certain area and they’re all (or mostly) complaining about how expensive certain aspects of your business are then it may benefit you to work out whether or not this is true.
Paul Haarman says the next time that you’re thinking about going out to a restaurant remember what your waiter or waitress is going through and try to be as supportive as possible! This way they’ll appreciate what you’re doing and may even be more likely to give you better service, which could even mean the difference between whether or not you choose this place again.