Did you know that either poor or great customer service can break or make a business? Yes, poor vs. great customer creates an image for your company that will either attract or repel customers. With the Internet and different ways to rate businesses like Yelp it doesn't take much "bad-mouthing" to spread negative reviews about your establishment or the converse to spread high praise and attract people. So always take customer service very seriously.
Now you maybe wondering, "How do I institute customer service programs that won't compromise my hard-earned profits?" The best way to approach customer service is to use the "millimeter approach" to create programs geared toward satisfying customers. What are some small changes you can make to improve customer without re-engineering your entire business model?
Business-to-Customer Relations -- What's in a Name? Are you a retail outlet or business that serves the general public? For example, do you have a receptionist or sales person who meets and greets customers? A very simple policy (small change) to institute is a simple welcome format. How does your "welcome wagon" (AKA receptionist or sales person) behave when he or she encounters a customer? An easy change is to create a standard greeting. "Hello my name is X. How may I help you?" And then make it a standard rule to ask the customer's name. By offering a name and restating someone's name it means your welcome person has established a personal connection with the customer. First, your representative is showing the customer he or she cares. Second, by repeating the name your representative shows he or she listened. This "millimeter" policy change requires no additional investment of money or time. It's simple and easily implemented. When you hire a new staff person, include it in training. This is how we greet and meet customers.Business-to-Business Service. Just because your business doesn't directly touch with the general public doesn't mean emphasis on customer service should fall to the wayside. Client customer relations can be tricky. Anyone on your team or staff should be trained to the customer service "etiquette." Again, a "millimeter" approach emphasizes the little changes. How does your staff answer requests? Do they have a "can-do" attitude or a "won't-do" attitude? A can-do attitude aims to get it done. Train your staff to be agreeable and solution-oriented not problem-centered. Tell staff, "Don't bring me the problem; bring me the solution." A policy of solving problems creates a positive environment where people don't ruminate on what can't be done vs. what can be done. And proactive behavior serves customers at your highest capacity.