First, April is customer loyalty month, and I hope you are doing something special for your customers. (Learn more at www.CustomerLoyaltyMonth.com.)
And, this month is also the one year anniversary of the release of my latest customer service book, “The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience.” It is also the same month that the book appeared on “The New York Times,” “Wall Street Journal” and “USA Today” bestseller lists. In honor of the anniversary, I thought that customer amazement, as it applies to customer service, would be a good topic to focus on.
An amazing customer service experience comes down to this: Sell a product or service that works and be nice to the customer about it. It’s that simple. I could stop there as most people would agree with that statement. However, this is just “what it is.” Not how to do it.
Understanding “what it is” becomes the starting point. Knowing and “how to do it” and actually doing it (customer service) is the execution. The result can be any one or all of the following:
1. Happier customers.
2. More loyalty, which means more sales from existing customers (frequency of purchases).
3. Higher sales per transaction (higher average sale).
4. Word of mouth referrals from happy customers (your evangelists).
5. Happier employees (a customer service focused company usually is also employee focused).
6. Lower employee turn-over (employees are happier – more fulfilled – and don’t leave).
7. Price becomes less relevant.
8. Set you ahead of competitors who may have similar (or even better) products, but offer less service.
9. Reputation – People want to buy from you and people want to work for you.
10. Profit – More money to the bottom line.
And who wouldn’t want those results?
So, how to deliver amazing customer service? Well, I’ve written a number of books and hundreds of articles, this being yet another. In honor of the first year’s anniversary of the book, I compiled a list of 40 short tips that will help just about any company deliver amazing customer service. Here are 20 of them. My next article will include the other 20 tips, so keep an eye out for Part Two.
Twenty Quick Tips to Deliver a Better Customer Service Experience
1. Manage first impressions. They set the tone.
2. Manage last impressions. They create “lasting” impressions.
3. Show up on time. Being late is a sign of disrespect to the people waiting.
4. Always do your best.
5. Smile. It’s better than a frown or an expression of apathy.
6. Be accountable. Don’t blame others and accept responsibility.
7. If a problem comes your way, you own it, even if it is not your department.
8. Even if you own the problem (see # 7), and you do have to pass it on to someone else, circle back with the customer to make sure it has been resolved.
9. Show up early.
10. Stay late.
11. Do more than is expected.
12. Under promise and over deliver.
13. Be proactive.
14. Build rapport.
15. Aim for perfection, even if it is not a reality.
16. If there is a problem, respond quickly.
17. Return calls quickly.
18. Care! Don’t just act like you care. Really care!
19. Be enthusiastic.
20. Always say, “thank you.”
So, there you have it. Twenty quick tips. Circle the ones you like. (I won’t be offended if you only choose four or five out of the twenty.) Take them to your team and discuss them. My suggestion is to focus on one tip at a time. Introduce it at a weekly meeting and spend a few minutes discussing it. Then, make it a theme for the week. The next article will include another twenty tips, so you’ll have more to add to your list.
Finally, I want to emphasize that delivering “Amazing” customer service is simply being better than average – all of the time. Anyone can be better than average once in a while. The best people and organizations are consistently better than average. So, get out there and be better than average. Be amazing!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com/. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com/. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)