You may remember it was about this time last year that “The Cult of the Customer” came out. I’m proud that it hit the “Wall Street Journal” best-seller list, and in celebration of the book’s first birthday, here are five great customer service tips that will give any company an advantage over competition and more value for their customers.
1. Do not settle for satisfied customers – Satisfactory is an average rating. The best companies recognize that satisfied customers are not loyal customers. Every employee should ask themselves a question: What am I doing right now to ensure that the next time the customer needs what it is that we do or sell, they will choose us? Most people think of loyalty as a lifetime, but it is really about the next time – all of the time!
2. Get into alignment – Every employee must know what the company expects from them, as well as the brand promise the company makes to the customers. Create a mantra, which is a one sentence or less statement that combines the vision and mission of the company, as well as the promise to the customer. The Ritz Carlton hotel chain has a great one that is just nine words long: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Everyone gets it, the employees and the guests (customers). The employees have it memorized. They live and breathe the mantra – all of the time!
3. Constantly train – The best companies budget time and expense for on-going training of both hard or technical skills (the skills needed to do their job) and soft skills (customer service, relationship and personal improvement). They don’t do this once in a while – they do it all of the time!
4. Create confidence – Confidence comes from a predictable experience. You want customers to own their experience with you, which means that they know what to expect – all of the time!
5. Be amazing – The best/amazing companies do not deliver over-the-top customer service experiences all of the time. While once in a while they do, their secret is consistency. They are simply predictably better than average – all of the time!
Bonus: Never forget to show appreciation. Say thank you – over and over. Customers need to be told how much you appreciate their business – all of the time!