Hope you are having a great week. Today’s post is about customer service and customer satisfaction.
What is Customer Service?
According to Wikipedia, customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.
Servicing a customer is an integral part of every purchase or transaction which involves interacting with a customer either internally or externally. It can usually last from a few seconds up to a couple of hours. So, if we all practice and experience it daily in almost everything we do, then why isn’t good customer service the norm?
We all have stories about when we were treated exceptionally well or extremely poorly. We tend to share these amazing stories with others. Word of mouth marketing can be the absolute best advantage, or the worst pitfall for a company.
How do we Ensure that Customers receive Quality Service Delivery Before, During and After a Purchase?
Everyone in a company/business should love and respect their customers; without them, there is no business. This doesn’t mean there will not be difficult customers who will push the limits and test everyone’s patience. However, a company should have value systems which respect and appreciate customers. There is always a polite response for even the most difficult customer although this may require a lot of wisdom and patience.
Training and Involving the Employees in Various Facets of Organization’s Development and Strategy
Apart from their routine activities, involving employees or even simply providing regular updates on the bigger picture of the business makes them take ownership of the business and the service that they provide to their customers. This will result in the willingness, by employees, to satisfy the customers, especially when there is a complaint, and ensure that the customers leave satisfied, with their loyalty retained by the organization and the objective of the business is achieved.
All employees, customer facing or not, should care about customer satisfaction and should be made to understand its importance, regardless of whether they interface with customers or not. A non-customer facing employee may have to deal with customers (this can happen even outside the work environment). It is important for such employees to do their best to provide a solution and if the solution is beyond their capacity, they can refer the customer to the appropriate unit or department and follow up on the progress till the issue is resolved.
Set a Realistic Expectation
Customers who have been promised something that wasn’t delivered are far more frustrated and disappointed than if they were notified from the onset that their order might be delayed. In other words, “Under promise and over deliver is the best policy”. This might involve some arm wrestling with other departments who want to bring a feature or product to the market before it is ready. Set the expectations correctly internally as to what the fallout may be so everyone understands the impact to customer satisfaction and ultimately customer retention.
Honesty is the best policy. It may be difficult, sometimes, to give customers full details of certain services but it is important to be as honest as possible especially in this day and age where everyone is on Social Media and will not hesitate to defame a company.
An example is providing certain information to potential customers about goods or services. As much as the goal is to make a sale, it is more important to let them know what the Pros and Cons are. All services are not perfect, even though they are advertised as such. By letting them know ahead of time what the pros and cons of using certain services or buying certain products are, they may decide to make the purchase and work around the cons. This is better than making uncertain assurances and will save the company’s image.
Own up to your mistakes. Communicate what you plan to do to change or prevent the same mistake from happening again.
Keep Up the Quality of Service
Ensure that the quality of services rendered or goods supplied does not drop. It is very easy to relax and compromise on quality, especially when business is moving. Who does not want to maximize profits? This, in the long run, will reflect badly on the company as bad news spreads fast. The presence of social media now ensures that bad news spreads faster. The price of good quality cannot be quantified. On the other hand, the cost of poor quality can be very expensive.
The list above is just a guide and not exhaustive. The idea is to look at the bigger picture. You may not even like your present employer but you may want to own a business someday. Excellent customer services is not bestowed upon you once you start your business. It is a way of life. Your present employer is your dress rehearsal for your future business success.