What is Customer Service?
I hear a lot of people say that Customer Service is a thing of the past. I have seen situations where this is seemingly true. It often seems that when you go to make a purchase, the sales person doesn’t care whether you actually buy or not. It seems as if they are only there to collect a paycheck and if you do not make a purchase, then ‘Oh well, the next customer will.”
Have you ever purchased a car and the sales person treated you like his best friend in order to sell you the car? You buy based on the friendliness and the great sales pitch, but when you take the car into the service department, the service person treats you as if you have the flu! Well, these are just a couple of examples of bad Customer Service that I have experienced. While I am optimistic that Customer Service is still around, I think you often have to dig deep for it. In some cases it’s the luck of the draw.
I have an example where I was in a store and my wife and I were looking for a dress shirt & tie for my son. The issue we were having was finding a shirt that was the right size as well as the right length. We encountered a sales lady who was so helpful that if I could have given her a tip I would have! She didn’t even work in the department where we were shopping for the shirt. She made us sit while she went around the store trying to find the right shirt& tie set for us.
Eventually her determination paid off as she found the right shirt. However, the tie that was with the shirt was not one that we particularly cared for. So you know what she did? She found a shirt that had a tie that we really liked and made the switch. She “made it happen!” I think there are lots of individuals that can make things happen relative to Customer Service. It does not always take a lot. Here are a few things that I think can be done in order to “Make it happen”
- Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
- Don’t pressure me to buy (if you have what I need I will probably buy if you are nice and considerate of my needs)
- Don’t just try to make a sale off of me, try to understand how this purchase is going to benefit me and my family ( or me as individual if you are single )
- Make me the center of your attention. (Focus on me don’t wander off or try to help multiple people at the same time)
Those are just a few things that I think can help someone who wants to “Make it happen!” I think one of the best Customer Service traits that a person can exhibit is the ability to listen to what the customer is saying. So many times we are eager to make a sale or have someone buy that we forget to listen to what it is that they really need. Then what ends up happening is that we sell them the wrong thing. Now they are not happy. You know I was listening to a speaker and they were taking about an iceberg and how you only see about 20 percent of that mass of ice. The other 80 percent is under water. Wouldn’t it be nice if we took our Customer Service skills to the 80 level and tried to really get to know what that customer, client or business prospect was really like? Just think of the relationship you would build from just getting to know that person in that way!
When a customer comes to see you, you know in your mind they are coming because they are in search of information; quite possibly they are in need of something from you. At this point you are the expert to that customer, business prospect; lead or whatever you want to call them. They are coming to get some answers because they don’t know. Well maybe they do know and they are testing your knowledge. In any case that customer should have an experience with you that he or she should not forget. What did you do so that they (the customer) remembers you? Can you think of the last time you wowed your customer? The customer should have such an experience with you that he or she tells everyone about you. You represent your organization when the customer looks at you. To them, you are the company. The kind of experience they have with you usually sets the mark for how that customer looks at the company as a whole.
You have heard the saying, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” In a study customers tell an average of nine people about good experiences, and nearly twice as many (16 people) about poor ones – making every individual service interaction important for businesses.
This is so true! It’s like the bad experience is burned in your memory and every time you see a reference about that company you are compelled to tell someone about it. I don’t think customer service is hard. I think if you put yourself in the place of the customer and ask yourself, “How would I want to be treated?” I think you know then how to give that customer the experience they are looking for.
Going that extra mile is what sets you apart from the rest of your Customer Service colleagues. It is also what keeps your clients coming back. I often think it would be nice to have customer appreciation day where we recognize the customer. Wouldn’t that be an experience for the customer? After all, without the customer where would our business be? Can you imagine what would happen if all the customers did not spend for one day? What kind of impact would that have?
Well, I should end here. Just remember that Customer Service is alive and there are a lot of people that do it right every day–they “make it happen!” On the flip side there are people in Customer Service that do not get it right. They are not really hurting the customer. They are hurting the company’s brand and what they stand for with regard to how they deliver services, products and such to the customer. If they put themselves in the customer’s shoes and then they too can “make it happen” for the customer and deliver that customer experience that they will never forget!