The importance of customer service
Quality customer service is about exceeding the expectations of your customers.
Superior customer service can help your business to grow by increasing:
- the number of customers attracted by favourable word-of-mouth advertising
- the dollars spent by each customer per transaction
- the frequency and number of times your customers shop with you.
Other benefits of high-quality service include:
- improved customer satisfaction
- stronger customer loyalty
- consistency of work-flow practices
- reduced marketing costs
- competitive advantage
- improved market position
- staff pride and satisfaction.
Customer service is sometimes the only way a business can differentiate itself from its competitors. It isn't just about the way you greet and serve your customers. It involves many aspects of business operations, including:
- products and services information
- counter and face-to-face service
- telephone service
- taking customer orders
- follow-up documentation
- billing and managing payments
- visiting the customer
- making repairs
- handling complaints
- managing the service culture.
Improving customer service in your business
Take a moment to think of your favourite shop, restaurant or other business. Think about why you keep going back. How do the proprietor and/or employees greet you? How do they sound on the telephone? How are the premises presented? How do you feel while you are there doing business? How do you feel when you have completed your business?
Businesses earn your long-term support because they exceed your expectations. They treat you with respect. They make you feel that you are the most important part of your business. They go the extra mile to win your loyalty and, in return, you keep going back to them.
If that's the way you would like your customers to feel about your business, consider taking some or all of these actions.
- Train your staff to deal with customers.
- Train your staff about product features and about the benefits offered by the goods and services you provide.
- Make the work as satisfying as possible so that staff are committed and happy working in your business. This contentment will be reflected in their dealings with customers.
- Make your premises pleasant, welcoming, clean and tidy.
- Maintain equipment in a good state of repair, so that work can be completed on time.
- Establish a clear policy for dealing with complaints from customers.
- Accept ownership of problems when customers complain or return goods.
- Provide prompt service to customers and ensure that your business is appropriately staffed to achieve this.
- Be reliable – do what you say you are going to do, do it when you say you will do it, do it right first time, and get it done on time.
- Invest in a first-class image – your customers will draw conclusions about your business from what they see, feel, touch, hear or smell concerning your operations.
- Be responsive, accessible, available and willing to help your customers whenever they have a problem.
- Measure your service standards regularly and make improvements where necessary.