When you are a business owner, there are so many things to focus on. You’ve got marketing, sales, systems, IT, finance, possibly stock and inventory control just to name a few. Therefore it’s no surprise that for many small business owners, the whole idea of customer service just gets pushed down the priorities list.
Customer service tends to be something that we only think about every now and again however if you want to build a great business, then you need to see your customers and the service that you provide at the epicenter of your business. After all, your customers are the people that pay you money and they’re the people that keep you in business.
By focusing more on the customer and even at times stepping into their shoes, you’ll be able to do a whole bunch of things. First of all, you’ll be able to create greater levels of rapport and that’s the basis of all successful relationships. You’ll be remembered by your customers which will of course lead to more word-of-mouth referrals.
You’ll be able to make better decisions because you’ll instead focus on giving your customers only what they want, and you’ll uncover more opportunities for cross-selling and upselling that you might at first overlook. You’ll be able to charge premium prices which would leave to even greater profits.
So, it’s clear great customer service has huge rewards. Now let me now share with you five powerful methods to get your customer service into awesome territory, and how you can achieve your business goals even faster.
Customer service tip #1 is simply to be present. That is, to not think about what you’ve just done or what you’re going to be doing next, however instead focus on only the person that’s in front of you, and how you can create an exceptional experience. By doing so, you’ll make people feel acknowledged and appreciated, and that’s what people will love you for.
Customer service tip number two is to ask questions. One of the biggest criticisms I hear about salespeople is that they talk too much. When a salesperson gets an inkling that I might be interested in something, they then proceed to tell me as much as they possibly can about their product. There’s an old saying that I’d like to share with you now, and that is people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
The best way to show people that you care, is to ask them questions. As an example, “What made you come into our shop today?” or “What type of investment property are you looking for?” There’s no set formula here. The bottom line is just be genuinely interested in the other person. Ask questions from the heart and then once you have that information, then and only then, can you offer people the right advice.
My third customer service tip is to discuss customer service regularly. I’ve been in a lot of business meetings with other companies and does the topic of customer service come up? Nope, it’s always he’s on your marketing plan or what’s everyone’s sales targets for the month, or we’re going to have our annual Christmas party.
Sure, all those things are important, however I think the topic of customer service should be mandatory and every business meeting as a business owner you can ask people to share what’s been your best customer service experience of the week. Try to find ways of recording these in your business intelligence software, or at least having some ongoing metric.
Be warned though, the first time you do this you’re probably going to get a lot of blank looks and that’s because a lot of staff just aren’t prepared. However, keep asking the question because staff will soon become more conscious of their interactions and over time this is going to lead to a lot of positive stories to share.
My fourth customer service tip is match energy. Some people say that in order to be effective, you have to be really enthusiastic and excited all the time. Now, that might work for some people, but for others it’s going to completely turn them off. Instead, great customer service is all about being flexible and being able to adapt your approach to fit in with the other person.
If the other person is talking quite loud, you might want to do the same as well. However, if they’re a bit more calm and talking quite slowly, then you might want to do the same as they are. Remember that people like people that are similar to themselves. So, what you need to do is to extend your range and to use the other person as a guide and be flexible in your approach.
Customer service tip number five, and my last one, is to recognise effort. There’s an old saying that what gets recognised, gets done. So, to further expand on the point that I mentioned above, consider introducing some new awards for your staff.
You might already have staff member of the month, that’s pretty standard across most companies, but maybe try an award called “Customer service hero” or something along those lines?
Call it what you like, however if you make people feel special, your staff will soon start competing and strive to achieve that award. More importantly, it’ll help people be more focused and more conscious of getting customer feedback. Once you have all of these stories, then you might be able to turn a whole lot of those into testimonials for your business as well and that will drive even further sales and more success in closing.
So there you have it – five proven and effective ways to take your customer service to even greater heights. It may be true that business is a juggling act, however customer service is one ball you just can’t afford to drop.
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