What is customer service and why should I care?
We all need to deliver a high level customer service to our market. Marketing extends to the experience of the customer and you need to show your pride and quality of our product through delivery and access of that service.
So what do I need in my customer service plan?
A service is totally intangible. There is nothing physical changing hands, therefore you as a business can create a huge unique selling point (USP) from how you handle your customer service. As you will see, huge value adds on revenue can also be found from successful customer service.
Is your business customer focused?
Are you maxing out your customer service potential?
Once you do, your future business will thank you!
This is how it feels to be only…
Have you ever been on the receiving end of amazing customer service? I want you to think for a moment not about the product you were buying, the pain it was solving or the reason you purchased the product or service, but I want you think about how the amazing customer service made you feel. Amazing customer service gives you an amazing feeling doesn’t it. You can’t bottle it, you cant advertise it or sell it off the shelf. But in that one moment you felt like you were the only one that mattered and the shop full of customers or the faceless digital organization became insignificant because it was all about….you .
That is why you need to care about customer service.
You want to make people feel.
Because when people feel, good or bad, they talk…
Why is customer service so important?
The internet has highlight the vast importance of shocking lack thereof for customer service across many industries. If I name specific industries you will have an instant stereotype of the service you are to expect. If I mention an independent joiner, roofer, handyman, car salesman, flight attendant, business consultant, you will most likely have pre conceived idea of the level of service you would expect.
You don’t have to look far on the web to find online platforms for customer reviews. You go to a restaurant, you probably check out TripAdvisor. You search for a car insurance company online and you will get a selection of customer reviews from the Google Reviews. Which? Trusted traders, Rated People and Amazon all have customer review platforms that are tremendously influential on our decision making process.
Take a look at some of these sites and you won’t have to go far before you read reviews such as
‘….the guys who fitted my windows for incredibly friendly…’
‘….they gave us a bottle of win free because it was my birthday, highly recommended..’
‘….I couldn’t believe it, they put overshoes on their boots to keep my floor clean…’
Not one of these examples relates to the actual product purchased, but focus entirely on the customer delight, customer service and customer wow.
How many times do you see social media comments about the wow factor but also more scathing reviews when someone has a poor experience?
We live now in an incredibly fast digital world that is massively consumer led. If your business isn’t delivering exceptional customer service your business will suffer.
Can you see the importance here, and opportunity presented by customer service? Done well, you can create a huge USP. Done badly you can risk huge reputational damage and lost ground.
So much of today’s business is passed by customer referral. If a friend of yours asks ‘do you know a good garage for an MOT?’ would you really send your friend to the garage that was rude, late and showed no respect to your belongings or rather recommend the garage who may be slightly more expensive but they text you when your service is complete and hold the car until a convenient time for you so you don’t have to hang around all day or leave work early to collect it?
Your product and customer service
You may have an excellent core product offering a brilliant cure for an identified need, which is awesome. However, think about coffee shops on the high street for a moment.
This is a fiercely competitive environment – there are at least 10 I multi chain coffee shops in Sheffield city centre that I can think of from the top of my head. So how do you begin to choose between them? I bet most of you have a favourite even though they are, fundamentally, the same. Well, how about the friendly barista who knows your order as you walk in the door? The extra sprinkles on your cappuccino, the first name basis between you and them? For which of these elements do you pay for? None of them!
The exchange of money for the product is that you get the coffee in return. The individual customer service is the added ‘wow’, and you can find this ‘wow’ very easily. Nine times out of ten for small business you just continue being yourself. The pride in your business will shine through to your customers. Sometimes however, people are not blessed with the customer care skills and you may need something a little more hands on for you to grasp your customer sweet spot.
Another example. Dominos Pizza introduced an app so the customer can monitor the progress of their pizza. This is a market leading app that shows how great their process is and also ensures they deliver what they promise, on time, to high quality.
I want you to ask yourselves…
What are the customer expectations of my industry and is my business currently meeting them?
How can my business rise above the expected customer service level within my industry?
Can you apply the customer service levels of another industry in your own industry? Think about the coffee shop example. How could you apply some of those examples to the service you offer.
You will create tremendous value for your business here with the implementation of a clear customer focus.
Aim for customer delight, if you miss and hit customer satisfaction you have done ok. If you aim for customer satisfaction you may miss and hit customer anger, which would be dreadful for your brand.
Differentiate yourselves from your competition and ensure your business nurtures this culture inherently, seeking continuous improvement and innovation.
Customer service plan for your business
A customer service plan identifies key issues that our customers need and highlights a set of activities required to meet these needs.
What can you provide for free, for example, as a matter of customer delight, that ultimately adds to your product or service?
What would leave that customer feeling delighted by talking to you and happy to recommend to their friends and colleagues?
How can you showcase your skill and authority in your field by offering maximum value to your client base?
If you don’t have one, think about creating a customer charter or service level agreements for your industry.
This would take the form of a simple document which you can put in your office, on your website and in your blog posts. Something you, your staff, your customers will all see and your are not ashamed to show off about!
Some examples here to get you thinking about your industry. You know your industry better than anyone but start by asking yourself,
What can I promise to my customers that will delight and inspire them to buy again or refer me to a friend or colleague?
- we promise to always be on time
- we promise to always smile when you answer your door
- We promise to always arrive in a clean and presentable manner with full, clean uniform
- we promise to always have our ID badges on display
- we promise your item will be delivered within 5 days of purchase
- we promise to always call one hour ahead of arrival
- we promised to always follow up with a phone call within 48 hours of your purchase
- we promise to serve you within 5 minutes of entering our shop
Under promise, over deliver
|We promise to always be on time||Arrive 15 minutes early|
|We promise to always smile when you answer the door||Smile all day long, ask your customer if they want a drink (don’t wait to be asked!)|
|We promise to always arrive in a clean and presentable manner with full, clean uniform
|All uniform is branded including work van or car and jackets, polo shirts and merchandise|
|we promise to always have our ID badges on display||Even if your customer doesn’t ask to see your ID, be sure to introduce yourself in a personable manner and show your ID with pride explaining what it is and why you are showing it|
|we promise your item will be delivered within 5 days of purchase
|Expediate your delivery and have the product arrive in 24 hours (something which you could charge more for but do it for FREE)|
|we promise to always call one hour ahead of arrival
|Email sent the day before to make sure people know your service will be happening|
|we promised to always follow up with a phone call within 48 hours of your purchase
|Attempt a call within 24 hours and leave a message if no answer. Try again within 48 hours.|
|we promise to serve you within 5 minutes of entering our shop||Get to know your regular customers name, ask them about their day and become familiar with their habits. Build a friendship with them.|
Customer service matters. It matters more than ever because there is a huge opportunity for your business right now, to step up and make a difference. Make a difference not only to your business, but your industry and ultimately your customers’ life.
If you need help identifying where your customer service strengths can sit within your business then please do get in touch. I specialize in customer service and believe I can help you today implement tips from the top to start to win the race for customer service success.
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