If you haven’t already, you need to establish customer service standards on how you expect your employees to treat your customers. A three-step meet, greet, and leave with a smile program is easy to implement, effective, and sustainable and will help you grow your small business.
- Every customer/employee interaction should start with eye contact. Ideally, acknowledging a customer within three seconds of his/her arrival. Eye contact should be followed with a smile and friendly greeting.
- If you (employee), are busy with another customer, let the new arrival know that you will be with them as soon as possible. If the wait is likely to be more than a few minutes, let them know that also. The last thing you want to do is get off on the wrong foot by making a promise you can’t keep.
- The third piece of this simple three-step customer service program is to end every customer encounter with a friendly parting statement — “Have a great day!” “Enjoy the rest of your day.” “Enjoy this great weather we’re having.” “Tell your friends about us.” Whatever you say needs to be friendly and sincere and end the interaction on a positive note.
It’s Part of the Job Requirement
The secret to the success of this customer service program is to impress on your employees that following through on the three steps is as important as any other job requirement. Right up there with arriving on time, and calling in when sick. Implement this simple meet, greet, and leave with a smile program and your customers will feel more valued and appreciated almost instantly.
Conflict Resolution is Key
Another important piece of your customer service standards is conflict resolution. Customers usually complain because something has gone wrong with regards to the purchase of an item or service. Something that has left the customer feeling cheated, slighted, unappreciated or wronged.
You can greatly minimize the damage that can be inflicted by a disgruntled customer by ensuring that rudeness, delay, inattentiveness, miscommunication, and apathy are never a part of the equation.
Respond Quickly to Social Media Reviews
Today more than ever it is important to resolve complaints quickly, leaving no doubt as to how much you value the customer’s continued business. Dissatisfied customers are quick to tell the world, via social media, how unhappy they are with you and your company. And don’t imagine for a moment that no one is listening to their negative rants. Many potential customers go online to read customer reviews before selecting a product or service. Do all you can to ensure that your reviews are positive and reflect the customer service standards that you and your employees are proudly exhibiting.
Before any of your employees encounter their first customer, make sure they know and believe that your customers are:
- Your biggest asset and the most important people in your company.
- Not dependent on you, you are dependent on them.
- Not interruptions to your work. They are your reason for coming to work.
- Doing you a favor by giving you their business. You are ensuring loyalty and repeat business when you do your best to attend to their needs.
- Sensitive, with emotions and feelings that are influenced by events in their lives that you know nothing about.
- Not stupid, and nothing can be achieved by trying to match wits with a customer.
- Deserve your pleasant, polite, and undivided attention.
- Have wants and needs that you can fulfill.
- Are worthy of your appreciation, not your contempt.
Happy Customers Tell Their Friends!
Customer service standards should be designed to not only keep your current customers happy but also bring new customers in through word of mouth. Customers are much more likely to spread the word when they have had a negative experience. They will also publicly praise a business where they feel welcomed and valued. Make customer service an integral piece of your overall business initiative and remember to keep it simple.
Contact us for help in successfully managing the challenges of growing your business profitably.
Manny Skevofilax is a consultant and speaker that assists his clients with successfully navigating the challenges of growing their businesses profitably. Since 2003, Manny helps businesses to enhance their financial results by using his experience in strategic planning, financial statement analysis, operations, and team-building. His consulting firm, PORTAL CFO Consulting, Inc., has attracted clients from diverse industries in the United States and abroad.
Manny can be reached at 410-808-3441 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.